on 13 May 2002
Contrary to popular belief, Paul was the rock musician in Beatles, even if John was more of a rocker in attitude. He wrote Sgt. Pepper's, Helter Skelter, Lady Madonna, Back in the USSR, to mention a few. Knowing that, the sound and feel of Back to the Egg shouldn't be so surprising. Because this is hard, heavy and fat rock 'n roll. One might get decieved by the sheer pop of Getting Closer, but the brutal riffs and vocal of Spin It On soon takes you into a somewhat harder and darker terrain.
The laid-back softness of London Town are completely absent, and even in the ballads, you can sense an edge of rusty metal in Paul's voice.
Wings showed a lot of strength with this recording, but it was a far cry from the sales it deserved. As of now, it stands out like a gem in the Wings-catalogue, perhaps even surpassing the classic Band on the Run.
on 23 July 2004
I don't want to reiterate what other reviewers have already said but I thought I would mention that this has always been my favourite McCartney/Wings album.
I well remember buying this at 'Woolies' in Carlisle in the Summer of 1981 in one of their bargain bins for the princely sum of 99p (only 12/13 & I had just enough pennies!) & I still listen to this album on a regular basis (although I bought a CD version in '91).I've always said that if you can still listen to & enjoy an album many years down the line then there must be something good about it...as already discussed by the other reviewers.
So,give it a chance & (hopefully) you'll like it as well.
on 9 January 2010
Wings albums are all a mixed bag of brilliance and mediocrity due to a severe lack of quality control mixed with an incredible musical genius. lyrically Back to the Egg is a little lightweight throughout but if you can accept this (as with a lot of macca's lyrics to be fair) you will enjoy what is by far the best rock album McCartney ever produced and without doubt his best post Beatles studio singing.
It lacked a hit single making McCartney think he'd made a dud but he made an incredibly varied and refreshingly experimental album that remains one of his lesser know gems and should be listened to by any fan of rock and melody.
Released at the end of punk it seems that this brought out a tougher side to the Wings sound and Macca sings with real venom and power in many of the songs such as "Getting Closer" and "Old Siam Sir" and "To You". Along side this you have a cool soul ballad in "Arrow Right Through me" with mesmeric horns a la Stevie Wonder a fabulous short ballad with his smokiest vocal "Winter Rose" and a classic crooner in "Baby's Request".
You then have the two massive Rockestra tracks that have just about every famous rocker backing Sir Mac creating a wall of sound worthy of Phil Spector but with bigger amps. Macca's vocals on "So Glad to See You Here" almost verges on heavy metal levels it's staggeringly brilliant to hear him push the envelope like this! Laurence Juber's guitar throughout really packs a punch and matches the bite that McCartney was trying to capture in his rockier tracks, listen to the insane solo on "Spin It On", Magnificent.
Bonus track includes the brilliant pop song "Daytime Nightime Suffering" which was the b-side to "Goodnight Tonight" (why on earth is that track missing?)
I could go on but I think you get the idea. You could argue there are no "classics" on this album but that's more to do with the fact people have not heard these songs enough even the Macca fans, sure it's dated a bit since 1979 when I bought it as a 13 year old but I can tell you the next year I went out and formed a band inspired by this fantastic noise, well played Mr McCartney, this was no flop and if it was then please let's have more wonderful failures like this!
on 12 August 2010
I have never understood why Back to Egg is the most derided album of Macca's career. (Press To Play deserves that particular accolade in my opinion.) BTTE is miles better than the two albums either side of it (London Town and McCartney II), both of which have some downright whimsical dreck on them: the London Town title track itself and Bogey Music anyone? Listening to this album brings back memories of the summer of 1983 - when I was 10 - nicking my dad's original '79 audiocassette copy of it and playing it to death on my little Hitachi tape recorder.
