On we go with the mammoth task of listening to Wings Over America. Being from Liverpool you seem to be expected to have committed the entire Beatles colleague to memory by age 4, living in the USA you are expected to personally know at least one Beatle. I have a huge affection for my home town band, like my insane commitment to the team in red from home and a grudging respect for the blue team. The site of a Liver bird brings tears to my eyes and I swell with pride when I arrive in the city of my formative years. I have a working knowledge of the Beatles catalog, I can hum or sing along to the majority of their songs, I have listened to Revolution #9 more than once and will get into arguments about which is the best album, it vacillates between Rubber Soul and Revolver if you are interested, and will take the Beatles side in the annual drunken who is better the Beach Boys or Beatles debate. My parents saw the band at the Cavern on more than one occasion and my dad will happily spin tall tales of his association with the members and to this day I could not tell you what is or is not true, which may be the essence of the tall tale.
How this affection for the small band from home manifests itself recently is when I come across a Wings, McCartney, Ringo, Lennon, Harrison or other derivative in a thrift store I knee jerk buy. I cannot imagine the albums being left there, it seems sacrilegious almost. They need to be safe. They might get lonely if left, this also seems a problem for my son because we have collectively three copies of Band on the Run, one of which is unplayable. This is why I am listening to Wings Over America right now. The cover is beat but the vinyl seems pristine, no cracks, pops, clicks or skips and very quiet. I was unable to just walk away and leave it on the shelf, I really tried, I walked away, I tried self talk about spending too much on vinyl, I reminded myself that $3 was too much for the album in that shape, I distracted myself with other albums, I did everything I could and still walked out with the album in the end. It is pointless I am resigned to this behavior now.
This is not a phenomenon only kept for the Beatles we have the same issue with Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Crosby and Nash. It is unreasonable and several unplayable versions are on the wall in my office because of this.
I have never been a big fan of the Beatles solo output. It is often pleasant but has something missing for me. The magic of those four arguing about the record maybe or laughing and having fun or competing, who knows but they have never really reached the heights they did as a band. With the possible exception of All Things Must Pass and Band on the Run maybe.
Wings Over America is a fine live album. It has all the hits to that point, a few nice prior band selections, some interesting covers and overdubs to avoid the inevitable out of tune live singing that always happens. It is a marathon, six sides and maybe the original idea of a double album of edits may have been the better choice. It is fun to listen to and a good representation of the band at the time I am sure. Like all of my other experiences with a member of the Fab Four without the others it can be fun in the moment but ultimately unsatisfying. I find myself singing along and enjoying the album but once it is over all I have is the knowledge that I had a great time but don’t really remember what was so great.