London Town is the seventh album by Wings and was released in 1978. The recording of the project was a long and tumultuous one, which saw the loss of two of its band members, the birth of a baby and the release of Britain's then top-selling single of all time - all during London Town's making.
In February 1977, sessions began at Abbey Road Studios and continued until the end of March. McCartney's initial plan of touring the US again was thwarted by wife Linda's discovery that she was pregnant with the couple's third child (Mary was born in 1969 and Stella in 1971). With the knowledge that they had time at their disposal - and always looking for different locales to record in - Wings suddenly found themselves moored on a boat called "Fair Carol" in the Virgin Islands during the month of May where several new songs were recorded. As Linda's pregnancy progressed, McCartney called a halt to the sessions for the album, save for the recording of a track called "Mull of Kintyre" that August and the completion of an already-begun song entitled "Girls School", which would be Wings' one and only release in 1977.
Before the single's release came two defections from Wings. Drummer Joe English had become greatly homesick for America and returned home. Lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch left to join The Small Faces that September: ironically, the man who warned listeners against the indulgences of drugs and alcohol in earlier Wings songs "Medicine Jar" and "Wino Junko" was found dead at age 26 two years later of a suspected drug overdose. For the first time since 1973's Band on the Run, Wings were down to the core three of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine.
In November, two months after the birth of son James, and shortly after sessions for London Town resumed, Scottish tribute "Mull Of Kintyre" was released to massive commercial success, becoming the UK's biggest-selling single (even outstripping The Beatles' largest seller "She Loves You"). Although it would be topped in 1984 by Band Aid, "Mull Of Kintyre" still ranks as the UK's fourth biggest selling single.
After some final overdubbing in January 1978, London Town was completed and preceded by the US #1 "With a Little Luck" that March, while the album was released a week later. London Town generally fared well with the critics and in the charts, reaching #4 in the UK and #2 in the US where it went platinum. But after its strong start, it did not have the staying power of Wings' previous releases, with subsequent singles "I've Had Enough" and the title track becoming small hits. Although the advent of punk music (which sent the music industry into a period of change) would certainly have contributed to the slightly smaller sales of London Town, the album is now considered to mark the end of Wings' commercial peak and the beginning of a minor commercial slump for McCartney. Nonetheless, Paul McCartney was reportedly displeased with Capitol Records in the US, where "Mull Of Kintyre" had surprisingly flopped (with B-Side "Girls School" merely becoming a Top 40 hit) and was further dismayed at what he viewed as a lacklustre promotion for London Town. With his contract at an end, he promptly signed up with Columbia Records for North America only (remaining with EMI worldwide) and would stay there until 1984, before returning to Capitol in the US.
In 1993, London Town was remastered and reissued on CD as part of "The Paul McCartney Collection" series with "Mull Of Kintyre" and its B-Side "Girls School" as bonus tracks.
|Year||Country||Chart||Position||Weeks||Certification (if any)||Sales/shipments|
|1978||United States||The Billboard Pop Albums||2||28||Platinum||1,000,000+|
|1978||Norway||VG-lista (Top 20)||2||22|
|1978||United Kingdom||UK Albums Chart (Top 60)||4||23||Gold||100,000+|
|1978||Austria||Austrian Albums Chart (Top 25)||4||20|
|1978||Japan||Oricon Weekly LP Albums Chart (Top 100)||4||16||88,000+|
|1978||Sweden||Albums Chart (Top 50)||4||7|