Band On The Run album artwork – Paul McCartney & WingsWritten by: McCartney
Recorded: August-November 1973
Producer: Paul McCartney

Released: 30 November 1973 (UK), 3 December 1973 (US)

Available on:
Band On The Run


Paul McCartney: vocals, guitar, bass guitar, drums
Linda McCartney: backing vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine: backing vocals, guitar
Howie Casey: saxophone

The first single to be released from the Band On The Run album, ‘Jet’ was – like The Beatles’ ‘Martha My Dear’ – named after one of Paul McCartney’s dogs.

We’ve got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn’t stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn’t stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She’d go out on the town for the evening, like Lady And The Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter… Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she’s not black, she’s tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We’ve had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They’ve all gone now. The people change the names if they don’t like them.
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

Despite the initial inspiration, the words of ‘Jet’ were mostly chosen to fit the melody rather than for their meaning. The reference to the ‘lady suffragette’ was a motif that appealed to McCartney, without having any wider significance.

I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it mean’s something to the record buyer, but if I’m asked to analyze it I can’t really explain what it is. ‘Suffragette’ was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it.
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

‘Jet’ was written at McCartney’s Scottish home in the summer of 1973. It was recorded at George Martin’s AIR Studios in London, after Wings returned from Lagos, Nigeria.

The recording featured Howie Casey on saxophone. Casey was formerly a member of Derry And The Seniors, a Liverpool group who were contemporaries of The Beatles in the Cavern Club years. He also appeared on the Band On The Run songs ‘Bluebird’ and ‘Mrs Vandebilt’.

The refrain from ‘Jet’ reappears later on Band On The Run, as a mostly instrumental passage on the song ‘Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)’.

Just the idea of his different periods, this comes back in, it’s all a big muddle. We were just making it up as we went along. We didn’t have any big concept of it in mind at all. I just thought, we’ll mess it up, keep messing it up until it sounds good, like Picasso did, with the instinctive knowledge you’ve got. So that’s how that one came about.
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

The release

Paul McCartney initially wanted no singles to be taken from Band On The Run. However, radio plugger Al Coury persuaded him that ‘Jet’ would work well.

The companies here and in America, worldwide, would like a single on the album. It makes more sense merchandising-wise. But sometimes, I just have to remember that this isn’t a record store I’m running; this is supposed to be some kind of art. And if it doesn’t fit in, it doesn’t fit in.
Paul McCartney, 1973

At its original length of over four minutes, ‘Jet’ was considered too long to be played on the radio, so McCartney grudgingly allowed Capitol Records to create an edit. This was issued as a mono promotional single with four sections removed, bringing the total length to 2’49.

‘Jet’ was issued in the US on 28 January 1974, with the Band On The Run song ‘Mamunia’ as its b-side. However, this was withdrawn after three weeks on sale, and was replaced on 18 February with a new edition with ‘Let Me Roll It’ on the flipside.

‘Jet’ was a chart-topper in the US. It fared less well in the United Kingdom, peaking at number seven after its release on 18 February 1974.

As with the second US version, its b-side was ‘Let Me Roll It’. The single spent nine weeks on the chart, and was certified gold by the BPI on 1 April 1974.