On this day in music history: December 5, 1973 - “Band On The Run”, the third album by Paul McCartney & Wings is released. Produced by Paul McCartney, it is recorded at EMI Studios in Lagos, Nigeria, ARC Studios in Ikeja, Nigeria, and AIR Studios in London from August - September 1973. McCartney wanting to change locales to record his next album, chooses the EMI recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria. Prior to and during the trip to Africa, they suffer a series of setbacks, which include band members Denny Seiwell and Henry McCullough quitting on the eve of the trip, barely adequate recording facilities, inclement weather, being held up at knife point, and McCartney having a minor health scare. In spite of this, recording goes very well with the basic tracks being completed in Lagos. Vocals, overdubs and final mixing are completed in London in the following weeks. The albums’ iconic cover photo (taken by photographer Clive Arrowsmith) features a shot of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine caught in a prison searchlight with television host Michael Parkinson, actor James Coburn, boxer John Conteh, actor Christopher Lee, singer and actor Kenny Lynch, and columnist and British Parliament member Clement Freud. The album receives great critical praise and commercial success from critics and fans alike, spinning off three singles including “Jet” (#7 Pop) and the title track (#1 Pop).
The US version of the album adds the previously released single “Helen Wheels” (#10 Pop), at the suggestion of then Capitol Records executive Al Coury.
It is widely regarded as Paul McCartney’s best post-Beatles album. “Band” also win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus in 1975. The album is remastered and reissued in 2010, winning a Grammy Award for Best Historical Album for the Deluxe Edition release in 2012. In and out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is most recently reissued as a limited edition pressing on white vinyl in 2017. “Band On The Run” spends four weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.