Paul McCartney Reveals Johnny Cash Inspired Him To Form Wings

27 January 2024 | 9:21 am | Mary Varvaris

"It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually..."

Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash

Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash (Credit: MPL Communications, 'Among The Stars' album cover)

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Paul McCartney has detailed how country music legend Johnny Cash inspired him to form Wings in a new interview.

As McCartney prepares to celebrate 50 years of Wings’ Band On The Run next week, he discussed the period he was at a loss following The Beatles’ disbandment and looked to Johnny Cash for guidance.

“After the end of The Beatles, I was faced with certain alternatives,” McCartney said in a recent Mojo Magazine interview. “One was to give up music entirely and do God knows what. Another was to start a super-band with very famous people, Eric Clapton and so on. I didn’t like either, so I thought: How did The Beatles start?”

Recalling how The Beatles began as “a bunch of mates who didn’t know what they were doing”, McCartney realised that there was a third option he hadn’t considered: forming a band that wasn’t already hugely successful and tried not to worry as they’d develop over time anyway. “It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually,” he admitted.

McCartney continued to discuss a moment when he and his wife, Linda, saw Johnny Cash performing on television with American guitarist Carl Perkins and discovered the idea for Wings.

“We were in bed one night, newly married, when Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine,” McCartney said. “There they were, playing with some country musicians I had never heard of, looking like they were having fun.

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“I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he’s doing it. So, I turned to Linda and said: Do you want to form a band? And she went: ‘Sure.’ That’s how our relationship was. Do you want to go and live on a farm in Scotland? ‘Why not?’”

The 50th anniversary of Band On The Run will be celebrated with an epic vinyl release, which is “cut at half speed using a high-resolution transfer of the original master tapes from 1973 by Miles Showell at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, London.”

The record also arrives with a reproduction of Linda McCartney’s original Polaroid poster. You can pre-order your copy here ahead of the 2 February shipping date.

Paul McCartney returned to Australia last year for a string of phenomenal shows in arenas and stadiums.

In a review of his concert at Melbourne’s Marvel Arena, The Music’s Guido Farnell pointed out that “At 81, McCartney defied age and simply blew the crowd at Marvel Stadium away with an epic three hours of tunes that showcase an illustrious career that is the stuff of legend.”