Jet (song) – Wikipedia

Original song written and composed by Paul & Linda McCartney; first recorded by Wings

Jet” is a song by Paul McCartney and Wings from their third studio album Band on the Run (1973). It was the first British and American single to be released from the album. The song’s title was inspired by the name of a pony Paul came across while writing the song on a farm in Scotland.

The song peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, also charting in multiple countries in Europe. It has since been released on numerous compilation albums, and has since become one of the band’s best-known tracks.

Background[edit]

Reviewers have reported that the song’s title was inspired by the McCartneys’ Labrador Retriever dog named “Jet”.[3][4] McCartney has substantiated this claim:

We’ve got a Labrador puppy who is a runt, the runt of a litter. We bought her along a roadside in a little pet shop, out in the country one day. She was a bit of a wild dog, a wild girl who wouldn’t stay in. We have a big wall around our house in London, and she wouldn’t stay in, she always used to jump the wall. She’d go out on the town for the evening, like Lady and the Tramp. She must have met up with some big black Labrador or something. She came back one day pregnant. She proceeded to walk into the garage and have this litter … Seven little black puppies, perfect little black Labradors, and she’s not black, she’s tan. So we worked out it must have been a black Labrador. What we do is if either of the dogs we have has a litter, we try to keep them for the puppy stage, so we get the best bit of them, and then when they get a bit unmanageable we ask people if they want to have a puppy. So Jet was one of the puppies. We give them all names. We’ve had some great names, there was one puppy called Golden Molasses. I rather like that. Then there was one called Brown Megs, named after a Capitol executive. They’ve all gone now. The people change the names if they don’t like them.[5]

Also confirmed by an interview with Paul Gambaccini, broadcast on BBC Radio in December 1978,[6]

However, in a 2010 interview on the UK television channel ITV1 for the programme Wings: Band on the Run (to promote the November 2010 CD/DVD re-release of the album) McCartney said that Jet was the name of a pony he had owned, although many of the lyrics bore little relation to the subject; indeed, the true meaning of the lyrics has defied all attempts at decryption.[7]

I make up so much stuff. It means something to me when I do it, and it means something to the record buyer, but if I’m asked to analyze it I can’t really explain what it is. ‘Suffragette’ was crazy enough to work. It sounded silly, so I liked it.

— –Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney: In His Own Words.[5]

In a 2017 interview on Australian radio station Triple J for the segment Take 5, McCartney said that the song was actually about his experience meeting Linda’s father:

There’s no telling where you’ll get ideas from and we happened to name this little black puppy Jet. Again I was noodling around, looking for an idea and thought that’s a good word ‘Jet’. So, I wrote the song about that. Not about the puppy, just using the name. And now it’s transformed into a sort of girl. It was kind of – a little bit about the experiences I’d had in marrying Linda. Her dad was a little old fashioned and I thought I was a little bit intimidated, as a lot of young guys can be meeting the father figure. And if the dad’s really easy-going, it makes it easy. It wasn’t bad but I was a bit intimidated, probably my fault as much as his. Anyway, the song starts to be about the sergeant major and it was basically my experience, roughly translated. I never do a song with the actual words that actually happen, because then that’s like a news story. Oh Linda, I was going to see your dad and he was intimidating. A bit boring. So, I mask it and mould it into a song, something you can sing reasonably.[8]

Recording[edit]

Whereas most of the Band on the Run album was recorded in Lagos, Nigeria, “Jet” was recorded entirely at Abbey Road Studios in London after the group’s return (according to engineer Geoff Emerick in his book Here There and Everywhere). Instrumentation used in the song includes electric guitars, bass, Moog, drums, piano, horns and strings. A closer listening reveals the Moog is used for the bass line during the verse and is simply Linda holding the root note.[9]

Release and reception[edit]

“Jet” was released as the debut single from Band on the Run in January 1974 (although in some countries, the Non-UK/US single “Mrs. Vandebilt” was released first). The single was backed with “Let Me Roll It” in Britain. When first released in America, the single’s B-side was “Mamunia,” another track from Band on the Run, but it was soon replaced with the British B-side.

The single was a Top 10 hit for Paul McCartney and Wings. It peaked at number 7 on both the British and American charts on 30 March 1974, and charted in multiple countries in Europe.[10][11] “Jet” has since been released on multiple compilation albums, including Wings Greatest (1978), All the Best! (1987), Wingspan: Hits and History (2001) and Pure McCartney (2016).

