‘The Note You Never Wrote’ is the second song on Wings’ fifth album Wings At The Speed Of Sound.
It features lead vocals by Denny Laine, for whom the song was written by Paul McCartney.
It turned out less of a McCartney production and more of a Wings effort. It wasn’t intended like that. There was one of the songs that I had sung but I just let Joe, our drummer, sing it because he’s got a very nice voice, and he sang it great. Denny is a natural for a couple of tracks because he is, after all, a lead vocalist. So I wrote one track for him, which I called ‘The Note You Never Wrote’ and he wrote one track himself, ‘Time To Hide’.
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‘The Note You Never Wrote’ was the first song recorded for Wings At The Speed Of Sound. The basic track was taped in two takes at Abbey Road on 14 October 1975.
The lead guitarist is Jimmy McCulloch – not to be confused with Henry McCullough – and his solo is quite amazing. A little reminiscent of Dave Gilmour. The arrangement as a whole is kind of dreamy and Floydian. It’s what we call a ‘Floydian slip’.
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The orchestra, arranged by Fiachra Trench, was recorded at Abbey Road on 13 February 1976. The players were members of the Gabrieli String Quartet, who also worked on McCartney’s albums Tug Of War and Give My Regards To Broad Street.
It’s very much in the vein of [The Moody Blues’] ‘Go Now’ and it’s in the same waltz tempo [sic]. I’m sure Paul was influenced by ‘Go Now’ when he wrote ‘The Note You Never Wrote’ for me to sing. I love the song because it’s a kind of folk, it’s almost a political thing. It’s not too heavy, but it’s like a statement, like a protest song.
Wings At The Speed Of Sound deluxe edition, 2014