Q Magazine

Paul McCartney Credits Johnny Cash as Inspiration for Wings

'I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he's doing it,' McCartney told MOJO in a recent interview.

Source: News Licensing/MEGA

Cash gave McCartney's Wings flight.

Link to FacebookShare to XShare to Email

In a new interview, Paul McCartney says his decision to form Wings to help him get over the hurdle of the Beatles break-up was partly inspired by seeing Johnny Cash on television late one night.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: CC BY-SA 3.0

"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

Speaking to MOJO, McCartney recalled a moment while relaxing at home with his wife Linda, when they caught Cash on a show featuring longtime collaborator Carl Perkins.

"Johnny Cash came on the telly with a new band he’d formed with Carl Perkins, a big hero of mine. There they were, playing with some country musicians I had never heard of, looking like they were having fun. I thought: here’s Johnny, he’s back, he's doing it. So I turned to Linda and said: Do you want to form a band? And she went: 'Sure.'"

The show the McCartneys saw could have been during the run of The Johnny Cash Show, which he hosted from June 1969 to March 1971. Among the guests during a March 1970 episode were the Statler Brothers and Carl Perkins. At that time, Perkins was certainly no stranger to McCartney. He had been a musical influence on the Beatles from early on and as legend prevails, was present during the 1964 recording sessions for his compositions "Matchbox" and "Honey Don't."

Article continues below advertisement
Source: Public Domain

Do not step on his blue suede shoes! Carl Perkins, early 1960s.

Cash, a country superstar, had accumulated crossover appeal by this juncture and was approached to host his own variety show due to the popularity of his live albums, 1968's At Folsom Prison and 1969's At San Quentin. The show enjoyed a successful run, bringing together a myriad of performers, some whom had rarely or never been seen on television, such as Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Cash may have been part of the country music establishment at that point, but his outlier, outlaw persona gave him voice to musicians that bucked the system, including Bob Dylan (a guest on his first show) and Kris Kristofferson.

Cash gave a devastating rendition of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" from his final non-posthumous studio album American IV: The Man Comes Around before his death on September 12, 2003.

Article continues below advertisement
Source: ℗ © 2002 American Recording Company, LLC/YouTube

Johnny Cash - Hurt

McCartney went on to form that band he spoke to Linda about. After gathering up guitarist Denny Laine and session drummer Denny Seiwell (who had worked on Ram), Wings' debut album Wild Life was released in December 1971.


Subscribe to our newsletter

your info will be used in accordance with our privacy policy

Read More