Flashback: Paul McCartney & Wings’ ‘With A Little Luck’ Hits Number One
It was 44 years ago today (May 20th, 1978) that Paul McCartney & Wings scored their fifth Number One hit with “With A Little Luck.” The song, which McCartney and the band began recording the previous year on a yacht docked in the Virgin Islands, was featured as the lead single from Wings’ London Town album. “With A Little Luck” was McCartney’s only major hit of 1978 and was able to temporarily break Barry Gibb‘s songwriting and production toe hold on the Number One spot, which he and his brothers and bandmates, Andy Gibb and the Bee Gees, dominated throughout the year.
“With A Little Luck” knocked the Bee Gees-written Yvonne Elliman hit “If I Can’t Have You” out from the top spot and held the Number One position for two weeks, breaking Barry Gibb’s already 15-week run at the top spot with songs he wrote and co-produced. “With A Little Luck” was knocked from Number One by Johnny Mathis and Deneice Williams‘ “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.”
Wings, which at that time was pared down to just Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine and new drummer Steve Holly, filmed a promotional video for the song in late March, reuniting McCartney with Michael Lindsey-Hogg, who had directed the Beatles‘ 1970 movie Let It Be.
Denny Laine told us that no matter how well the musicians of Wings gelled during the decade McCartney kept the band running, it always felt as though they were side musicians backing a former Beatle. He scoffs at the fans who are pressing for Wings to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: “Yeah, but Wings was just too many different lineups to be a real band, I always thought. It was really me, Paul and Linda — in a sense — plus musicians for a lot of the time. I never really felt like, y’know, I was a member of a band, to be honest. Never really felt that.”
Paul McCartney has slowly realized that his work with Wings from the ’70s belongs to a different generation than the Beatles do: “I think in the States, too, um, a lot of younger people remember Wings now. I’ve met people, I’ve been talking about Sgt. Pepper, and there were guys saying, ‘Nah, that wasn’t really my formative album, it was more Band On The Run.’ ‘Cause just their age. Y’know, so a lot of people now, who are harking back to the ’70s, that was their ’60s.”
The promo clip for “With A Little Luck” is featured on the three DVD video collection The McCartney Years.
McCartney has never performed “With A Little Luck” live in concert, although the song was rehearsed with Wings in the fall of 1979 prior to the band’s final tour.
During his 2013 rehearsals for his Out There world tour, it was reported that McCartney and his band had rehearsed “With A Little Luck” — but the song has yet to appear in any of his pre-show soundchecks or concerts.