[Review] Wings: Back To The Egg (1979)

Out of the frying pan and into retire, which kind of came out of the blue.

Kronomyth 11.0: Better than eggspected.

The Salamander, so seldom mentioned in song, smiles at the thought of the last Wings album. Here on lonely Kronomyth 11.0, at the end of the winged planets, the Salamander lies curled around an eternal flame. It looks like a cold planet, but those who come to the Egg know otherwise. There are bright treasures here for the taking: “Getting Closer,” “Arrow Through Me,” “To You.” Maybe not the many-ringed wonder of Band, but clearly part of the same solar system that housed Venus + Mars and London Town.

Coproduced by Chris Thomas, who had played keyboards on The BeatlesWhite Album and produced albums by Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols, Back To The Egg is the most modern and edgy of the Wings albums. Some of the spoken media/music mixes directly suggest Robert Fripp’s Exposure, while tracks like “Old Siam, Sir” and “Spin It On” are tightly wound enough to qualify as new wave. The knock on Egg is that it’s all a bit scrambled: disco, rock, new wave, pop and old tymie music. New recruits Juber and Holly suggested a new beginning, but the star-studded Rockestra lineup (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Pete Townshend, Dave Gilmour, etc.) smacked of a final fling. The latter turned out to be the case when McCartney II cropped up the following year.

Though bomb threats were cited for the band’s demise, the songs tell a different story; Denny Laine’s “Again And Again And Again” is the only thing that separates this from being a Paul McCartney solo album. It’s fleshed out, funky, a neptuneful follow-up to V+M’s mix of melodies and medleys. Not the first place you should visit, but not a cold outpost either.

Original LP Version

A1. Reception
A2. Getting Closer
A3. We’re Open Tonight
A4. Spit It On
A5. Again And Again And Again (Denny Laine)
A6. Old Siam, Sir
A7. Arrow Through Me
B1. Rockestra Theme
B2. To You
B3. After The Ball/Million Miles
B4. Winter Rose/Love Awake
B5. The Broadcast (music by Paul McCartney, spoken words by Ian Hay/John Galsworthy)
B6. So Glad To See You Here
B7. Baby’s Request

All songs written by Paul McCartney unless noted.

CD reissue bonus tracks
15. Daytime Nightime Suffering
16. Wonderful Christmastime
17. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reggae

The Players

Steve Holly (drums), Laurence Juber (guitar), Denny Laine (guitar, vocals), Linda McCartney (keyboards, vocals), Paul McCartney (vocals, bass, guitar, piano) with Speedy Acquaye (percussion on B1/B6), Tony Ashton (keyboards on B1/B6), Black Dyke Mills Band (B4), John Bonham (drums on B1/B6), Gary Brooker (piano on B1/B6), Tony Carr (percussion on B1/B6), Howie Casey (horns on B1/B6), Ray Cooper (percussion on B1/B6), Tony Dorsey (horns on B1/B6), Dave Gilmour (guitar on B1/B6), Steve Howard (horns on B1/B6), John Paul Jones (bass & piano on B1/B6), Kenney Jones (drums on B1/B6), Ronnie Lane (bass on B1/B6), Hank Marvin (guitar on B1/B6), Morris Pert (percussion on B1/B6), Thaddeus Richard (horns on B1/B6), Bruce Thomas (bass on B1/B6), Pete Townshend (guitar on B1/B6). Produced by Paul McCartney and Chris Thomas; engineered by Phil McDonald.

The Pictures

Front cover photo by John Shaw. Back cover photos by Linda and Paul McCartney.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, picture elpee, cassette and 8-track on May 24, 1979 in the US and Canada (Columbia, FC/FCT/FCA 36057), on June 8, 1979 in the UK and Australia (Parlophone, PCTC/PCTCP/TCPCTC-257) and in 1979 in Argentina (Parlophone, PMC 9514), Brazil (EMI, 31C 066 62799), Colombia (EMI, 11678), France (EMI Pathe, 2C 070 62799), Germany (EMI, 1C 064 62799), Japan (EMI Odeon, EPS-81200), Mexico (EMI, SLEM-887), the Netherlands (EMI, 5C 062 62799), Sweden (EMI, 7C 066 62799) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton, LSEMI78019) with picture innersleeve; reached #8 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record) and #6 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1989 in the US (Capitol, 48200).
  2. Re-released on expanded compact disc in 1990 in Japan (EMI Toshiba, TOCP-5990) with 3 bonus tracks.
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in August 1993 in the UK (EMI, CDP 7 89136).
  4. Re-released on limited edition expanded compact disc in 2000 in Japan (EMI, TOCP-65511) with 3 bonus tracks.

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