The only hitch in the two weeks of recording was 19-year-old Wings lead guitarist McCulloch, who in Winfrey's estimation was a "great player, but a jerk of the first magnitude." McCulloch, who had a drug problem, stormed out of a few sessions, threw a Coke bottle at the control room window, and even got himself arrested for reckless driving late one night. Killen pulled some strings to get him out of jail, but the incident would almost prevent the band from returning to the States for the Wings Over America tour.
Songs cut at the Sound Shop were "Sally G.," "Junior's Farm," "Bridge Over the River Suite," "Hey Diddle," "Wide Prairie," "Send Me the Heart" (written by Laine) and "Walking in the Park With Eloise." This last one, a Dixieland-style instrumental, was written by Paul's father, Jim McCartney. Chet Atkins, when he heard the nostalgic tune, convinced Paul to record it as a gift to the elder McCartney, who was ailing at the time.
With guests Atkins, Floyd Cramer and Vassar Clements--and McCartney playing a washboard he'd bought at a Nashville flea market--Wings would release "Eloise" under the pseudonym The Country Hams.
In a 1984 Playboy interview, McCartney said, "I told my dad, 'You're going to get all the royalties. You wrote it and we're going to publish it for you and record it, so you'll get the checks. And he said, 'I didn't write it, son.' I thought, 'Oh God, what?' He said, 'I made it up, but I didn't write it.' He meant he couldn't notate; he couldn't actually write the tune down. And of course, that's like me. I can't write music. I just make 'em up too."
Of the songs that McCartney made up in Nashville, the sublime "Junior's Farm" became a No. 3 hit in November 1974. The single's B-side, "Sally G.," also skimmed into the upper reaches of the country charts, a first for the former Beatle.
On July 18, 1974, after six weeks in town, McCartney & Co. flew back to England. Drummer Geoff Britton left the band shortly after. Jimmy McCulloch left in '77, then died of an overdose in '79. Denny Laine would remain the only constant in the revolving door lineup of Wings over the next five years.
Though Killen and Winfrey have had only intermittent contact with their legendary guest in the years since--a few Christmas cards, the occasional phone call--they both have fond memories. "Paul was the most unassuming guy I've ever been around," Killen says. "You felt no star complex with him. He was just a regular guy who talked to you about regular things, and he was one of the nicest guys in the business I've ever met."
Winfrey says, "The whole experience was kind of like a fairy tale, a dream come true."
Paul & Linda Try the Gentle Life
By JERRY BAILEY
July 18, 1974
With a little imagination, it might have been a Southern gentleman sitting with his children ‘round his feet on the front porch of his plantation home.
In reality, however, it was former Beatle Paul McCartney, his wife, Linda, and a host of newsmen in a highly informal press conference.
McCartney, was right at home with his surroundings. "I’ve got a farm in Scotland," he informed his audience. "You’re not the only people who have farms, you know. Back in Scotland, we’re country people in our own way."
Though there was much speculation that McCartney had come to Nashville to record when his plane touched down nearly six weeks away, he made it clear yesterday that any recording was just incidental to the visit. Most of his stay was spent rehearsing with his group "Wings," jamming with Nashville Musicians and just enjoying the countryside.
HE FINALLY DID get around to putting something on tape a few days ago when Chet Atkins offered his services: "I was talking to Chet about it one night when we were over at his house socializing, and he said ‘Why don’t you do it?’ Then Chet brought along Floyd Cramer and some brass guys that he uses and then there was my drummer Geoff and me and Bobby Thompson, the banjo player."
The tune they had decided to record was "Eloise," written by McCartney’s father some 20 years ago. The elder McCartney about 70, is an amateur musician who claims he can’t write, but "thinks up" songs.
The song may be released as a single and included in an album called "Cold Cuts," McCartney said.
In addition, McCartney and his band worked with several other Nashville sidemen including Lloyd Greene, Vassar Clements and Johnny Gimble.
