Recorded: 22 September 1978; 1 April 1979
Producers: Paul McCartney, Chris Thomas
Back To The Egg
Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar
Linda McCartney: vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine: vocals, acoustic guitar
Laurence Juber: 12-string acoustic guitar, bass guitar
Steve Holley: drums, percussion
David Hirst: soprano cornet
David Pogson: flugelhorn
Neil Jowett, Fred Ellis, Christopher Bacon, Peter Moorcroft, Jack Brooke, Philip McCann, Ken Macdonald, Malcolm Turton, David Carter: cornet
John Clough, Stuart derrick, John Slinger, Brian Broadbent: euphonium
Kevin Wadsworth, David Essex, Stephen Brooke: tenor horn
Frank Berry, Dennis Essex, Ian Copeland: trombone
George Morgan, Alan Holdsworth, Derek Jackson: bass trombone
Philip Gee, Richard Clough: percussion
Recording for Back To The Egg began at the Spirit Of Ranachan Studio at the McCartneys’ Scottish farmhouse on 29 June 1978, lasting for five weeks until 27 July.
The barn had a mobile RAK recording unit, which had previously been utilised for London Town. Backing tracks for at least eight Back To The Egg songs were recorded there, including a rough version of ‘Love Awake’.
The album version was recorded at Lympne (pronounced Lim) Castle in Kent, England, on 22 September 1978.
The most anthemic song on the album, it combines a classic McCartney ballad with the antique burnish of a North of England brass band. When we cut the basic track at the castle, Paul and Denny strummed acoustics while I played a high strung guitar. This is one of the secret weapons of the studio guitar slinger’s arsenal. It’s a regular guitar, but only the top two strings are tuned normally. The bottom four are pitched one octave higher – essentially the top half of a 12-string guitar. The result is an airy harpsichord-like sonority that blends with other acoustics, adding an extra dimension and sparkle. Also known as ‘Nashville’ tuning, it can be heard on records by Simon & Garfunkel, the Eagles and Joni Mitchell, as well as many country records. I had played bass on a demo version of this, probably in Scotland.
When it came time to overdub the bass part Paul said he liked my ideas and that I should play it, not him. He then gave me picking tips as my recording debut as a bassist was nervously made. Much like his own production mentor, George Martin, Paul has a knack of putting you at ease to bring out the best in a creative situation.
Guitar With Wings
Back To The Egg was completed at Abbey Road, with overdubs and mixing during March and early April 1978. The final recording took place on 1 April when the Black Dyke Mills Band recorded their parts for ‘Love Awake’.
Since Wings were not due to tour Back To The Egg until the end of 1979, McCartney commissioned Keff and Co to create a set of promotional films. Filmed during the Lympne Castle sessions from 4-13 June 1978, they were intended to be shown as separate clips or as a half-hour film.
The entire set was screened by various US television stations from November-December 1979. In the UK they weren’t shown as one until the BBC broadcast them on 10 June 1981. The running order was ‘Getting Closer’, ‘Baby’s Request’, ‘Old Siam, Sir’, ‘Winter Rose’, ‘Love Awake’, ‘Spin It On’, ‘Again And Again And Again’, ‘Arrow Through Me’, and ‘Goodnight Tonight’.