We recently looked at several fine reissues — on high quality vinyl and Tidal streaming — of Sir Paul McCartney’s 21st Century albums Chaos & Creation in the Backyard and New as well as his obscure-but-fun 1970s-era instrumental version of RAM called Thrillington.
The next reissue in this series is a handy collection I’ve never actually bothered to own over the years (as I own all the singles and regular albums): Wings Greatest. Almost exactly what the title implies, this single album collects most of the key singles by Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles band, Wings, including many non-LP tracks. Curiously it includes pre-Wings tracks that were credited to Paul & Linda McCartney but the reality is that all these tracks are all part of that first wave of music Macca created after the Beatles broke up. So you get the sugary sunshine of “Another Day” and the bombast dynamics of “Live and Let Die” — from the James Bond movie soundtrack of the same name — as well as punchy rockers like “Junior’s Farm” and the controversial “Hi Hi Hi” (which was banned back in the day on BBC Radio). You also get the two big hit tracks from Wings at the Speed of Sound (which you can hear in MQA quality up on Tidal, by the way), “Let ‘Em In” and “Silly Love Songs.”
Probably the only downside of this collection is that it skipped a huge hit from Wing’s 1975 smash album Venus & Mars, “Listen to What The Man Said” (which is why I qualified my earlier statement above by saying “almost exactly,” in case you were wondering). But other than that, it is still a very enjoyable snapshot of what Wings was about, at least what got played on radio back in the day.
All in all the vinyl of Wings Greatest sounds real nice here with surprising consistency of sound from track to track — not always something one can expect on a compilation like this as these tracks were recorded over different periods, with a variety of musicians across several studios. The 180-gram vinyl is thick, dark and dead quiet (yada yada yada); you can also get it on limited edition blue vinyl from select independent record stores and Paul McCartney’s website. It also comes with the original poster (for your post-teenage person cave) and a free MP3 download which is handy for those of you who still like downloading albums for mobile use. If you want to hear it in good sounding CD quality and have a subscription, you can stream this album up on Tidal by clicking this link here.
For a more thorough overview of the band you might want to pick up the two CD edition of the 2001 collection called Wingspan, a quite nice snapshot which includes many of my favorites such as “Tomorrow” (one of Macca’s best compositions, from the under-appreciated Wild Life album, streaming up on Tidal here). Wingspan also includes tracks from later Wings albums and essential tracks from Sir Paul’s eponymous first solo album (McCartney) like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” so its a much more rewarding offering overall. And… if you want to go deeper still with a release sporting perhaps more current mastering and a vastly expanded playlist, try the lengthy Pure McCartney collection up there on Tidal. It too is up there in CD quality offering a broader selection while bringing the listener more or less up-to-date on Macca’s journey, adding recent material including tracks from New, which I reviewed recently as well).