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#1
Old 04-08-2004, 09:43 PM
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Wings' Fans: Explain "Band on the Run"

I always wondered if the song. "Band on the Run", was Paul McCartney's attempt at making something like another "Magical Mystery Tour" or "Sgt. Pepper"? Also, it gives me images of The Monkees in a silly, "chase" scene, usually in fast motion, IIRC, from any one of their shows.

Was it meant to be a funny song? If not, what are they singing about? Surely, it is not just a band of thieves on the run. While "Jailor Man" and "Sailor Sam" may be anyone, what is meant by "the rabbit's on the run"? Who's "the Rabbit?"

As kids growing up in the 70's, we always swore he was singing "Man on the Run"!
- Jinx
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#2
Old 04-08-2004, 09:55 PM
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You know, I've read a lot of books about Paul McCartney and I've listened to a lot of interviews, and press conferences. I've even wathed the special Band on the Run DVD....

As far as I can tell, there is no explanation. Or the explanation is simply that he was telling a story about a band on a run....
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#3
Old 04-08-2004, 09:57 PM
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Oh, and Wings wasn't formed when he made Band on The Run. It was just him and Linda and a guy whose name escapes me, playing in a studio in Africa. Wings wasn't formed until his second daughter, Stella, was born.
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#4
Old 04-08-2004, 10:00 PM
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Here's a bit of the story. From what I recall at the time, the title has to do with their attempted fun little "getaway" to Nigeria being somewhat less that ideal in reality. Lot's of nasty people around stopping/checking them, etc.
#5
Old 04-08-2004, 10:04 PM
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Based upon nothing but my own imagination, I had long thought that song was a fix-up of four or five cute musical phrases that never grew into full songs.
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#6
Old 04-08-2004, 10:05 PM
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I always thought the 'rabbits on the run' line was a reference to 'Watership Down,' which was a best-seller at roughly the same time.

I have not a shred of evidence to back this up, however...
#7
Old 04-08-2004, 10:18 PM
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Now I remember "more of the story." Paul and Linda were absolutely hounded by the press back then. Followed/photographed everywhere. Nigeria was picked as an isolated enough place that maybe they could have a normal time.

That also led to the concept of the cover photo: celebs in the public spotlight.

But in Nigeria, a much nastier group of people were following them around.
#8
Old 04-08-2004, 10:42 PM
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For Paul and Linda's sakes, I hope they were wearing plenty of Coppertone when they fell into the sun.
#9
Old 04-09-2004, 04:24 AM
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my interpretation is that it's "rabbits" not "rabbit's".

The rabbits are the band. (Band on the run, rabbits on the run) They running around like a bunch of scared rabbits.

Oh and my wife tells the story of when she was bored in class during high school and writing down song titles and suddenly hears her teacher say, "It's Band on the Run, not Man on the Run"

See, you're not the only one.
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#10
Old 04-09-2004, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepperlandgirl
Oh, and Wings wasn't formed when he made Band on The Run. It was just him and Linda and a guy whose name escapes me, playing in a studio in Africa. Wings wasn't formed until his second daughter, Stella, was born.
Wings was formed in 1971. Band on the Run was recorded in 1973, and credited to Paul McCartney and Wings.
#11
Old 04-09-2004, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonsuch
Wings was formed in 1971. Band on the Run was recorded in 1973, and credited to Paul McCartney and Wings.
Yes, but every band member other than Denny Laine quit so Paul, Linda and Denny did the whole album.
#12
Old 04-09-2004, 11:02 AM
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In fact if you have alook at the album cover the rest of the "band" are celebrities not musicians.
#13
Old 04-09-2004, 11:04 AM
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Wow, synchronicity. (No, not the Police album.) I just put Band on the Run in the CD player and started listening to it before I opened this forum.
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#14
Old 04-09-2004, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephe96
I always thought the 'rabbits on the run' line was a reference to 'Watership Down,' which was a best-seller at roughly the same time.

I have not a shred of evidence to back this up, however...
Slightly off-topic, but:
From Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day on Jethro Tull's Warchild album:
Quote:
And as you cross the circle line, the ice-wall creaks behind ---
you're a rabbit on the run.
And the silver splinters fly in the corner of your eye ---
shining in the setting sun.
Is Watership Down an English book? Must be an English thing.
#15
Old 04-09-2004, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LateComer
Slightly off-topic, but:
From Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day on Jethro Tull's Warchild album:


Is Watership Down an English book? Must be an English thing.
No, it was popular in the States too, although once I read it, I didn't understand why.
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#16
Old 04-09-2004, 02:31 PM
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And since we're all jazzed about cute n fuzzy rock bunnies, there is also:

"...Run, rabbit run. Dig that hole, forget the sun..." from Pink Floyd's "Time"
#17
Old 04-09-2004, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask
Yes, but every band member other than Denny Laine quit so Paul, Linda and Denny did the whole album.
Maybe that's what the song's about.
#18
Old 04-09-2004, 04:22 PM
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The concept of rabbits running, or fleeing, or being on the run, was not original to the novel Watership Down. For Chrissakes, they're prey animals! There have probably been literary references to this behavior for as long as there have been literary references!