Yes, it's not McCartney's best set by any means: there isn't a monster hit in sight and it doesn't match the consistent excellence of sets like Band On the Run or Tug of War. The energy of the first side dissipates on tracks like After the Ball and Million Miles. Yet a good three-quarters of the album is original, experimental and eclectic. There's the Stevie Wonder funk of Arrow Through Me, the punk of Spin It On, Old Siam Sir, (and also the misfire that is To You), the Cole Porter-esque Baby's Request and then Wings' answer to Mother Nature's Son: Love Awake. I particularly love the literary, ambient weirdness of The Broadcast and the way it immediately precedes (and contrasts with) the down to earth 'balls-to-the-wall' rock out that is So Glad To See You Here with it's reprise of We're Open Tonight from the first side. And the peaks are not confined to Macca himself. Denny Laine chalks up his best Wings song (imo) with the bright and breezy Again and Again.
McCartney should have done another album with this line-up. McCartney II was a fairly lame follow-up despite its success. Sadly the Japanese drug bust, McCartney's own indifference and Lennon's murder put paid to that.
I don't think the album compares all that badly to Bowie's contemporaraneous Lodger or those other (probably far more rightly revered) cutting edge albums of summer '79: Magazine's Secondhand Daylight and Talking Heads Fear of Music. It's a bit scary, though, when you consider Back To The Egg was released the same month Margaret Thatcher became PM and Bright Eyes was No. 1!
This would be the last album in which McCartney was able to sing in that screeching, throat tearing manner. He's written some simply brilliant rock and roll songs and a clutch of them can be found on Back to the Egg. They aren't just infectious, they are wonderfully dotty. When I say brilliant I mean so far as I can tell fabled bands like Oasis haven't written a single solitary song that compares and yet this work has been consigned to a place outside the regular top albums of all time. Time will re-adjust the balance. The fact is, so far in the short history of pop music, for all his faults, McCartney has written some of the most formidable and catchy rock and roll songs performed with immense power and musicality. And whilst there is a tinge of McCartney banality lyrically (after the ball you were the one, the one in the hall), I really think that he is capable of writing good lyrics (sometimes) and about rejection very well. I've always loved the lyric 'you couldn't have found a more down hero if you'da started at nothing and counted to zero'. Denny Laine shines here too, with his song and Steve Holly's drumming is pretty tasty. If I were to have just two McCartney albums it would be Ram and this one. I think on both McCartney's talent was brimming. Anyway, it's better than Beatles For Sale.
on 5 September 2001
Let's face it, as great as Sir Paul is, he did have a habit in the seventies of dismissing quality for the sake of quantity. Classics such as 'Band On The Run', 'My Love' and 'Live And Let Die' were rather let down by meaningless sing-along ditties such as 'Bip Bop', 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' and 'Mrs Vandebilt' to name but a few, and indeed this did continue into the eighties. But more often than not, the master Macca does pull an immediate slice of genius out of his slightly disorientated hat.
'Back To The Egg' is one of the best Wings albums - far more consistent than some of their earlier work. Although it doesn't contain an infamous 'McCartney classic', it is immediately appealing after the first couple of tracks. Great melodies and amusing lyrics are immaculately backed by strong musicianship and superb McCartney vocals (as nearly always).
The infectious melody of 'Getting Closer' and the jaunty rhythm of 'Old Siam, Sir' are sure signs that, despite losing the way a little in the early to mid-seventies, Paul was getting back to form again, and continues to entertain his listeners - and, importantly, they all sound like they are seriously enjoying themselves!
Of course, the record has its obligatory 'album fillers'. 'Spin It On', although rocky, is basically appalling, and thankfully, short, and 'The Broadcast' is an unnecessary, minute-long instrumental, containing nothing more than some sort of weird monologue.
Hank Marvin, Pete Townshend and Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd as well as a few members of Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones and John Bonham) crop up also, namely on the brilliant instrumental rocker 'Rockestra Theme' and upbeat 'So Glad To See You Here'.
'Baby's Request' is a great wrap-up to the album in true cabaret style, and the opening section of 'After The Ball/Million Miles' could almost be a Slade ballad, including an unintentional, but extremely precise Noddy Holder impression.
