Let Me Roll It

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)

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

Available on:
Band On The Run

The song which closed the first side of Wings' 1973 album Band On The Run, Let Me Roll It was interpreted by many as an echo of the stripped-down production of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album and Lennon's single Cold Turkey.

Let Me Roll It (Remastered) - Band On the Run (Remastered)

I still don't think it sounds like him [John Lennon], but that's your opinion. I can dig it if it sounds that way to you.
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney In His Own Words, Paul Gambaccini

The titular phrase was, like the central refrain of the song Band On The Run, inspired by a quotation by George Harrison. "Let me roll it to you" was a line in I'd Have You Anytime, the opening track on his 1970 album All Things Must Pass.

Let Me Roll It was written by McCartney at High Park Farm in Scotland. Although the song's similarities to Lennon's debut solo album were said to be coincidental, the use of echo, heavy bass and stinging lead guitar made such comparisons inevitable.

Let Me Roll It was not really a Lennon pastiche, although my use of tape echo did sound more like John than me. But tape echo was not John's exclusive territory! And you have to remember that, despite the myth, there was a lot of commonality between us in the way that we thought and the way that we worked.
Paul McCartney
Club Sandwich

Perhaps unwittingly, Lennon's 1974 song Beef Jerky, on the Walls And Bridges album, contained a guitar riff which bore a resemblence to Let Me Roll It.

A song like Let Me Roll It came about by playing around with a little riff; if I'm lucky the rest of the song just comes to me.
Paul McCartney

Let Me Roll It was the b-side of the Jet single in early 1974. The release was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic.

The song was regularly performed live by Wings in their 1975-76 concerts, and returned to McCartney's setlist from his 1993 world tour onwards. It has frequently appeared in concert recordings.

3 responses on “Let Me Roll It

  1. Cameron Ladd

    It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a parody of – or tribute to – Lennon’s Plastic Ono sound. It’s a great track, and a testament to Paul’s musical versatility and ability to nail almost any style. BTW “I’d Have You Anytime” was George Harrison setting Dylan’s words to music, so the phrase in question is Bobby’s.

  2. byjiminy

    Funny, I always thought of this song as an answer to Lennon’s How Do You Sleep. I just looked this up and was surprised to see that is not the common interpretation, or even a very logical one. Looking at the lyrics today, there’s nothing in them to justify thinking it’s about John, or even about reconciliation or transcending bitterness in general. But to me, at least when I first heard them, these songs encapsulated their personalities: John unafraid to confront harsh realities head on, Paul advocating a softer, more forgiving and accommodating approach. In retrospect, I guess I was just reflecting on the two songs in my own musings and decided one was an answer to the other, which maybe they are in some abstract sense, i.e. forgiveness vs anger, and internalized my private musings so much I came to think of this pairing literally rather than metaphorically. I still like to think of Paul reaching out to John, trying to remind him of all the good things they had shared, and that while there were hard feelings they could rise above them. I do believe they both felt that way in the long run.

  3. Paul

    Aside from John Lennon’s stinging guitar style, how about that trademark Lennon-esque voice wail at the very end of the song? Also, the keyboard part sounds reminiscent of “Mr. Moonlight” from The Beatles ’65 album, in which John sang lead. C’mon, Paulie, don’t tell us this wasn’t a conscious tribute to John Lennon.

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