The basic tracks for Venus And Mars were mostly recorded with Joe English, and sessions moved to Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles, where overdubs including backing vocals, strings and saxophone were recorded and the album was mixed.

A party was held on 24 March once the album was complete. It took place on board the Queen Mary ocean liner in Long Beach, California. The 200 guests included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Marvin Gaye, The Faces, Phil Everly, The Jackson Five, Dean Martin, Tony Curtis, Cher, Derek Taylor, and Mal Evans. The event was the first time Paul McCartney and Harrison had been seen in public since The Beatles’ break-up.

The party saw musical performances from Lee Dorsey, Ernie K-Doe, Professor Longhair, The Meters and Chocolate Milk. Professor Longhair’s set was later released as the album Live On The Queen Mary, which was co-produced by McCartney and released on his MPL label.

While in Los Angeles, on 1 March the McCartneys attended the Grammy Awards ceremony where they received two awards for Band On The Run: Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus, and Best Produced Non-Classical Recording. John Lennon also presented one of the awards: Records of the Year – Artist and Producer.

Two days later, Paul and Linda were returning with their children back to their rented house in Malibu when they were stopped by a highway patrol officer. The policeman claimed he smelt marijuana in the car, and later said he found a lit joint on the floor and a quantity of the drug.

Mr McCartney and his wife Linda and their three children were driving along Santa Monica Boulevard when the car went through a traffic light soon after midnight. While a patrolman was writing a traffic ticket, he said he smelt the odour of marijuana in the car and ordered the McCartneys out. He found a plastic bag containing a quantity of marijuana which Mrs McCartney had allegedly carried in her purse.
California Highway Patrol statement

The McCartneys were arrested, and Linda – an American citizen – claimed the marijuana belonged to her. She was found guilty of possession and ordered to attend six sessions with a psychiatrist, charges which were later dismissed.

With the sessions for Venus And Mars complete, Wings returned to Britain where they spent four months rehearsing for the 13-month Wings Over The World tour which took in 10 countries. They gave a live performance to showcase the new material at Studio 5 in Elstree, London on 6 September 1975, three days before the tour began in Southampton.

Several of the UK concerts, including dates at Newcastle, Liverpool and Glasgow, were filmed, although the footage was never used at the time. More footage was filmed during Wings’ subsequent US dates, which was shown in public.

Cover artwork

The success of Band On The Run encouraged McCartney to dispense with the “Paul McCartney and” prefix for the group, and Venus And Mars was released simply as a Wings album.

It was issued in a gatefold sleeve, designed by Hipgnosis and George Hardie, which was voted Album Cover of the Year by music industry magazine Music Week. Linda McCartney took the front cover photograph of two snooker balls, while the inner gatefold had an image of the North Carolina desert taken by Aubrey Powell.

The rear cover featured the lyrics to the songs. Venus And Mars also had a printed inner sleeve and was accompanied by two posters and two stickers.

The Beatles’ contract with EMI had ended by 1975, leaving each of the four members free to sign with whom they pleased. McCartney remained with the label in the UK, and re-signed with Capitol in the US. This spelt the end of his solo contract with Apple. Venus And Mars was also his first release to feature the MPL logo.

The release

The single ‘Listen To What The Man Said’ was released in May 1975, two weeks prior to Venus And Mars. The b-side was ‘Love In Song’, another album track. It reached number one in the United States, and number six in the United Kingdom.

Venus And Mars was issued in the US on 27 May 1975 with a 1950s-style Capitol label on the vinyl disc, a design used solely for McCartney’s releases. It topped the Billboard Top 200 for one week, and spent a total of 77 weeks on the charts.

In the UK it was released on 30 May 1975. It spent one week at number one from 28 June, was displaced by The Carpenters’ Horizon for two weeks, before returning to the top for a second week. Venus And Mars was on the charts for a total of 29 weeks, and was certified platinum on 1 August 1975.

Two more singles were released from the album. ‘Letting Go’/‘You Gave Me The Answer’ came out in September 1975, but barely charted. ‘Venus And Mars’ followed, but failed to chart in the UK; in the US it peaked at number 12.

Published: |