All in all, it's a seriously under-rated, great album, up there with the best of them and in need of some loving care, attention and serious recognition. Enjoy!
on 29 April 2005
This is one of the best Paul McCartney and Wings albums which brings new energy, sound and originality. It does not deserve the criticism it was subjected to by some reviewers.
"I Am Getting Closer", "Spin It On" and "Rochestra Theme" are truely original rock-n-roll tracks. "We're Open Tonight", "Winter Rose" and "Baby's Request" are beautiful ballads. Paul McCartney demonstrates here again what a superb song-writer he is.
In my opinion, his best songs in the post-Beatles era in terms of originality of the sound and melody, were written when he was a part of Wings (except "Tug of War" and "Pipes of Peace").
on 23 March 2005
This is a brave Wings album and with hindsight makes one regret that this was the last Wings record. It is a great band effort, and although lacking any great lyrical quality is at least a decent attempt from McCartney to rock and capture some of the excitement that had perhaps been lacking from the previous three Wings albums. It does not contain many, indeed not more than a couple of really stand out tracks, which 'Venus And Mars' (1975), 'At The Speed Of Sound' and 'London Town' had undoubtedly done, despite their somewhat laid back ambience. 'Back To The Egg' is more of a mood album.
But one which has its merits. McCartney and his wife Linda were themselves to poor derision on this set. But they overlook the energy and bravery of this album. It contains nothing of the calibre of 'With A Little Luck' or 'Listen To What The Man Said' for example. But is a Fun Album. A friend of mine who wasn't a massive McCartney fan and who sadly died at a young age a few years later was simply blown away by this album. If you play it loud, forget any great pretension to lyrical greatness and just Rock, it is actually an immensely enyoyable record.
The first track is an unremarkable instrumental, only noteable for its fluid bass playing (from Paul of course). 'Getting Closer' is a good if not great McCartney rocker. He has this unique ability to combine a decent melody with an infectious rocking rhythm section. Early versions had Denny Laine on lead vocal. Luckily Paul stepped in and said 'Err...excuse me I think I'll sing the lead on this'. Good decision. 'We're Open Tonight' is charmingly inoffensive in the same way that 'Ram On' was from 1971. Next is Denny Laine's finest moment, 'Again And Again And Again'. This number is so good that it could have been a single probably. It wasn't....but remains a great album track, with McCartney singing superb vocal harmony and bass playing as he often did to spontaneous effect in songs written by his fellow band mates. In the Beatles ('Come Together'among countless others) and with Wings (here and on 'Time To Hide' from 'Speed Of sound' (1976) for example). Then we come to the first single 'Old Siam Sir' which although not commmercial enough to become a smash single is in my opinion an underrated McCartney rocker, complete with great vocal, memorable electric guitar throughout including that memorable octave leaping guitar hook, and mad lyrics about Scarborough and Walthamstow.
'Arrow Though Me' almost works due to its melody and great singing but is somewhat let down by annoying synthesisers. Reminscent of 'Temporary Secretary' (1980). Oh No Not Again. Please.
Side 2 (of the vinyl record) opens with the punchy and enjoyable 'Rockestra' instrumental, featuring an all star band of superstars in support. However, it's not as good as you might think with that line up. But play it loud and it's a good rocker. If you can forgive the 'why haven't I got any dinner?' lyric. Which McCartney was inexplicably to repeat in his first classical venture 'Liverpool Oratorio' with that abysmal 'Where Is My Dinner?' line.
But as I have said it is not lyrical quality which gives this album its meat. It is simply the free rocking spirit which is evident on most of the album. 'To You' sounds good but on repeated listenings reveals itself to be what is is. Filler. And then we have a couple of memorable ballads. 'After the Ball/Million Miles' is good but the next couplet 'Winter Rose/Love Awake' is McCartney at his effortless melodic best.
Unfortunately we are brought down to earth by the next track 'So Glad To See You Here' which features the same star studded 'Rockestra' line-up. Sweet Thingamagig this track is So Ordinary. Must have been a little embarrassing to record.
