Band on the Run



Frothy post-Beatles pop-rock album still a best-seller.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's a lot of silliness on Band on the Run, and its main message is pure upbeat fun and innocent enjoyment of the world.

Positive role models

The singer of the various songs has a positive outlook on life and a respectful affection for his love interest. There's nothing heroic here, but lots of people who seem to be living with good vibes for all around them.

Not applicable
Not applicable

"Helen Wheels" is a slight flirtation with profanity.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Picasso's Last Words" finds the painter telling his guests, "Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink anymore."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Band on the Run (featuring Paul McCartney, his wife Linda, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine, the core of McCartney's post-Beatles band Wings) offers ambitious, clever pop-rock with little in the way of worrisome content. "Let Me Roll It" is Paul's response, in the guise of a lovelorn ballad, to John Lennon's scolding "How Do You Sleep" on Imagine; a song title like "Helen Wheels" is the closest the bouncy, cheerful album gets to profanity. The core concept of the album involves a band breaking out of jail, but it's not clear why they were there in the first place, and the whole thing is about as sinister as "Jailhouse Rock."

What's the story?

On BAND ON THE RUN, Paul McCartney offers lots of style and showmanship in songs that are mainly a display of adroit craftsmanship rather than substance -- as in "Picasso's Last Words," which he famously composed on the spot in a bet with Dustin Hoffman, who challenged him to write a song about a random newspaper story. The 1973 album with Wings (his band that included Paul's wife Linda, former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine, and a changing cast) is a happy, often downright silly confection of tunes by an ex-Beatle having fun. Besides the title song, it includes such perennial radio mainstays as "Jet," "Bluebird," and "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five."

Is it any good?


Fans of McCartney's Beatle songs, including such simple but profound lyrics as "Hey Jude," "She's Leaving Home," and "The Long and Winding Road," may have issues with the largely content-free fare here. But it's delivered with such superb craft and good cheer that it's hard to begrudge McCartney his infectious fun. Whatever the critics say, Band on the Run is a classic example of the future Sir Paul giving his audience exactly what it wanted. And it was still on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2012.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether they prefer the Beatles' music from when the band was together or the solo work of the various bandmembers after the Fab Four broke up.

  • Why do you think this album is still so popular decades after it was first released?

  • How would you compare this album and John Lennon's Imagine -- and what does that tell you about McCartney and Lennon?

Music details

Artist:Paul McCartney & Wings
Release date:December 1, 1973
Parental advisory:No
Edited version available:No

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus February 24, 2013

Love it!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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