“We thought, ‘Since it’s such a lovely night, we’ll walk home’ – and we got robbed”: Paul McCartney on his brush with death while making Wings’ Band on the Run

The former Beatle recalls one fateful night during the album’s recording in Lagos, Nigeria.

Paul McCartney rehearsing with Wings in 1973

Credit: Jack Kay/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Paul McCartney has looked back on his brush with death during the making of Wings’ third studio album, Band On The Run.

Often regarded as the most celebrated of McCartney’s post-Beatles works, the album was mostly recorded at EMI’s studio in Lagos, Nigeria, and the experience proved to be one that was fraught with difficulties.

“We were told not to walk on the streets alone, but you get told that in every dangerous country,” McCartney tells MOJO. “Being madcap rock ‘n’ rollers, Linda [McCartney’s wife and Wings member] and I decided, ‘What do they know? Since it’s such a lovely night, we’ll walk home.’”

“So we got robbed,” the musician continues. “We ran back to the place we were staying at and got under the blankets until morning, thinking: ‘Have they followed us?’ We got into the studio the next day, and the studio manager said: ‘You’re lucky you’re white. If you were black they would have killed you because they would worry that you would recognise them.’”

“So yeah, we lost the tapes, but because we had been doing them so recently I remembered them.”

Elsewhere in the chat, McCartney reveals one of the factors that spurred the record’s making, saying: “On the eve of going to Lagos, with everything planned, Henry McCullough and Denny Seiwell went: ‘Sorry man, can’t make it.’ Why? ‘I don’t know. It’s a long way.’”

“I got off the phone and, after the initial plunging into despair, I thought: I’ll show you. I’ve written these songs and I think they are pretty good so I’ll do the drumming, Denny and I will cover the guitar stuff, and with Linda on board we’ll make an album you wish you had been on.”

As Linda once told Sounds magazine, “Paul thought, ‘I’ve got to do it. Either I give up and cut my throat or get my magic back.’”

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