Marrick’s McCartney Music Marathon #6: Wild Life
By: Marrick Thurman
Wild Life is the debut album for Paul McCartney and Wings. It was released December 7th, 1971. Paul McCartney formed Wings with his wife Linda, Denny Laine, and Seiwell. McCartney named his new band “Wings” because when Linda was in labor, about to give birth to their daughter Stella, there were complications and the birth was nearly fatal for Linda. McCartney kept hoping and praying that everything would be okay, and then in his mind, he had an image of wings, which was the overall inspiration for the name and logo of their new band.
The first song on Wild Life, “Mumbo”, is the only song on the album that is very energetic. It has different instruments incorporated in the song and is very fast-paced, where-as the other songs are significantly softer and slower-paced. McCartney’s raucous vocals along with the electric guitar and piano makes this song stand out from everything else on the album. The second song, “Bip Bop” has a sort of silly feeling to it, but it’s also oddly calm. It’s a very good song and very entertaining, but McCartney said that it’s his least favorite song that he’s ever made. In an interview he stated: “I think when you allow yourself to be kind of playful, the month after or the year after, you can just think, ‘Oh, maybe that was a bit too playful. Maybe I should’ve thought a bit more about that.’ And I was having that kind of feeling about ‘Bip Bop.’ It’s a little bit insignificant; it doesn’t really tax my lyric skills or my melodic skills.”
The songs on Wild Life were varied in different inspirations for each song. They didn’t have a specific theme, sort of like McCartney’s previous early albums with The Beatles that usually focused only on romance and love. A few of the songs were romantic though, as McCartney is known to write those cute types of songs. “Love is Strange” and “Some People Never Know” are good examples of this. Another romantic-esc song on Wild Life was “I Am Your Singer”; a song most likely written for Linda. It was sung by McCartney while Denny Laine and Linda provided backup vocals.
The song on Wild Life that stands out the most is “Dear Friend”, a song McCartney most likely wrote in response as reconciliation to John Lennon’s spiteful song “How Do You Sleep?” The song was long, around six minutes long in fact. “Dear Friend” has a lot of emotion in it. It has a slow, melancholy tone. The piano adds to the sad vibe that the song gives off and the song is similar to McCartney’s later song entitled “Here Today”, which was written and released by McCartney two years after Lennon was murdered in 1980.
Wild Life showed off a wide-array of emotion and vocal power from Wings. The album reached number 11 on the UK charts, and 10 in the US charts, where it went gold. The album wasn’t particularly liked by critics, most likely because McCartney was forming a new band instead of going back or working with his fellow Beatles. Most of the rude reviews by critics seemed deliberately biased and based on their nostalgia for The Beatles. Wild Life is a very enchanting album and fans were very excited to get a brand new set of music from McCartney and his new band. Wings were successful with Wild Life; as it let them go on to create many more amazing songs and albums.