'Band on the Run' - the Cover Stars
Created | Updated Jun 28, 2006
The cover of Paul McCartney and Wings'1 1973 album Band on the Run featured a number of stars of the day posing with the band. In the words of Paul, this mish-mash of celebrity was 'a bit of a laugh.' It is a pastiche of a prison break with the figures caught in a searchlight. So who were these faces and what has become of them? On the sleeve, band members and guest stars are all mixed up but, from left to right, they are Michael Parkinson, Kenny Lynch, Paul McCartney, James Coburn, Clement Freud, Linda McCartney, Christopher Lee, Denny Laine and John Conteh.
Sir Paul McCartney
Paul had formed Wings after the split of The Beatles. He was getting used to being no longer part of the most successful band in the world. Wings, of course, could be nowhere near as successful as The Beatles had been, but this album restored some of Paul's rapidly-flagging credibility.
Paul went on to have a highly successful solo career and has ventured into writing classical pieces. In 1984 his first classical piece was 'Eleanor's Dream', with the 'Liverpool Oratorio' becoming his first full-length piece, followed by 'Standing Stone'. He has, however, yet to learn how to write musical notation. His 2002 tour caused controversy when he decided to recredit the old Beatles' tracks he performed, naming the main or only writer first, so that his tracks were credited McCartney/Lennon. Hence he broke the long-standing agreement that songs be credited Lennon/McCartney.
New York-born Linda Eastman was a photo journalist for Rolling Stone magazine when, in the late 1960s, she took a series of pictures of The Beatles. She fell in love with Paul and broke the hearts of many girls the world over by becoming Mrs McCartney. John Lennon also blamed her for the split-up of The Beatles.
Critics say that Linda was only a member of Wings because she was Paul's wife, although she had some musical credibility with her keyboard playing. She and Paul spent only one night of their married life apart, when he had been arrested in Japan for carrying cannabis. Together with Paul she had a family of four children.
As well as continuing with her photography she was an advocate for vegetarianism and animal rights, supporting charities such as Lynx (the UK anti-fur lobby) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Following the success of her 1989 book Linda McCartney's Home Cooking she set up her own company producing vegetarian ready meals. She died of cancer in 1998.
Denny had been in a variety of bands before teaming up with the McCartneys in Wings. Most famously he was guitarist and vocalist for The Moody Blues who, despite only releasing one album, remain famous thanks to their lyrical version of 'Go Now'2, a tune that is associated very much with the 1960s era. He was also in an early line-up of the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO).
After the incident in Japan, Wings never reunited. Paul branched out on a solo career, and so did Denny. His first effort, in a McCartneyesque moment, included his wife Jo Jo on vocals, as well as Wings drummer Steve Holly. The Denny Laine Band, as they became, only appeared on Denny's album Japanese Tears, did a tour and appeared on various TV shows - they never released an album. Several failed projects followed, along with a few solo albums, before he returned in 1994 to release four solo albums and become part of the original line-up of World Famous Rockers along with Spencer Davis (vocals, guitar), Michael Monarch (guitar), Randy Meisner (bass), Nick St Nicholas (bass) and Bruce Gary (drums3).
Coburn had been the star of several TV series, including Klondike and Acapulco in the 1960s, as well as making his film breakthrough in Our Man Flint.
He carried on performing in a number of character roles in major dramas and comedic films. He had roles in Maverick (1994) and The Nutty Professor (1998), but he crowned his acting career when he received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the 1999 film Affliction, in which he played Nick Nolte's abusive father. He died in 2002.
Conteh was a leading British light-heavyweight boxer, born, like McCartney, in Liverpool. He was one of ten children in a family that had emigrated from Sierra Leone.
He held the World Boxing Council title from 1974 to 1977. Bob Foster, who had previously held the title, refused to fight Conteh, who instead defeated Jorge Ahmunda of Argentina for the vacated title. He successfully defended his title five times, the last two came after a 15-month absence from the ring after breaking his hand on two occasions while sparring. Conteh, like his predecessor, was stripped of the title for refusing to fight. In his case he pulled out of a fight against Miguel Cuello two days before it was due to take place in Monaco.
He attempted a comeback to regain the title but, in 1979, he lost the first of his fights against Saad Muhammad on points after going the full 15 rounds. The following year he tried again, but was on the canvas five times before the referee stopped the fight in the fourth round. After this fight, he trashed his hotel room. He was living a rock star lifestyle after being an album star on a rock album. He attempted to fight on, but an irregularity was found at the base of his skull and his licence to fight was revoked.
