Certain Songs #1448: Paul McCartney & Wings – “Jet”

Album: Band on the Run
Year: 1973

JET!

So, spoiler alert: With one exception, all of the 1970s Paul McCartney songs that I’m writing about are going to be part of the run of singles he released during that decade. (And hell, that exception was a b-side, though I really learned to love it as an album track.)

JET!

Also: while I usually try to do these things strictly chronologically, “Jet” technically wasn’t released as a single until a couple of weeks after the Band on the Run album, but I decided to write about “Jet” before I wrote about “Band on the Run” because I heard “Jet” first, as it was released as a single in early 1974, and it was probably the combined force of all three singles from Band on the Run that spurred me to buy the actual album at a time where I didn’t really have the money to buy albums.

JET!

It also had that weird, tentative opening, drums stumbling and stuttering, guitars kinda clashing against each other, Paul screaming in the background, and then all of sudden, it kicks into gear.

I can almost remember
The funny faces
That time you told me
That you were going to be marrying soon
And Jet, I thought
The only lonely place was on the moon

Like “Helen Wheels,” I was really had no idea what “Jet” was about, but what I really appreciated was the all of the stop-and-stop of the song, how it seemed to glide into gear, then almost crash back to earth without ever quite landing.

JET!

And sure, maybe it was written about one of their puppies, but there also all of these weird, mysterious Britishisms that 11-year-old Jim found kinda exotic: Sergeant Majors and Maters, hell, I might not even known what a “suffragette” was, but I kinda assumed that it was only in the song because it rhymed with “jet” and it was fun to contrast the singing of “suffragette” with the shouting of “JET!”

JET!

They were having so much fucking fun — what with the “oooooo-wwwwhoooo-ooooohs”, the piano trills, and quick synth solos, not to mention the “what she said!” — that it just utterly floored me. And not just me, as “Jet” crashed the top ten, and was an absolute staple on the radio.

JET!

“Jet”

“Jet” performed live in the studio, 1974

“Jet” performed live, 1976

“Jet” performed live at Glastonbury, 2004

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