Venus And Mars (1975)

Album Cover


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Paul McCartney and Wings do not issue any new album during 1974, as Paul mostly works on the album of his brother Mike and on Rod Stewart album Smiler

But towards the end of the year, Paul starts dreaming of a huge world tour he could be on with Wings. He decides to record a new album whose material would be written for the stage.

A few months ago, Paul and Wings recorded some tunes in Nashville, like Junior's Farm and Sally G. In early 1975, Paul decides to go back to the U.S. to start the new recording sessions and Wings take off for New Orleans. Part of the album is recorded there before Wings move to Los Angeles for new sessions. The whole recording takes from the middle of January to the end of April.

  Paul and brother Mike
    Paul and his brother, Mike McGear.

At the time, a growing dissension occurs between drummer Geoff Britton and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. Geoff cannot bear Jimmy's drugs taking and decides to leave the band. He's replaced by Joe English, a New Yorker, and Wings now goes into its fifth composition.

Venus Ans Mars is issued on April 30th, 1975. It includes two posters and some funny stickers representing planets.
The album does not get the same laudatory reviews from the critics that
Band On The Run got a year before. But anyway, it is a great public success. The album reaches #1 in the US and #1 in the UK, and Paul is rewarded with a Golden Record on June 2nd 1975.

Venus And Mars originally includes thirteen tracks with many songs influenced by New Orleans musical styles. Toney Dorsey, who made part of the songs arrangements, (especially for the brass sections), was a great help to Paul for producing this jazzy feeling that spreads all over the album.

New Orleans Recording Sessions   The album starts with a slow acoustic intro, Venus Ans Mars, which will open most of the Wings concerts during the two following years.

Right after that, the tempo is speeded up by Rock Show, a song typically written to be performed in live shows. The song makes references to concerts given by the Beatles (Hollywood Bowl) and by the Wings themselves (Concertgebow and Madison Square Garden). 
A catchy tune with good electric lines, a strong bass rhythm and even a rockin' piano. The song ends with a kind of jamming by Paul at the piano.

New Orleans recording sessions.    

The following title, Love In Song, is a sad love song with a very nice melody and some nostalgic moments. The harmonies are very well done and sustained by some fine strings.
Next comes one of the most beautiful titles of the album:
You Gave Me The Answer. It's a wonderful song with a fox-trot rhythm that clearly recalls Honey Pie, another standard of McCartney with a jazzy style written for the Beatles. You Gave Me The Answer renders all the feeling that can be drawn from New Orleans musical styles.
This joyful title is followed by the enthousiastic
Magneto And Titanium Man, inspired by the Marvel Comics that Paul used to read when he was in the US. Once again, the piano rocks and Paul's rough voice makes this title an absolute song to be performed on stage.

Then comes Letting Go which cools down the atmosphere a little bit. The song starts slowly with a good electric guitar line and the brass instruments progressively get over it in a crescendo tempo.

The second side of the album starts with Venus And Mars which comes back as a reprise. This intro is even better than the first version on the previous side. The song has now a kind of galactic sound which applies perfectly to the lyrics.

  Paul and Denny Laine recording Venus And Mars
Paul and Denny recording Venus And Mars.

In this album, Paul McCartney makes room for the other Wings members with the two next songs (Paul will do the same and even more in Wings At The Speed Of Sound, the next Wings album). The first title, Spirits Of Ancient Egypt, is a composition by Paul, but it is mainly performed by Denny Laine, Paul and Linda leading the harmonies. The second one, Medicine Jar, written by guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (in collaboration with Colin Allen), has a fast tempo with strong electric guitar lines, and once again, some nice harmonies by Paul and Linda.

Paul live in Odeon Hammersmith After that, Paul gets back to the singing with Call Me Back Again, some kind of Big Band song with a lot of brass instruments that would be mixed with a heavy rock melody. Probably another song written for the stage.

Next follows Listen To What The Man Said, the strongest title on this album. The song is a nice and joyful pop ballad with obvious New Orleans influences. Paul's interpretation is strengthened by Tom Scott's saxophone and by Dave Mason excellent lead guitar.

The song's final includes a nice orchestration based upon strings and it serves as an introduction for the next title, 
Treat Her Gently - Lonely Old People. This one is a medley built upon two unfinished songs. It has a gentle and slow pop melody.

The album ends with Crossroads, a Tony Hatch's theme written for TV with a short electric guitar solo and some orchestration behind.

Paul live in Odeon Hammersmith, september 1975.  

The CD remastering of Venus Ans Mars in 1993 includes 3 bonus tracks:

Three titles are taken out from the album Venus Ans Mars and released as singles in 1975.

  • Listen To What The Man Said / Love In Song is issued on May 16th. 
    It is the first single from Paul that do not appear on the
    Apple label (Beatles' company Appel has just been dissolved). It appears instead on the label of MPL Communications, Paul's production company. This single is a big hit and stays at #1 for eleven weeks.

  • Letting Go / You Gave Me The Answer is released on September 5th and only reaches #39 in the charts. The release of Letting Go as a single is different from the one of the album.
  Paul and Linda enjoying New Orleans carnival.
    Paul and Linda enjoying New Orleans carnival.

  • Venus And Mars / Rock Show / Magneto And Titanium Man follows on October 10th and reaches #12 in the charts.

In late 1975, Wings start a quick tour in UK and in Australia. Two tremendous albums were released, Band On The Run and Venus And Mars, and now there are enough big hits to be performed on stage. A huge World Tour will soon begin...

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