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Paul McCartney says Johnny Cash inspired him to form Wings instead of joining a supergroup or retiring

“It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually,” says the former Beatle.

Paul McCartney and Johnny Cash

Image: Harry Durrant / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

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Paul McCartney has credited the legendary Johnny Cash for his decision to form Wings instead of joining a supergroup or retiring after leaving the Beatles.

Speaking in a new interview with MOJO, Macca explains that Wings came about while he was at a crossroads in his career.

“After the end of The Beatles I was faced with certain alternatives,” he says. “One was to give up music entirely and do God knows what. Another was to start a super-band with very famous people, Eric Clapton and so on. I didn’t like either so I thought: How did The Beatles start?”

“It was a bunch of mates who didn’t know what they were doing. That’s when I realised maybe there is a third alternative: to get a band that isn’t massively famous, to not worry if we don’t know what we’re doing because we would form our character by learning along the way. It was a real act of faith. It was crazy, actually.”

And as McCartney reveals, the inspiration for the new band actually came from seeing American icon Johnny Cash on television.

“We were in bed one night,” the musician recalls, “newly married, when Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine. There they were, playing with some country musicians I had never heard of, looking like they were having fun.”

“I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he’s doing it. So I turned to Linda and said: Do you want to form a band? And she went: ‘Sure.’ That’s how our relationship was. Do you want to go and live on a farm in Scotland? ‘Why not?’”

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