Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wings Around the World

The first cassette I ever bought was Wings Greatest Hits. It had just come out on the heels of London Town, 1978, which is a fantastic album. I was inspired to buy the Hits package after finding London Town among my sister's records.
I recall first listening to it that year at her house along the bluffs of Cook Inlet near Nikiski, Alaska. The wind was bowing the windows and a storm had swept the Inlet into a froth. I thought the glass might break. I had 1970s-era headphones snapped to my head as I lay on my sister's "California King"-sized waterbed, which was very in vogue. It had rounded leather edges and a vast expanse of warm woosh. Downstairs, the smell of smoked herbs wafted up and my mind fell deep into the bass of McCartney's London Town. The LP's cover showed grey city skies and the Tower Bridge with the Wings trio bundled tight and windswept, and frankly in love with each other and life. It evoked for me in Alaska what the more vanguard music world must have been feeling around the punks emerging from the East End and soon Joy Division's Manchester -- an old rebellion, a change in the air, a simmering melancholy, a melodic angst, a London of the Mind. I picture it still as present as '78.
I always had a soft rock heart, though, and Paul will always be the Beatle closest to my heart, my ears, and my time.

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