Paul McCartney explains how Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins inspired him to form Wings

26 January 2024, 09:54

Rockshow film trailer starring Paul McCartney and Wings

By Mayer Nissim

Where could Paul McCartney go after The Beatles?

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Paul McCartney has revealed how Johnny Cash inspired him to form Wings after The Beatles broke up.

McCartney's first post-Fabs releases were the solo McCartney and Ram recorded in partnership with his wife Linda, before they joined forces with Denny Laine for Wings, who released seven albums in the 1970s.

“We were in bed one night, newly married, when Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine," McCartney told Mojo.

"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."

Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash in 1969
Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash in 1969. Picture: Getty Images

Of following up The Beatles with a new group, McCartney said: "After the end of The Beatles I was faced with certain alternatives.

"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."

Wings in concert in 1976
Wings in concert in 1976. Picture: Getty Images

He added: "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."

Wings' masterpiece Band on the Run celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and is being released as a special edition next month containing new "underdubbed" mixes of its classic songs.