John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, just for starters, was published in 1959 or '60. Well before Watership Down.
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#19
Old 04-09-2004, 04:36 PM
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A little snippet of Band On the Run can be heard at the end of 1985. Just fyi



btw, I always thought Band On the Run was about 4 minutes.
#20
Old 04-09-2004, 04:52 PM
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[QUOTE=Fiver]The concept of rabbits running, or fleeing, or being on the run, was not original to the novel [u]Watership Down[QUOTE]


I wasn't trying to imply that this was the case, Fiver. (By the way, are you named for the main character in 'Watership Down?') I was just pointing out that the book and the song were both popular at roughly the same time. I also said I had nothing to support the claim....
#21
Old 04-09-2004, 05:30 PM
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In my mind's eye, the song was about a jailbreak. I can't possibly be alone here. I thought the usage of "band" was like "band of mercenaries."

Haj
#22
Old 04-09-2004, 05:51 PM
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Lots of album info at BandOnTheRun.com.

Paul quotes from the site: "It started off with 'If I ever get out of here.' That came from a remark George made at one of the Apple meetings. He was saying that we were all prisoners in some way, some kind of remark like that. "If we ever get out of here," the prison bit, and I thought that would be a nice way to start an album..."

"There were a lot of musicians at the time who'd come out of ordinary suburbs in the sixties and seventies and were getting busted. Bands like the Byrds, the Eagles--the mood amongst them was one of desperados. We were being outlawed for pot. It put us on the wrong side of the law"

"So I just made up a story about people breaking out of prison. Structurally, that very tight little intro on "Band on the Run"--"Stuck inside these four walls"--led to a hole being blasted in the wall, and we get the big orchestra and then we're off. We escape into the sun."

The album won a number of accolades and awards. Hell, even John Lennon said he thought it was great.
#23
Old 04-09-2004, 06:32 PM
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Shit, I always figured he was chasing a tab of acid with a few bong hits, and that was that. Not that it isn't a fun song or anything, but I've never found the McCartney oeuvre to be a terribly rich mine for semiotics.

I mean, sometimes, all it is is some people want to fill the world with pretty love songs. What's wrong with that? I'd like to know.
#24
Old 04-09-2004, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loopydude
I mean, sometimes, all it is is some people want to fill the world with pretty love songs. What's wrong with that? I'd like to know.
I'll tell you after I get the door. Someone's knocking at the door, and ringing the bell. I must open the door, and let 'em in.
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#25
Old 04-09-2004, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rico
I'll tell you after I get the door. Someone's knocking at the door, and ringing the bell. I must open the door, and let 'em in.
Yep, better listen to what the man says....
#26
Old 04-09-2004, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Blue Sky
Yep, better listen to what the man says....
...or you'll be sorry, Uncle Albert.
#27
Old 04-09-2004, 09:36 PM
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I thought the major was a little lady suffragette
#28
Old 04-10-2004, 12:00 AM
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I'm gonna have my temporary secretary transcribe this thread for me.

Sir Rhosis
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#29
Old 04-10-2004, 04:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Rhosis
I'm gonna have my temporary secretary transcribe this thread for me.

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With a little luck, your secretary will work it out and make the whole thing better!
#30
Old 04-10-2004, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
As kids growing up in the 70's, we always swore he was singing "Man on the Run"!
That's funny -- I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, and I always swore he was singing "Ban on the Run".

I thought they were singing about the brand of roll-on deodorant my mom used.
#31
Old 04-10-2004, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer
That's funny -- I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, and I always swore he was singing "Ban on the Run".

I thought they were singing about the brand of roll-on deodorant my mom used.

We now know the next great pop song to be bastardized in a commercial!
#32
Old 04-10-2004, 12:47 PM
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Uh ... I don't think a company that makes roll-on deodorant would be very receptive to the image of their product being "on the run".
#33
Old 04-10-2004, 06:43 PM
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Speaking of Paul and albums with "run" in the title.

I walked by the very shop that had the window ad that inspired the "Run Devil Run" album title, right after the album's release. But the actual phrase is different and the cover pic is not the same. Artistic license I guess...

So in 28 years or so he'll have to put out an album with "run" in the title 3 times and have another kid with his latest blonde wife.
#34
Old 04-10-2004, 10:45 PM
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Denny Laine... any relation to Penny?
#35
Old 04-14-2004, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephe96
I wasn't trying to imply that this was the case, Fiver. (By the way, are you named for the main character in 'Watership Down?')
I wasn't singling you out, either. Others seemed to be suggesting it as well.

I took my screen name from the character, yes, but also from my stage name, which is Glenn Five.
#36
Old 04-14-2004, 05:52 PM
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Hmmm. I always thought the song had something to do with when he got busted for bringing pot into Japan, or some such thing (I don't have the details fully in memory). Does the song predate his arrest?
#37
Old 04-14-2004, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Malchats
Hmmm. I always thought the song had something to do with when he got busted for bringing pot into Japan, or some such thing (I don't have the details fully in memory). Does the song predate his arrest?

Band on the Run - 1973
Arrested in Japan - 1980
#38
Old 04-14-2004, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiver
The concept of rabbits running, or fleeing, or being on the run, was not original to the novel Watership Down. For Chrissakes, they're prey animals! There have probably been literary references to this behavior for as long as there have been literary references!

John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run, just for starters, was published in 1959 or '60. Well before Watership Down.
And the song Run Rabbit Run was immensely popular in Britain in the 1940's and is still very well known today. It's just the sort of nostalgic thing that Paul McCartney, Roger Waters et al might refer to.
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