The Story Of How Johnny Cash Helped Paul McCartney To Form Wings
THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW - Shoot Date: March 17, 1969. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) JOHNNY CASH
After The Beatles broke up, Paul McCartney formed his second band, Wings, and claimed that Johnny Cash was the one who inspired him.
During a 2016 interview, McCartney revealed that he drank heavily and often contemplated quitting music after The Beatles split in 1970. The singer-songwriter, who had been a Beatle for so long, didn’t know what to do with himself at that time. Recalling those times, he said that he was depressed explaining:
“You would be. You were breaking from your lifelong friends. So, I took to the bevvies I took to a wee dram. It was great at first, then suddenly I wasn’t having a good time … It was difficult to know what to do after the Beatles. How do you follow that?”
When he said that he “wanted to get back to square one,” he meant starting a new band. In the book In The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, McCartney wrote how Cash inspired him with his comeback. Interestingly, Wings was an experiment to see whether there was “life after The Beatles” and that “success could be followed.”
One evening in 1971, McCartney was inspired to start Wings after seeing Cash on TV. He believed the performance by Cash and his band was entertaining. McCartney asked Linda if she wanted to establish a band. That time they were married for three years and have a one-year-old daughter, Mary. The musician wrote:
“It was the result of asking myself, ‘Am I going to stop now?’ The Beatles were so wonderful and all-encompassing, so successful. Now, should I stop and look for something else to do? But I thought, ‘No. I like music too much, so whatever the something else is, it will be music.’”
“It felt like it would be a fun new adventure for us. And she said, ‘Yeah,’” he wrote. He then came up with the band’s name after they gave birth to his daughter, Stella. He said:
“It had been a difficult delivery, and she’d had to go into intensive care in an incubator. I stayed on at the hospital, sleeping on a camp bed in the room next to Linda’s while they were recovering.
“After situations like that, your mind goes into overdrive. I was thinking angelic thoughts because we’d just been through this family emergency, and the vision of an angel with big wings came to me. Wings really stuck with me. But it wouldn’t be The Wings, like The Beatles. Just Wings.”
McCartney was joined by his wife as the keyboardist, session drummer Denny Seiwell, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine to complete the band. Later, the band was joined by drummer Geoff Britton and guitarist Jimmy McCulloch. Shortly after joining, Britton left, and Joe English took his place.