June 1980: Paul McCartney & Wings Top U.S. Charts with "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)"

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 3: Paul McCartney of Wings performs on stage at The Lewisham Odeon on December 3rd, 1979 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Pete Still/Redferns)
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(Pete Still/Redferns)

According to Paul McCartney, his 1980 single, "Coming Up," helped inspired John Lennon to record what would become the album Double Fantasy.

RELATED: May 1980: Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder Hit #1 with "Ebony and Ivory"

"You know, I heard a story recently from a guy who used to record with John [Lennon] in New York, and he said that John would get lazy -- but then he'd hear a song of mine where he thought, 'Oh, shit, Paul's putting it in, Paul's working!'," McCartney told Billboard in 2001. "Apparently that was one song that got John recording again. I think John just thought, "Uh-oh, I better get working, too" [beams]. I thought that was a nice story."

"Coming Up" was the opening track and first single from McCartney's 1980 solo album, McCartney II: " I originally cut it on my farm in Scotland; I did a little version with just me as the nutty professor, doing everything and getting into my own world like a laboratory," the singer added to Billboard. "The absent-minded professor is what I go like when I'm doing those; you get so into yourself it's weird, crazy. But I liked it."

McCartney previewed the tune during a 1979 Wings tour of the UK, capturing a particularly electric version of the song in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 17, 1979. It was the last night of the tour.

"My personal favorite moment was playing the Glasgow Apollo, which coincided with the soccer final with Scotland and England," Wings drummer Steve Holley said in an interview. "Paul had decided that he would wrap himself in the flag of the winning team. We had the Campbeltown Pipe Band, in full kilts and regalia, underneath the stage for the performance of 'Mull of Kintyre.' That was a very excited crowd, and Scotland won that night." 

Columbia Records was so fired up about the recording that they wanted to include in on McCartney II. Paul wasn't into the idea, with McCartney II being such a personal solo project. So they met in the middle with a compromise: Columbia slipped a one-sided promo 7-inch vinyl record with Wings' live version of "Coming Up" inside original pressings of the album.

The studio version was already a #2 in the UK. Released on April 11, 1980, the live at Glasgow version of "Coming Up" raced up the Hot 100, peaking at #1 for the week of June 28, 1980, taking the spot from Lipps Inc.'s "Funkytown." "Coming Up" stayed in the #1 position for three weeks, finally falling on July 18 to Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me."

Paul and Linda McCartney made the "Coming Up" music video together, with each playing multiple roles as different members of the fictitious band, "The Plastic Macs." The band's name was an homage to the Plastic Ono Band.




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