Luckily the last track is a bona fide (and little known) McCartney classic. Andy Peebles pointed this out in 1980 to Paul and he will not have been the only one. It is effortless in its engaging melody, you swear it is the cover of some lost 1940s classic. But no. It is the work of James Paul McCartney. Beautiful.
Of the bonus tracks 'Daytime Nighttime Suffering' is a superb feminist anthem and should really have been on the original album. Inexplicably 'Goodnight Tonight' is absent here, despite being from the same recordings. Was chosen as a bonus track for 'McCartney 2' by some marketing man who obviously realised the lack of stand out tracks on That Album. And hence we are robbed of hearing this superb track in its true context: a lead off single from Wings to this very album. Hard to justify. The Christmas single and its B Side add nothing, being obviously solo ventures, at home more if at all on 'McCartney 2'.
All in all, 'Back to The Egg' is a brave venture from McCartney in the midst of Punk to do something Au Current. It succeeds far more than the avant gardish experimental but largely uninspired 'McCartney 2' album which followed. And was free of the saccharine element that was to deflate his 1980s work, at least up until the superb 'Flowers In The Dirt' return to form album from 1989. This album 'Back To The Egg' was Wings' final album. And with hindsight we miss them. For although McCartney was the dominant force in that band, it is under the Wings umbrella, despite its ever changing line-up that his best post Beatles music can undoubtedly be found. Not that his subsequent work was without merit, every album has its moments, in particular his last album 'Driving Rain' has many Fine Moments. But after the 1970s, and after Lennon's death in December 1980, McCartney, for the most part, lost Something. Hard to pin down. No matter. I don't give a monkeys what Lennon thought of this album. It has far more merit than he would find it in his heart to acknowledge if you believe Fred Seaman's book. Buy this album! :-)
on 16 October 2009
This album holds together pretty well. Lots of rock tracks and hints of punk music. When I first heard it, I thought there was a distinct lank of melody. Now, some of the tracks have definitely grown on me. If you are after the more folky McCartney or the ballads, you may feel somewhat lacking here. There is 'Baby's request', one of Macca's best forrays into the 'Honey Pie' 1940's style numbers. This is a great, infectious tune. 'Love awake' is to me a beautiful song also, with great harmonies. I am not keen on a couple of the other ballads 'Winter Rose' has an excellent tune, but Mccartney sings it as if he was Rod Stewart. Not appealing, as I can't stand that type of gruff voice. 'After the Ball' is just a droaning bore.
There are some great rock numbers, 'Getting closer' has good griffs and a catchy melody and 'So glad to see you here' is really ear catching. 'Spin it on' is probably one of the heaviest songs in Macca's catalogue and 'Old Siam Sir' is rubbish, but intentionally so, and comes off as humorous with its simplistic riffs and silly vocals. I like these numbers a lot, as it is clear the band is having fun.
Other tracks are ok. As an album it is cohesive and not a mess as with others Macca has done.
The bonus tracks are mostly a waste of time. 'Daytime Nighttime Suffering' is a B-side and should have been on the album. The A-side is on McCartney 2, where is the logic in that? 'Goodnight Tonight' should be on this album.
The nonsense 'Wonderful Christmastime' (You can see how crap it is from the title if you had never heard it before) and the even worse and insipid 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reggae' are useless additions and should be on McCartney 2 as they fit in with the sparse, minimalistic (and crap) that is on that album.
on 14 November 2015
This is my favourite Wings album this side of Band on the run, for Wings this was far more edgy, dare I say almost punky in comparison to the
previous years "London Town". The Pub/Garage rock ethos in respect of the songs, production and performance really appealed to me back in 79' and still does now, even the typical Macca tune "Baby's Request". This is My first purchase of this much maligned album on CD. My only critique is on this re-release they have included my least favourite McCartney tune as a bonus track, bloody wonderful Christmastime and it's b-side, aside
from this if you fancy something from macca's back catalouge that's not heard of too much then give this a spin, it is an underrated classic. Of
course this was to be the final Wings album and Paul went on to make McCartney II now if you're talking underrated classics...............