Paul McCartney Felt This Wings Album Was a ‘Disaster’ But Changed His Mind While Spending Time With David Bowie

Paul McCartney gave the world many great albums with his band Wings. Despite this, critics weren’t always receptive to the band. Paul himself once thought one of Wings’ albums was a disaster. He later softened his stance on the album while spending time with David Bowie.

Paul McCartney and David Bowie wearing suits
Paul McCartney and David Bowie | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Why Paul McCartney thinks Wings is underrated

During an interview with Reverb.com, Paul said lots of listeners compared Wings to The Beatles. Paul admitted The Beatles were a difficult act to follow. Despite this, he said Wings is an underrated band.

“The interesting thing is that, looking back on some of the work, some of the stuff, it’s better than you think it was, but because it got such harsh criticism … from me,” he said. “The critics gave us a hard run, but I was particularly hard on us. I remember looking at a book, there was an album we did, I think it was Back to the Egg, which didn’t do well, and I remember thinking, ‘God, complete disaster.'”

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When Paul McCartney changed his mind about Wings’ album ‘Back to the Egg’ while flipping through a book with David Bowie

Paul later spent some time with Bowie and realized Back to the Egg wasn’t as much of a disaster as he once thought. “Years later, I remember looking at it with Bowie in this old book — one of these who-did-what Hit Parade books, looking it up — and it was like No. 8 in America.” For context, Hit Parade is a defunct music magazine.

Paul realized Wings was more popular than most other bands when they released Back to the Egg. “And I thought, ‘Most people would give their right bloody arms to be No. 8,'” he said. “But eight, and I wasn’t satisfied, The Beatles had been No. 1. This is all right, keeps you going. But yes, a lot of the stuff is underrated, because of that.”

David Bowie putting his finger on his mouth
David Bowie | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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The way the world reacted to Wings’ ‘Back to the Egg’

Just as Paul remembered, Back to the Egg became a success in the United States. The album peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 24 weeks. Two of the songs from Back to the Egg hit the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100: “Getting Closer” and “Arrow Through Me.” The former peaked at No. 20 while the latter peaked at No. 29.

Back to the Egg was popular in the United Kingdom as well. The Official Charts Company reports Back to the Egg hit No. 6 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 15 weeks. Three of the songs from Back to the Egg became minor hits: “Old Siam, Sir” and a double A-side of “Getting Closer” and “Baby’s Request.” The former song peaked at No. 35 in the U.K., while the latter two songs peaked at No. 60. While Paul initially viewed Back to the Egg as a disaster, it seemed to find an audience.

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