“Band on the Run” was the title track by British-American rock band Paul McCartney and Wings for the 1973 album of the same name. The track was released as a single in April 1974 in the US and June 1974 in the UK. Paul McCartney & Wings consisted of former Beatles member Paul McCartney, his wife Linda McCartney on the keyboards, drummer Denny Seiwell and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine.
“Band on the Run” is McCartney’s longest single at 5:09, and is a three-part medley, starting with a slow ballad, a funk rock sound and they a more country-inspired track. The trac discusses themes of freedom; more specifically a hypothetical story about a band who break out of jail. In an 1973 interview with British-American radio and television presenter Paul Gambaccini, McCartney stated that the lyric “if we ever get out of here” was made by former Beatles musician, singer-songwriter and film producer George Harrison during a Beatles business meeting: “He was saying that we were all prisoners in some way [due to the ongoing problems with their company Apple] … I thought it would be a nice way to start an album… “It’s a million things … all put together. Band on the run – escaping, freedom, criminals. You name it, it’s there.” In a 2010 interview with Clash Music, McCartney discussed the track once more: “It was symbolic: “If we ever get out of here … All I need is a pint a day” … [In the Beatles] we’d started off as just kids really, who loved our music and wanted to earn a bob or two so we could get a guitar and get a nice car. It was very simple ambitions at first. But then, you know, as it went on it became business meetings and all of that … So there was a feeling of “if we ever get out of here”, yeah. And I did.”
However, before the release of “Band on the Run”, the original demo recording and other tracks from the album were stolen from the McCartneys while Paul McCartney and Wings were recording in Lagos, Nigeria. In the same 2010 interview with Clash Music, McCartney recounts how they were robbed at knife-point, and they had to recreate the songs only from memory. “It was stuff that would be worth a bit on eBay these days, you know? But no, we figured the guys who mugged us wouldn’t even be remotely interested. If they’d have known, they could have just held on to them and made themselves a little fortune. But they didn’t know, and we reckoned they’d probably record over them.”
There is no official music video for “Band on the Run”, but the official Paul McCartney YouTube channel has an audio upload of the 2010 remastered version of the track, uploaded in July 2018. As of mid-April 2020, the video has 7.3 million views and almost 60 thousand likes.
Release Date: 8th April 1974 (US), 28th June 1974 (UK)
Songwriter/s: Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney
Producer: Paul McCartney
Chart Rankings: In the year that it was released, “Band on the Run” charted at #21 in Belgium, #1 in Canada, #22 in Germany, #7 in Ireland, #58 in Japan, #7 in the Netherlands, #1 in New Zealand, #2 in South Africa, #3 in the UK, #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #22 on the US Billboard Easy Listening chart.
The lyrics to “Band on the Run” can be found here: LINK