Venus and Mars was the 4th studio album by Wings and the 6th for Paul McCartney after the break-up of The Beatles in 1970. The album was released May 27, 1975, and was the follow-up to Band on the Run. It was released on Capitol Records and was the springboard to a year-long worldwide tour for the band.
Recording sessions for the album took place in London, New Orleans (Sea-Saint Studio), and Los Angeles in November 1974 and early 1975. The Wings were Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine. New members were added in 1974, drummer Geoff Britton and guitarist Jimmy McCullough. Britton quit after recording 3 of the songs and Joe English was brought into the fold.
“Listen to What the Man Said”, released May 16, 1975, was the first single from the album and was number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. The album followed and was also number 1 in the US as well as Canada, France, New Zealand, Spain, and the UK. Two additional singles, “Letting Go” and “Venus and Mars/Rock Show” were released.
- Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards, piano, percussion
- Linda McCartney – keyboards, backing vocals, percussion
- Denny Laine – vocals, guitars, keyboards, percussion
- Jimmy McCulloch – guitars, vocals, percussion
- Joe English – drums, percussion
- Geoff Britton – drums on “Love in Song”, “Letting Go” and “Medicine Jar”
- Kenneth “Afro” Williams – congas on “Rock Show”
- Allen Toussaint – piano on “Rock Show”
- Dave Mason – guitar on “Listen to What the Man Said”
- Tom Scott – soprano saxophone on “Listen to What the Man Said”
The sessions went well and included two future McCartney B-sides, “Lunch Box/Odd Sox” and “My Carnival”. The songs on the album are linked together giving a continuous feeling that I think works well. The photograph on the cover of two billiard balls against a black background was taken by Linda McCartney.
Hipgnosis did the art design, incorporating billiard balls and cues in the lettering and illustrations by George Hardie. The picture of the band in the desert was to represent an otherworldly location.
Songs were written by Paul McCartney except where noted
|1||Venus And Mars||1:16|
Congas – Afro Piano – Allen Toussaint
|3||Love In Song||3:05|
|4||You Gave Me The Answer||2:14|
|5||Magneto And Titanium Man||3:15|
|B1||Venus And Mars (Reprise)||2:03|
|B2||Spirits Of Ancient Egypt||3:05|
|B3||Medicine Jar |
Songwriter – Colin Allen, Jimmy McCulloch
|B4||Call Me Back Again||4:59|
|B5||Listen To What The Man Said|
Guitar – Dave Mason Saxophone – Tom Scott
|B6||Treat Her Gently / Lonely Old People||4:24|
Composed By – Tony Hatch
“Venus and Mars” leading into “Rock Show” is great. I don’t know how many times I played these after buying the album. I love “You Gave Me The Answer” where McCartney recorded his lead vocals through a filter that removed much of the lower-end frequencies to help emulate the sound of singing through a megaphone, the signature sound of Rudy Vallee,
which was a common recording technique during the 1920s, where singers like Vallee and Al Jolson had to compensate for the poor reception of primitive recording equipment at that time. There is the fun “Magneto and Titanium Man” which includes the Marvel Comics characters Magneto, Titanium Man, and the Crimson Dynamo in its story.
When asked his opinion of the song decades after its release, Stan Lee (who co-created all three characters) said he thought it was terrific. “Spirits of Ancient Egypt” is sung by Denny Laine while “Medicine Jar” is sung and written by Jimmy McCulloch. This is overall an incredible album.
- Sea-Saint Studios was a music recording facility located at 3809 Clematis Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, which was co-owned by musician, producer, and arranger, Allen Toussaint, and record A&R man and publishing agent Marshall Sehorn, which was in operation for over thirty years, from 1973-2005, when it was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. During those years it hosted recordings by numerous musical acts such as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Patti LaBelle, Joe Cocker, and Elvis Costello, as well as local acts such as the Meters and Dr. John. [Back]