Wingspan (TV Movie 2001) Poster

(2001 TV Movie)

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Denny Laine and others missing
songrider6414 December 2005
I have to agree with the previous postings that this should be called McCartney's Wingspan. Although Wings was basically Paul's baby, there should have been more interviews and footage from the rest of the former members (Denny Laine in particular). The absence of Denny Laine is quite disturbing to anyone who has followed this band. McCartney's experience with The Beatles and getting ripped off by their then manager Epstein, cemented his determination to be in control of everything. Laine on the other hand, was not responsible enough to financially plan for his future. The results saw Laine selling his own song rights (most notably Mull Of Kintyre which he co-wrote with Macca) to the ever-enterprising McCartney. Maybe this might be one of the reasons that McCartney did not allow any of the members their own time for interviews. We might have heard shocking tales of conflicting personalities as well as the sheer joy and excitement of being part of the band that became one of the tops of the seventies. I believe that McCartney should have really started Wingspan in 1971 when the group was formed. The solo albums "McCartney" and "Ram" really have nothing to do with Wings as a group. The rest of the footage was interesting to watch but far too little time was spent on the other members of the group and one felt like it was brushed over quickly to get to the glory and triumph that the McCartney once again claimed. Denny Laine was faithful to the McCartneys for almost a decade. He played and supported all the Wings' albums with no exceptions. At the same time, he would be lucky to get two of his own songs on an album. A real Wings' project should have had a lot of input from him (there was none). Instead, McCartney mentions him even less than the others because he didn't leave. By the time McCartney had started Wings, he must have known that his own legacy was already secured with the Beatles. Too bad then that his approach towards Wings did not incorporate the building of a group in a less domineering way. He came close to it with Wings At The Speed Of Sound and the American tour of 1976. There was a higher group participation during this period which explains the great success and Linda's own fond recollection of that line-up. However, by the time the London Town LP arrived, McCartney was back to being in control again (even being careful to list what he plays on each track like hand-claps) and never quite reached the 1976 heights for the duration of Wings.

To summarize, Wingspan will always be incomplete until at least we hear from Denny Laine and his own recollections as well as the other band-mates. Come on Paul, you really did not do it ALL yourself. The film is a good walk down memory lane in the seventies from McCartney's perspective and should be viewed as such.
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Way to completely ignore Denny Laine!
bmn-220 May 2001
I would have enjoyed Wingspan a lot more had I not been misled on the premise. The idea, to me, was to talk about Wings from beginning to end. Instead, it is an interview with Paul about he and Linda over the period of time that Wings existed. Perfectly fine for what it was but totally skewed from the supposed idea (not that I was surprised however). Much like the accompanying CD is misleading: 1/3 of which features songs that are either immediately before or shortly after, but not during, his time in Wings.

Had it been presented the way I would have liked it to be, you would have heard about (and from) the rest of the band more, specifically Denny Laine. He was in the band from beginning to end (and complemented McCartney brilliantly, I might add) and he's just a blip on the radar screen in this supposed documentary. We don't hear enough about the erraticism of Jimmy McCullough that caused him to get sacked as guitarist (McCartney offers a brief anecdote about how he didn't want to play the encore in Seattle).

Wingspan is fun to watch as a McCartney fan (which I am) but you do have to remember that it is PAUL MCCARTNEY'S Wingspan through and through. It is told entirely through his eyes and viewpoint. If you're willing to accept that, than it is a fun trip back in time.
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A visually entertaining look at one of the 70's most underrated bands
TheRowdyMan7 June 2001
A visually entertaining look at one of the 70's most underrated bands. This documentary contents unreleased footage and music from Paul McCartney band Wings during their 9 year run. Being a fan of Wings who wasn't old enough to see them live I found Wingspan great retrospective on this chapter in Paul life which is rarely told in a in-depth manner. It is also a treat for fans to finally see unseen footage from Wings' unreleased films like 'One Hand Clapping' and 'Backyard'. Although the session for 'Rockestra Theme' and 'Glad To See You Here' (which were shot with Panavision cameras!!!) are sadly absent.

But the film is not without it's short comings. The film's main premise is how McCartney and his wife Linda, managed to beat the odds by following his former band The Beatles with another successful act. However, the film doesn't seem to include many of those odds. The years of critics saying that his music had gone soft, the supposed attempted murder of Paul & Linda by Jimmy McCullough and his fatal drug overdose just after leaving the band. Or even his falling out of Denny Laine (by the way; why wasn't he in the film? He was only your song writing partner for 9 years!?!).

And I refuse to believe that interviewer Mary McCartney (who researched the project for years with her husband before making the film), didn't know the story about John bringing a double bed into the studio for Yoko to sleep in. Even the most casual Beatles fans knew that one. And younger fans will find it hard not to cringe when Macca reveals his point of view on the 1970's punk movement ("God Save da Quuueeerrrn").

That said the film is still a very fascinating one the watch and must for both fans of The Beatles and Paul McCartney alike.

UPDATE: The 'Rockestra' footage is included on the DVD as a bonus.
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Cosy but flawed
neil-4764 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
You're never going to get the full story on something like this while the protagonists are still alive. Or, rather, you might get the full story if you withhold editorial control but, if you do that, you won't get the music, concert footage, home movies etc.

Wingspan is Paul McCartney's story of the period leading up to Wings and the Wings years. As such it skips over anything which might be less than flattering to McCartney with the sole exception of the Japanese drug bust which, given that it was the incident which led to the premature demise of Wings, could hardly be ignored.

There are no contributions from any other members of Wings, alive or dead, other than posthumous recordings of Linda. In particular, Denny Laine is conspicuous by his absence: again, hardly surprising given the reported unhappy parting of the ways over money / publishing issues, although one gathers that McCartney has been seen on congenial terms with Laine in recent years, and acknowledged Henry McCullough in the audience at a 2009 concert.

So it's interesting and has excerpts of lots of good music, but don't make the mistake of thinking it tells the full story.
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Don't expect a Beatles Anthology
Shaolin_Apu16 September 2006
To some viewers 'Wingspan' documentary may be a little disappointment. There is and was still a lot of topics the documentary could have contained too but as you can in general make only a limited lenght programme the creators chose to concentrate mostly on Linda McCartney. The main author of the programme is Paul's oldest daughter Mary who carries out the interview with Macca. There will also be a lot of archive material with some short excerpts from Wings' performances. If you want to hear Wings music in lenght you should buy some Wings records, even some others than the Wingspan CD collection.

Despite the fact that Paul is the only ex-Wings member that is interviewed for this programme, it still is an valuable insight into a band that will forever be over-shadowed by the Beatles (and even Plastic Ono Band). Linda is not here anymore to give interviews and only Paul and his family members can present us with some new details about Linda and her career in the Wings.

Hopefully this documentary will not be the last effort to make Wings a little more appreciated post-Beatle band. The value of the information what the other band members like Laine, Seiwell etc could give would make another and possibly a more interesting documentary film. Even without other the Wings' members 'Wingspan' still manages to present some honest new information from Paul, so it's still a very valuable item.
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