It seems crazy to say, but Paul McCartney's first choice for Wings' guitarist turned him down cold. Renowned studio guitarist Hugh McCracken chose session life over a spot in the inaugural line up in Wings. Both McCracken and Wings' co-founding drummer Denny Seiwell were McCartney's key musicians during the 1971 Ram sessions, which have just been reissued in several deluxe packages.
Seiwell, who was with McCartney from the fall of 1970 through the summer of 1973, recalled how McCracken turned down a gig with the most famous musician on the planet: "We went to Scotland twice. The first time was summer, I'm pretty sure. Paul invited us over for a vacation, and my wife and I just flew over from New York to Scotland. And Hugh McCracken was finishing up a tour with Gary Wright -- and he was in Europe -- so we all met in Scotland. And that's when he said, 'Y'know, I'm thinkin' of puttin' a band together.' Hughie and Holly, his wife, were there and they weren't into it. His studio career was doing really well at that time. And his wife Holly didn't want to leave, she was an actress and a model and she didn't wanna leave New York."
- Ram, which was released on May 17th, 1971, was the first solo Beatles album recorded in New York City, and was co-billed to his late first wife, Linda McCartney.
- Among the highlights on Ram are McCartney's first solo chart-topper "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," "Too Many People," Ram On," "Dear Boy," "Heart Of The Country," "Eat At Home," and "The Back Seat Of My Car," among others.
- Also recorded during the Ram sessions was McCartney's first solo single, the 1971 Top Five hit, "Another Day."
- Hugh McCracken replaced original studio guitarist Dave Spinozza, who McCartney let go, due to leaving several sessions early for other jobs.
- Shortly after passing on Wings, McCracken went on to play on John Lennon's 1971 single, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." He was also a part of Lennon's final band, which recorded his 1980 works found on the Double Fantasy and Milk And Honey albums. McCracken is featured on such classics as "(Just Like) Starting Over," "Woman," "Watching The Wheels," "Beautiful Boy," and "Nobody Told Me."
- Over the years, McCracken has recorded with such legends as B.B. King, Paul Simon, Roberta Flack, Billy Joel, Dr. John, and Steely Dan, among many others.
CHECK IT OUT: The new Deluxe Edition of Ram:
CHECK IT OUT: McCartney on his Scottish farm dealing with nosy reporters in 1969:
Denny Seiwell On Being In Scotland With Paul McCartney And Hugh McCracken
Read another interview at Ultimate Classic Rock