On This Day in 1973: Paul McCartney & Wings Topped the ‘Billboard’ 200 and Hot 100 Charts with ‘Red Rose Speedway’ and “My Love”

On June 2, 1973, Red Rose Speedway, the second studio album Paul McCartney released with his post-Beatles band Wings, reached the top of the Billboard 200. The same day, “My Love,” the lead (and only) single from the album, peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Red Rose Speedway and “My Love” became McCartney’s first chart-topping album and single in the U.S. with Wings. His debut solo album, McCartney, also topped of the Billboard 200 in 1970, while “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” from Paul’s collaborative album with wife Linda, Ram, peaked at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 1971.

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Red Rose Speedway was the group’s first album to be credited to Paul McCartney and Wings. The band’s previous album, Wild Life (1972), was simply credited to Wings. Some have suggested that the name change was adopted to potentially help record sales, because Wild Life had been somewhat of a commercial disappointment.

Red Rose Speedway spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Interestingly, it took over the top spot from The Beatles1966-1970 compilation (a.k.a. “The Blue Album), and was replaced at No. 1 by former Beatle George Harrison’s solo effort Living in the Material World.

Red Rose Speedway went to be certified gold by the RIAA for sales of more than 500,000 in the U.S.

Red Rose Speedway was the only full Wings album to feature guitarist Henry McCullough, who joined the band in 1972. The group’s lineup at the time also featured Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, and drummer Denny Seiwell. McCullough and Seiwell both left Wings in 1973, just before the band recorded its next album, Band on the Run.

About “My Love”

“My Love” is a piano ballad Paul McCartney composed for wife Linda, although the couple is credited with co-writing the song. The band recorded the track at Abbey Road Studios in London live with a 50-piece orchestra.

McCullough famously asked McCartney if he could improvise a guitar solo rather than play the one Paul had written for the tune. McCartney agreed, and McCullough delivered an extremely heartfelt and memorable musical moment. With McCartney playing piano on the track, Laine handed bass duties on the recording.

The song was released as a single on March 23, 1973, several weeks in advance of Red Rose Speedway.

“My Love” spent four consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in June of ’73. It replaced the Edgar Winter Group’s classic rock instrumental “Frankenstein” at the top of the chart, and then was bumped from the pinnacle by Harrison’s “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth).”

To help promote the song, McCartney & Wings shot a video for the tune that was directed by famed rock photographer Mick Rock. The clip was shown on two episodes of the U.K. show Top of the Pops in April 1973.

Red Rose Speedway Track List:

Side One

  1. “Big Barn Bed”
  2. “My Love”
  3. “Get on the Right Thing”
  4. “One More Kiss”
  5. “Little Lamb Dragonfly”

Side Two

  1. “Single Pigeon”
  2. “When the Night”
  3. “Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)”
  4. “Medley”
    –“Hold Me Tight”
    –“Lazy Dynamite”
    –“Hands of Love”
    –“Power Cut”

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