Prominent music critic Dave Marsh named the song number 793 in his list of the 1001 greatest singles ever made. He referred to it as a “grand pop confection” that represented the only time McCartney approached the “drive and density” of his tenure with the Beatles.[12] Writer Graham Reid has described it as a power pop “gem.”[2]Billboard said that the “guitar energy” and vocal performances generate “an outstanding production.”[13]Cash Box called it a “catchy number” with “distinctive guitar riffs,” a “straightforward rock beat” and “provocative lyrics.”[14]Record World called it “an overpowering smash both vocally and instrumentally.”[15]

Paul McCartney was quoted in Clash magazine that the soft rock band The Carpenters were fans of “Jet”:

I remember Richard and Karen Carpenter ringing me up to tell me about ‘Jet’ – they were like the last people on Earth I thought who’d like ‘Jet’! But they were like, ‘Oh, great record, man!’ So, you know, it was actually resonating with people.[16]

The Australian rock band Jet drew their name from the song title.[17]

Cover versions[edit]

Japanese pop power trio Shonen Knife’s cover of this song is the last track on their 2008 album Super Group. Group member Naoko Yamano said that she picked the song since she is a longtime fan of McCartney.[18][importance?]

The song was also covered live by American rock band Jellyfish, and the recording was included in their 1991 EP Jellyfish Comes Alive.

Personnel[edit]

(Jet One Hand Clapping)

(Jet Wings Over America)

References[edit]

  1. ^ “Jet”.
  2. ^ a b Graham Reid (30 June 2008). “Paul McCartney And Wings: The solo career that faltered, flew then faltered”. Elsewhere. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ Mason, Stewart. “Review of “Jet”. AllMusic.
  4. ^ Landau, Jon (21 January 1997). “Review of Band On The Run. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ a b Gambaccini, Paul. Paul McCartney: In His Own Words.
  6. ^ “Paul McCartney in conversation with Paul Gambaccini, a “Rock-On” Special discussing tracks from the Album “Wings Greatest”“. BBC Radio 2. December 1978.
  7. ^ Presenters: Dermot O’Leary (31 October 2010). “Wings: Band on the Run”. Wings: Band on the Run. ITV. ITV1. Archived from the original on 27 July 2012.{{cite episode}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  8. ^ Rowe, Zan (6 December 2017). “Paul McCartney Takes 5”. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  9. ^ Luca Perasi, Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969–2013), L.I.L.Y. Publishing, 2013, ISBN 978-88-909122-1-4, p. 113.
  10. ^ a b “Paul McCartney Charts and Awards”. AllMusic. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  11. ^ a b “Official Charts: Paul McCartney”. The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
  12. ^ Dave Marsh (1999). The heart of rock & soul: the 1001 greatest singles ever made. Da Capo Press. p. 505.
  13. ^ “Top Single Picks” (PDF). Billboard. 2 February 1974. p. 50. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  14. ^ “CashBox Record Reviews” (PDF). Cash Box. 2 February 1974. p. 42. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  15. ^ “Hits of the Week” (PDF). Record World. 2 February 1974. p. 1. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  16. ^ Harper, Simon (12 October 2010). “The Making of Paul McCartney”. Clash.
  17. ^ Maybe, Brad. “Clear For Takeoff: Jet Gets Ready To Get BornCMJ New Music Report 8 September 2003: 7
  18. ^ “J-Pop Royalty Shonen Knife Graces Mango’s This Week”. 29-95.com. Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  19. ^ “Belgian Chart”. Ultratip.be/nl. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  20. ^ “Canadian Chart”. Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  21. ^ “charts.de”. GfK Entertainment. Archived from the original on 18 July 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  22. ^ “Japanese Chart”. Nifty.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  23. ^ “Dutchcharts.nl Paul McCartney discography”. Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  24. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 4 May 1974
  25. ^ “SA Charts 1965 – March 1989”. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  26. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, March 23, 1974
  27. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (16 January 2018). “Image : RPM Weekly”. Library and Archives Canada.
  28. ^ Musicoutfitters.com
  29. ^ “Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 28, 1974”. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 26 February 2019.

External links[edit]