THE ENGLISH MUSICIAN incorporated the Music Row sidemen into another "country flavored" song called "Sally G" which he wrote after an inspiring visit to a country music club in Printer’s Alley.
The songs will be combined with more of McCartney’s material which he had previously found no use for. "We had a lot of tracks that were going to be wasted and just thrown away," he said. "But I thought there was some good stuff on them, so we just cleaned them up, and then I did the stuff here so we could make them up into a record."
"It probably won’t be on the next album. That’ll be a proper studio follow-up to "Band on the Run" (his current release). But it’ll probably be on the album after that, which we’re thinking of calling ‘Cold Cuts.’ Get it? ‘Cold Cuts.’"
He quickly quashed some rumors that the family had plans to settle in Nashville, or even the United States. "No, thank you," said McCartney. "I’m British to the core.
"We’re always being advised to move out of England because the taxes take 90% of everything you earn. But I’m British and Linda’s kind of honorary British. She makes a good cup o’ tea."
McCARTNEY’S WIFE is the former Linda Eastman, daughter of a prominent New York attorney. The father-in-law now handles McCartney’s financial affairs. Tree Publishing, a client of Lee Eastman’s assisted in details of McCartney’s visit to Nashville.
"Orginally we were not going to record here. We were going to rehearse and see if the new band members blended with a view of going on a tour, possibly to Australia. We came here because it is a musical surrounding. It’s not much good going into a desert. There’s nothing to spark you up."
Although McCartney said there had been no change in the membership of his band at present, several sources yesterday said guitarist Jimmy McColloch had run afoul of the law here and had been dismissed from the group. The wayward musician reportedly has been asked to leave the country. McCartney confirmed the trouble with police yesterday, without going into much detail. "I’d rather not bring that up here," said McCartney.
Nashville sources also said McCartney is dissatisfied with his band generally and will dismiss them to return for recording sessions with strictly Nashville musicans. McCartney’s manager, however, termed this report "rubbish."
He said he hoped to begin on an American tour next year. If it develops, there are definate plans for a Nashville concert. "We couldn’t skip Nashville," said McCartney. "We have too many friends here."
McCartney said he had made several promises to write songs for several Nashville musicans though he has doubts about keeping them. "The trouble is that since I’ve been here I promised a lot of people I would write songs for them. It’s amazing the people who want songs — like Johnny Cash and Charlie Rich. You’d think they’d have plenty of good material. But they all tell us that they don’t have enough good songs."
The McCartney’s vistied the homes of Chet Atkins, and Johnny Cash. Also, they visited the old and new Grand Ole Opry Houses, several Nashville resteraunts, Printers’ Alley music clubs and several drive-in movies.
"We’ve been to the drive-in a couple of times," McCartney said with a grin. "That’s about our level. We’re very drive-in-type people."
Both Paul and Linda were dressed casually for the press conference. While reporters arriveing on time were detained at the front gate of the residence, the couple had buzzed past, smiling and waving on a newly purchased motor cycle.
When the newsmen reached the house, McCartney looked the part of a relaxing musician with bare feet, faded blue jeans and a loose fitting satin shirt. Linda wore a blue skirt and a checkered shirt with home embroidery on the shoulders.
The family’s younger members, three girls, were asked to remain inside during the interview though they slipped outside to play in the yard toward the end. Mrs. McCartney said the children had most enjoyed the Nashville sunshine.
"They’re always running around naked streaking,’ she laughed. Her husband interupted, "Remember that night they went over to Johnny Cash’s house? Heather (their 11 year old daughter) was playing with Johnny’s son and some animals in the barn.
When Heather came back with us, she was talking Southern." He mocked a drawl. "Those chickens are really beautifull."
The Putnam farm, which was rented for $2,000 per week while the owners vacationed, is located on the road between Lebanon and Gladeville.
The family’s plans are to return to New York, maybe today, where they will stay for a few days before returning to London and their Scotland farm. Yesterday evening, however, McCartney’s manager wsa trying to locate a camper for Paul and Linda to travel about in.