Tonawanda News — It was a little harder for me to dismiss McCartney’s solo work or his songs with Wings. In my formative music-listening years, McCartney was active and Lennon was on a five-year hiatus. To complicate matters, right after John Lennon was murdered, the debate as to who the better Beatle was became refueled in my household, and I suspect in others as well.
What many people may forget is that the “Rockshow” film was not released until Nov. 26, 1980, just 12 days before Lennon’s murder. McCartney was savaged in the press at the time for his seeming indifference to the death of his longtime musical partner. In retrospect and with McCartney’s clarification, it was just another case of a celebrity not intending to say something controversial, and yet causing a controversy.
I think this may be why “Rockshow” did not get the reception that it should have. I saw the film at a midnight movie in 1981 and was absolutely blown away by the performance, which included a full horn section and a state-of-the-art light show.
The “Wings Over America” album did not suffer the same fate, it was released years before the Lennon murder and sold four million copies. I bought my first copy of it on cassette tape so I could listen to it on my SONY Walkman.
Until this week, I hadn’t seen the entire concert film in more than 30 years. When my review copy of the “Rockshow” DVD and review copy of the re-mastered “Wings Over America” CD arrived it brought back some amazing memories. It also reminded why I play a plastic backed Ovation acoustic guitar — it was the guitar McCartney played on “Rockshow.”
And if anyone asks me again what band Paul McCartney was in, I may say with a little less sarcasm, “he was in Wings.”
Thom Jennings writes a weekly column on the music scene for Sunday Lifestyles. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.