Paul McCartney Drew Some Inspiration From The Beatles For His Band On The Run Cover

By the time Paul McCartney's post-Beatles band Wings were ready to shoot the cover for their third album "Band on the Run" in 1973, they'd had some major problems. The band lost two members and had the demo tapes of the recording sessions stolen at knifepoint while making the album in Lagos, Nigeria. But when they got to the mixing phase, McCartney believed the album was shaping up into "something special," according to "Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings."

The album cover needed to be just as special. McCartney came up with the idea for the cover art that would hark back to a seminal Beatles album featuring one of the most iconic images in the history of rock 'n' roll and was named the greatest album cover of all time in a 2011 Rolling Stone readers poll — "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Down to only three members ahead of the album's release, McCartney shot the album cover with a little help from his friends. 

A lark without a plan

Deciding who would appear on the cover of the Beatles' 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which featured images and wax figures of more than 50 famous people, from W. C. Fields to Karl Marx, was a weeks-long process, according to Gary McGee's 2003 book "Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings." For "Band on the Run" Paul McCartney didn't have any detailed plans.

The Wings' cover features the three members of the band at the time — Paul McCartney, his wife Linda McCartney, and guitarist Denny Laine — and several other people pretending to be escaped convicts caught in the act by a bright spotlight. They held the photoshoot on Oct. 23, 1973, at Osterley Park, an 18th-century country estate in Isleworth, London, England, per The Paul McCartney Project. Not that you'd know, since the cover only shows a bit of the mansion's brickwork. McCartney invited the six other people to appear on the album cover "just for a lark," he told McGee for his 2003 book.

Famous faces and an infamous one

Unlike the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's cover, the six people who appeared on the Wings' cover aren't as iconic, but still recognizable to many. McCartney included actors Christopher Lee and James Coburn, singer Kenny Lynch, boxer John Conteh, BBC television broadcaster Michael Parkinson, and Clement Freud, a chef, radio personality, grandson of Sigmund Freud, and a member of the British Parliament, per "The Beatles Diary Volume 2: After The Break-Up 1970-2001."

Lee, who played Count Dracula in several hit movies by the time of the photoshoot, is best known today for his roles in two massive film franchises, "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings," per Britannica. Coburn's 50-year film included action movies and westerns such as "The Magnificent Seven" and "Our Man Flint," according to TCM. The singer-songwriter Lynch was one of only a few people of Caribbean origin to have a hugely successful entertainment career in the U.K. during the 1960s and 1970s, with chart-topping records and appearances on television and in film, per The Guardian. Conteh, besides being a champion middleweight and light-heavyweight boxer, also had a film career, per the National Portrait Gallery. Parkinson is one of Britain's best-known talk show hosts, according to BFI Screenonline. And their other claim to fame — appearing on the cover of Wings' most successful album, per UDiscover Music.

Alternately, Freud's fame turned to infamy after his death in 2009. Accusations began surfacing accusing him of pedophilia, per the Independent