Paul McCartney’s festive single ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ was recorded solo during the sessions for the McCartney II album. It was issued as a single in 1979 and remains a fixture of Christmas compilations.

Written on a “boiling hot day in July”, ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ was based upon a synthesizer riff played on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. It was McCartney’s first Christmas composition since The Beatles’ fan club messages in the 1960s.

A video for the song was filmed at the Fountain Inn in Ashurst, West Sussex on 16 November 1979. It was directed by Russell Mulcahy and featured the members of Wings, even though they did not feature on the recording.

Wings performed ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ each night during their November-December 1979 tour of the UK. McCartney also performed it as an encore during December shows for his 2009 Good Evening Europe tour and the following year’s Up And Coming tour.

The release

The ‘Wonderful Christmastime’ single was issued in the United Kingdom on Parlophone as R 6029 on Friday 16 November 1979, and reached number six in the charts. The b-side was ‘Rudolph The Red Nose Reggae’, a novelty version of the Christmas classic which McCartney had recorded in 1975.

In the United States it was issued as Columbia 1-11162 on Tuesday 26 November, and peaked at number eight. In the run-out groove of the single’s a-side was the message “To lift a glass … Xmas ’79”, while the b-side read: “Love from Rudi! … Xmas ’79”.

‘Wonderful Christmastime’ was the first single credited solely to McCartney since ‘Another Day’ in 1971, and was the first signal that Wings’ time together might be drawing to a close.

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