We’re starting a new occasional feature today wherein guest writers contribute appreciations of Paul McCartney’s second, less loved band, Wings. First up, Jess Rotter on the song Wild Life from Wings’ first album.
Wings – “Wild Life” by Jess Rotter
“You’re moving so fast, but baby you know not where..”
Ahh the half-glassed glory of 1971′s “Wild Life” – the last song (track 4) on side one of Wing’s Wild Life record questioning, essentially, just what the hell happened? While people argued the lighter direction of this record to be a bit of a burn, that is not to be said about this whopper title ballad which has been a repeat staple of Rotter corner for years. It’s the great blues-filled shoulder shrug riff that transports you to the end of a seedy bar while the gorgeous starlit chorus soars around the room; almost as if the full Muppet cast is singing around you “Benny and the Jets” style. But besides the puppet glimpses, “Wild Life” can be super gutting. It wasn’t until my late 20′s when my dad’s copy of this record began to surface/hit home so hard like a cliff hanger..a ponder jam: what comes next…? As Paul says: “What’s gonna happen to?”
I have written about this song many times through the years on my Rotter and Friends blog – it’s a sincere personal totem and has provided many a booze-filled soundtrack to my artwork and heartbreaks. Here’s hoping…it inspires you too.
NYC-based master of poppy psyche scribble Jess Rotter paints and draws
trippy worlds that have been exhibited in galleries and boutiques in
New York City, Los Angeles, Marfa, and Tokyo. Her whimsical,
hand-drawn illustrations have appeared on album + book covers, wood
burns, stickers, and limited edition musical T-shirt label, Rotter and
In Los Angeles. June 1968.
Old man McCartney. Circa 2006 (?).
The Quarry Men: Paul, some guy named Arthur Kelly (who was in George’s pre-Beatles band The Rebels but was not a Quarry Man), George and John. Circa 1958-9.
Toward the end of The Beatles. Paul is either wearing the same shirt as in the Quarry Men shot or a replica. April 9, 1969.
In India. Sometime in February or March 1968.
Paul and future wife Linda Eastman at the Sgt. Pepper album release party. May 19, 1967.
In Nashville. Summer 1974.
Beatles and Yoko looking out the window of Paul’s Cavendish Road, London home. April 1969.
Wings strike a similar pose 3 years later. 1972.
This year’s Santa: the 1979 line-up of Wings.