Paul McCartney and Wings could hardly have been hotter when their second single from the Venus and Mars album, ‘Letting Go,’ entered the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of 4 October 1976.
Both the LP itself and its first single, the jaunty, feelgood track ‘Listen To What The Man Said,’ had topped the US chart, and the album had also gone to No. 1 in the UK and several other European countries. By now, the band were on the mammoth Wings Over The World tour, which stretched across the globe over some 14 months and spawned the triple live album Wings Over America, as well as a movie release and TV film.
‘Letting Go’ was one of the first songs recorded for Venus and Mars, recorded at Abbey Road Studios with Geoff Britton during his short tenure as drummer. Written, as was all the album, by Paul and his wife Linda, the brooding track was in great contrast to its upbeat predecessor as a single. Billboard’s review picked up on the track’s “vaguely ominous minor chord progression.”
Although it was the highest new entry on that American chart at No. 74, the Capitol single ran out of steam at No. 39, just three weeks later. In the UK, it peaked just the other side of the top 40, at No. 41. The third single from the album, the medley of ‘Venus and Mars/Rock Show,’ fared considerably better, hitting No. 12 in the US.
‘Letting Go’ still often features in McCartney’s live set, and in 2014, it was covered by Heart for the various artists tribute album The Art Of McCartney. A previously unreleased mix of the song was made available as a free download via the BBC radio station 6 Music the same year.
‘Letting Go’ is on Venus and Mars, which can be bought here.
Follow the official Paul McCartney & Wings playlist.