Making an album – even a classic album – sometimes can be an exercise in overcoming adversity. Still, the monumental troubles that Paul McCartney and Wings had to surmount to record Band on the Run, easily McCartney’s best post-Beatles album, easily could have served as fodder for an epic Hollywood film.
It all began with McCartney’s desire to work in a locale that was off the beaten path. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately, as it turned out), his record company, EMI, had an international presence, with recording facilities based in Bombay, Rio de Janeiro, Peking and … aha! … Lagos. Enchanted by visions of sunning on the beach by day, and recording by night, McCartney decided to gather his Wings bandmates and head for the Nigerian city, nestled on the west coast of Africa. Nevermind the fact that pre-trip inoculations to prevent cholera, typhoid, polio and a host of other potential diseases were required. One week prior to heading for Africa, McCartney corralled his fellow Wings members to rehearse some new songs. Disputes ensued, and guitarist Henry McCullough and drummer Denny Seiwell left the band. All of a sudden, Wings was a trio consisting of McCartney, wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine. Off the three went, upbeat and confident despite the unforeseen defection of their drummer and lead guitarist.