Sept 8th 1977 - Attempted Assassination of Paul and Linda McCartney
This is a very contentious story that I didn’t include in the original post.
However with the recent re-release of “Wings Over America” and the accompanying Rockshow DVD/Blu-Ray release then perhaps it’s time to put it
In 1976 Wings were at the height of their popularity and touring the world. Paul McCartney finally returned to play live shows in America a decade
after he played his last note at Candlestick Park in 1966 with the Beatles.
The line-up of Wings had changed through the early 1970s but was arguably at a
pinnacle in 1976, with the ever present McCartneys and Denny Laine, alongside new drummer Joe English and the raw talent of young Scottish guitarist
Jimmy McCulloch in the lineup. The 1976 tour was a massive success for McCartney and Wings. However shortly after the tour Joe English departed during
the recording of the “London Town” album. Jimmy McCulloch also left Wings before the year 1977 was out, citing a desire to branch out on his
“With Wings I was virtually an employed musician, working mainly in the studio. With the birth of the McCartneys' son I realized it would
be some time before we ever toured again. And that's the side of a musician's life I like best. I left amicably. I don't think anyone was too upset
about the parting. We had some very good times together. Though Linda doesn't know much about music, she's really a nice chick. And I certainly
learned a lot over the past two years.”
Yet , it seems, that this was rather at odds with the truth. McCullough did not quite see eye to eye with
Paul McCartney. There had been arguments in the past. It also has to be pointed
out that Jimmy McCulloch was a hard drinker, used illegal drugs and was subject to violent mood swings. Although Paul McCartney and Denny Laine had
both tried to curtail those self destructive tendencies during his time with Wings, they ultimately failed.On Sept 8th 1977 the band were at the
McCartneys' farm for sessions on the “London Town” album. McCulloch resented being bossed around and finally lost it.
He decided that the accommodation was far too spartan. He had no hot water, no TV and an old stained mattress to sleep on and this annoyed him no end.
He was after all now a rock star. After consuming large amounts of Scotch, McCulloch collected his illegally obtained handgun, cleaned the barrel,
placed the gun in his coat pocket and then sometime after 11 pm stumbled out into the night. He approached the bungalow where Paul and Linda were
sleeping only to alert the dogs after tripping over his own feet in his, by now, heavily drunken state. McCullough whispered the dogs’ names to calm
them down and then continued towards an open window. He stared in at the former Beatle and his heavily pregnant wife and then lifted his loaded gun.
His finger slowly pressed on the trigger and then he began to shake. The shaking became violent and he could no longer focus. He couldn’t go through
with it and turned round and headed towards the creak on the McCartney farm. Turning the gun on himself he decided to end it all there and then just
as the lights from Denny Laine’s van filled the night skies. An exhausted and disorientated McCulloch dropped the gun. His time with Wings was
Two years later on Sept 27th 1979 Jimmy McCulloch was found dead in his London home from heart failure caused by a mix of drugs and alcohol. An
inquest held in November 1979 recorded an open verdict, leaving suspicions of foul play. None of the offending drugs in his system were found in
McCulloch’s flat. His brother Jack, who had found Jimmy’s body stated that the security chain had been broken and he felt someone had been in the
flat when his brother died. Speculation in the industry went further and hinted that someone with “a huge grudge” may have eliminated Jimmy.
clip Courtesy NME - 1979
As ever I will leave people to make their own minds up as to how much truth there is to the whole story and Jimmy's suspicious death.
Geoffery Giuliano – Blackbird, the Life and Times of Paul McCartney
Gary McGee - Band on