His boxing career over, his wife divorced him for having an affair. However, the last days of his career had also suffered due to excesses of alcohol and cocaine. He turned his life around, though. He kicked both habits and started to appear on TV as a boxing commentator and guest on game shows. He has also turned his hand to acting, which, unlike Frank Bruno4, he appeared in productions other than pantomime and still pops up on shows, even after more than 20 years out of the ring.
Sir Clement Freud
Think of any famous Freud - Clement is related to them. He is a grandson of Sigmund. Clement, in his own right, was a successful broadcaster, writer and chef, and was at one time director of the Playboy Club. In 1973 he stood for the Liberal Party in the safe Conservative seat of the Isle of Ely5. He took 38% of the vote in the by-election at a seat the Liberals hadn't even contested in the 1970 general election, and he went on to defend it four times until he was defeated in 1987.
He continues to appear on the Radio 4 show Just a Minute. He has been the rector of Dundee University and in 2002 he beat Germaine Greer in the election for new rector for Scotland's oldest university at St Andrews. His autobiography plays on his family history and love of wordplay when he titled it Freud Ego.
Christopher Lee CBE
Born in 1922 to a colonel and an Italian Contessa, Lee served in the Royal Air Force and Special Forces during World War II. On being demobbed he sought employment in the film industry. He got work on stage, in opera and radio as well as having, for a period, a full-time contract with the Rank film studio. However, it was for the Hammer Horror films that he was best known, until his appearances as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and as Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Altogether he has appeared in over 250 films.
He has a number of distinctive acting credits and honours:
He is the only actor who has portrayed Sherlock Holmes and his brother Mycroft.
He executed King Charles I of England and King Louis XVI of France.
He has appeared in more sword fights in front of the camera than probably any other actor in history.
In his early career he did all of his own stunts and still attempts to do as many as possible. He is an honorary member of three stuntmen's unions.
He is the actor instantly recognisable as a vampire due to the time he spent making movies at Hammer.
The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats lists him as being the international star with the most screen credits.
He was offered the role of James Bond before Sean Connery.
Like Connery, he once played his golf off a scratch handicap6.
He is the only cousin of Ian Fleming to appear in a Bond movie - in the film The Man with the Golden Gun.
Kenny Lynch OBE
Lynch is a Stepney-born black Londoner, the youngest of 13 children. He first appeared in 1951, aged 12, with his sister, the singer Maxine Daniels. At 16 he joined Ed Nichol's band and later Bob Miller's before joining the army in 1957. 'Mountain of Love', his debut single for the HMV record label, was a hit in 1960. In 1963 he had two successive top 10 hits: 'Up On The Roof' and 'You Can Never Stop Me Loving You'.
Although the hits started to dry up, he continued to tour and perform. He also appeared on numerous TV game and variety shows. He even hosted Celebrity Squares for a while. He co-wrote the Small Faces' top ten hit 'Sha La La La Lee'. In 1983, he had a surprise chart return with a Brit-funk track 'Half The Day's Gone and We Haven't Earned a Penny on Satril'. He is still performing and recording today, as well as being involved in charity work.
Michael Parkinson CBE
Yorkshire-born 'Parkie' was the king of chatshows at the time of the release of Band on the Run. There are claims that he appeared on the sleeve on the promise of interviewing Paul on his show, though the interview finally took place in 2001. In the days when TV shut down for the night, his was the show which ended a Saturday night's entertainment at 11pm. However, he started out as a local journalist in Yorkshire, before going on to the Manchester Guardian. After that he became a feature writer for the Daily Express newspaper.
His TV career naturally started on Granada news bulletins, but his passion for sport soon came through when, in 1965, he started to write a weekly sports column in The Sunday Times. In 1969 he moved away from news on TV, presenting Granada's cinema review series. Then in 1971 he started an afternoon show - Teabreak - for Thames, which for a while he presented with his wife Mary before she took it over. The same year also saw the start of the chatshow Parkinson, which he also went on to produce in Australia. The first run finished in 1982, but he came back to the BBC in 1995 and is still producing classic Parkinson interview shows.
Between 1982 and 1995 he had returned to independent television and presented a number of chatshows as well as the long running charades game show Give Us a Clue. He continues to write for newspapers as well as appearing on radio and TV.