Under the covers... Wings Band On The Run Page 2

Why these particular six celebs? Subscribers to the chaos, rather than the conspiracy, theory of history will have their world view confirmed by the fact that, according to Paul McCartney, he rang round friends 'for a lark' and they were the six people whose numbers he had who happened to be free that evening.


Live at the mic in New York

Scouse Party
Kenny Lynch was an old Liverpool acquaintance from the days when he and The Beatles used to play the same clubs, while the scouse connection also partly explained the appearance of Toxteth boy Conteh, who would soon win the world Light Heavyweight title and whose fights the McCartneys had attended.


The two McCartneys pose with guitarist Denny Laine

Freud and Lee, meanwhile, were regular dinner party guests of the couple, James Coburn was in town filming British thriller flick The Internecine Project, and Michael Parkinson had been keen to get McCartney on his chat show, so Macca used this as the bait to lure Parky in. He wouldn't actually make it onto the show until 1999, mind. There's gratitude for you.

Megaphone Diplomacy
Either way, on the cold Sunday night of the 28th of October 1973, the protagonists gathered at the 16th-century Tudor mansion at Osterley Park in West London, where the photograph would be taken against the wall of the stable block.


Wings play live in 1976 (l-r) Jimmy McCulloch, Linda McCartney, and Denny Laine with double-neck guitar. McCulloch joined Wings on guitar in 1974

Inside the mansion beforehand, a relaxed dinner was enjoyed while the assembled cast changed into prison garb for the shoot. Unsurprisingly, the subsequent operation was far from the smoothest it could have been. Arrowsmith's relative lack of experience didn't help either, as he related on his blog in 2014...

'On the day, I hired a spotlight from the lighting company which, unfortunately, was not powerful enough for the job. This meant that everyone had to be very still for over two seconds for the picture to be sharp. Two seconds may not sound like a long time [but] they did have a party before the shoot and everyone was very much the worse for wear'.


Limited edition reissue of the 'Band On The Run' single that appeared in the US in 2010

Arrowsmith sat, becoming increasingly exasperated, on a stepladder shouting instructions from a megaphone as the mayhem unfolded before him. 'Trying to get everyone to stay still and play the part of escaping prisoners was proving extremely difficult, amid the laughter and jokes', he wrote. 'I arranged them all together so they could lean against each other and the wall. Now, because they had all become a little unsteady on their feet – Denny Laine fell over a couple of times laughing hysterically – everyone was having a great time.'


Poster included with the 1973 LP featured Polaroid shots of the band taken by Linda McCartney

Snapper Snaps
Eventually Arrowsmith lost his rag: 'I barked instructions persistently, which the most part everyone ignored, until I finally snapped and screamed, "Stay Still!".'


Laine, Linda and Paul at the Omni Coliseum in Georgia during the band's Wings Over The World Tour

In the end, he only managed to shoot two rolls of film – 24 shots in all, which is very few for such a shoot – and didn't know if he'd even end up with one photo in which they were all still and therefore in focus.

Turning Yellow
Then there emerged a further problem. 'Not knowing much about photography at the time, technically', Arrowsmith told Tom Doyle, 'I shot it on daylight film, and it was a tungsten source, so everything goes yellow. When it came to telling Paul, I was freaking out too much to say anything. I just held my breath'. Despite the error, he had four shots where everyone was in sharp focus and McCartney loved them, so he decided to keep schtum about his mistake.


McCartney on stage in 1976 in Philadelphia, the year Wings At The Speed Of Sound was released

A few years later he confessed to the great man while on another shoot, this time for the back cover of Wings At The Speed Of Sound.

'After the shoot, over coffee, I said, "Paul, there is something I've meant to tell you for years. That yellow light on the Band On The Run cover? That was a mistake. I used daylight film instead of tungsten".

'Paul laughed and said, "That's fine, I thought it looked great and that you meant to do it"'.

Magic Touch
Arrowsmith would work again with the former Beatle on several occasions, and was full of praise for his most famous subject. 'The great thing about Paul I have found over the years, is that when you ask him to dress up or do funny things, he is always up for it – and is magic in front of the camera.