It was 49 years ago tonight (February 9th, 1972), that Paul McCartney, along with his new band Wings, performed his first solo show at Britain's Nottingham University. Although McCartney refused to include any Beatles numbers in the band's set, he couldn't resist performing the group's longtime set-closer, a cover of Little Richard's “Long Tall Sally.” Incidentally, the gig was eight years to the day of the “Fab Four's” debut in America on The Ed Sullivan Show.
McCartney's idea of reliving the Beatles' early pre-fame days had actually been his idea for the group the day that John Lennon quit the group in 1969. McCartney thought it a good enough idea to revisit as the launch of Wings' live act: “We decided to go back to square one and not form a, sort of, great big 'supergroup' and come out the level the Beatles were at. So, it was kinda funny looking back on it. We just stuck everything in a van — dogs, children, potty — and just went up the motorway without any bookings, without any hotels. Anyway, we found Nottingham University and went and did a gig there and (then) did a little, kind of, university tour. So from those small beginnings, we gradually formed Wings.”
Wings co-founder and drummer Denny Seiwell says that McCartney formed Wings as a way for him to get back to being a working musician: “Really, I believe that it was his need to just get back and perform live under a controlled situation. Like, he always used to say that the Beatles was a, it was really great to play live with them, but in the, y'know, as soon as they became 'The Beatles,' I mean, they couldn't hear each other, the equipment was so rotten, and it was just such an ordeal to get up on stage and play that there wasn't that much enjoyment from it.”