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The new "Band on the Run" reissue is available in various packages.
The new "Band on the Run" reissue is available in various packages.

Rock & roll gift idea: Paul McCartney & Wings' "Band on the Run" reissue

No ex-Beatle had as successful a solo career as erstwhile moptop Paul McCartney, whose "Band on the Run" was released to acclaim in 1973.

In the United States, the "Band on the Run" LP hit the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart ... three times! It spawned the hit singles "Jet" and "Band on the Run." Even if you don't instantly recognize the famous album cover photo of the band caught in the beam of a police spotlight, you'll know the hits.

Beyond those, there were other great tunes, like "Let Me Roll It," which would have fit nicely on The Beatles' "Abbey Road."

Even more than 30 years later, "Band on the Run" is still respected. It previously got a pretty major reissue overhaul, but Hear Music/MPL has issued a three-disc version as the first installment in the "Paul McCartney Archive Collection."

The first disc has the remastered original record and disc two has rarities. "Helen Wheels" was a single that was added to "Band on the Run" in the U.S. "Country Dreamer," also here, was the b-side. "Zoo Gang," the flipside of the "Band on the Run" single, is also included, alongside six tunes from "One Hand Clapping," a 1974 documentary.

Sadly, most of the bonus live tracks included on the 25th anniversary reissue are not here.

But disc three is a DVD with music videos for "Band on the Run," "Mamunia" and "Helen Wheels" and an album promo video. There are videos from the album cover photo shoot and a Wings visit to Nigeria, as well as the original "One Hand Clapping," recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

The reissue is available in a number of formats. On the low end is a single-disc reissue of the original record (about $12). On the upper end of the spectrum is the three-disc set packaged with a big hardcover book (at about $90). In between are a double-album vinyl version (about $30) and the three-disc version in CD-sized package (about $20).

I have the last one, so I can't comment on the hardcover book, but certainly if you're shopping for a massive McCartney fan, that's the one you'll want. Passing fans will survive with the most basic. And, there are options in between, as you've seen.


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