Released: 22 March 1976
PersonnelPaul McCartney: vocals, piano
Linda McCartney: vocals
Jimmy McCulloch: bass guitar
Denny Laine: vocals, drums
Joe English: drums
Howie Casey, Thaddeus Richard, Steve Howard, Tony Dorsey: flutes, horns
‘Let ’Em In’ was the opening song on Wings At The Speed Of Sound, Wings’ fifth album.
Beginning with the sound of a doorbell, the song depicts the arrival of various figures. A number of friends and relatives are namechecked: Paul McCartney’s aunt Gin and brother Mike, and Linda McCartney’s brother John. “Sister Suzie” was a reference to Linda, who once recorded a song under the pseudonym Suzie And The Red Stripes.
It sort of said: let’s have a party, why keep ’em outside? So in listing the kind of people who might be outside the door, I just naturally went to… Auntie Gin, brother Michael – they all exist – Phil and Don being the Everlys. I just wanted a parade of people that we could imagine outside the door, so I drew on all the people I knew.
Club Sandwich, Spring 1988
Several famous people were also mentioned, including the Everly Brothers and Martin Luther.
Phil Everly was one of my great heroes. With his brother Don, they were one of the major influences on The Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.
Years later when I finally met Phil, I was completely starstruck and at the same time extremely impressed by his humility and gentleness of soul.
The fictional Uncle Ernie refers to the character played by Ringo Starr on the London Symphony Orchestra recording of The Who’s Tommy. Starr quoted the lines “Someone’s knocking at the door/Someone’s ringing my bell” on ‘English Garden’, the final song on his 2003 album Ringo Rama.
‘Let ’Em In’ was recorded by Wings on 4 February 1976 at Abbey Road Studios in London.
The song was nominated for best arrangement at the 1976 Grammy Awards, although it lost out to Chicago’s ‘If You Leave Me Now’.
‘Let ’Em In’ was issued as a single in June in the US, and the following month in the UK, with ‘Beware My Love on the b-side. It appeared at a time when Wings At The Speed Of Sound was beginning to slip down the charts, but its success helped to boost sales further.
‘Let ’Em In’ reached number two in the UK, and three on the US Billboard Hot 100. It topped the Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart.
It also topped the Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary chart, and reached number three on the Top Singles chart.
In France ‘Let ’Em In’ became McCartney’s first-ever 12″ single, with both sides labelled ‘Special Disco Mix’.
Wings played ‘Let ’Em In’ throughout their Wings Over The World tour. A performance from 23 June 1976 at the Los Angeles Forum was released later that year on Wings Over America.
It was also played on the Driving World (2002) and Back In The World (2003) tours. A recording from the latter can be heard on the live album Back In The World.
McCartney continued to perform ‘Let ’Em In’ on the tours Good Evening Europe (2009), Up And Coming (2010-11), On The Run (2011-12), Out There (2013-15), One On One (2016-17), and Freshen Up (2018).