‘Soily’ is the closing song on Wings’ 1976 live album Wings Over America.
Looking back on it [the Wings era], it’s a lot better than I thought, though some of it is just not PLAYED as well as The Beatles. My son plays a lot of Wings, so I’m re-listening, and there’s good shit that I’d forgotten about. A lot of the lyrics were off the wall, drug stimulated. Things like ‘Soily – the cat in the satin trousers says its oily’. What was I on? I think the answer is stimulants.
Q magazine, January 1998
‘Soily’ was one of Wings’ oldest songs, dating from 1971. They first performed it during their 1972/3 tour of Britain and Europe, and a live recording had been considered for the Red Rose Speedway album.
It also featured in Wings’ concert film The Bruce McMouse Show, which interspersed footage from the 1972 European tour with animated scenes of a family of mice living underneath the stage. In the film, Soily was the name of one of the mice, the son of the patriarch Bruce. The other mice children were named Swooney and Swat. However, the song was not in the film, which was belatedly released in 2018 as part of the deluxe edition of Red Rose Speedway.
‘Soily’ was the opening song during Wings’ 1973 UK Tour. The following year they recorded a studio version at Abbey Road for the One Hand Clapping film. The film was included with the 2010 reissue of Band On The Run, and the audio was released on the 2014 expanded reissue of Venus And Mars.
By 1976 its arrangement had become punchier and more hard rocking, and often closed the live set after ‘Hi, Hi, Hi’ as the second encore song.
The Wings Over America recording dates from the band’s 7 June 1976 show at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, part of the Wings Over The World Tour.
In addition to appearing on the live album, it was also the b-side of the live ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ single released in 1977 to promote the album.
A live recording of ‘Soily’ from Berlin 1972 was included in the 2018 CD box set Wings 1971–73, which included expanded versions of Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway, plus the exclusive CD Wings Over Europe.