The musical worth of an album can partially be determined by how many times you have actually listened to it in the years it has been out, especially albums well over 20 years old. It’s also telling if you can name the songlist without having to look, even after all those years.
In view of those two criteria, London Town disappears into the large catalog of McCartney’s post-Beatles material.
London Town ended McCartney’s United States run of No. 1 albums. Band On The Run, Venus & Mars, Wings At The Speed Of Sound
and Wings Over America, released between 1974-1977, all reached number one and attained platinum status. London Town did reach No. 2 but did not have staying power and sold poorly. McCartney was so miffed by the lack of support for the LP by Capitol Records that he would leave the label for Columbia for a little while.
There was a lot going on in Paul’s life in 1978. Linda McCartney gave birth to a daughter. Jimmy McCullough and Joe English left Wings, which reduced the group to the trio again. Then there was the odd story of the single “Mull Of Kintyre” backed with “Girls School.” Released in Great Britain before London Town was released, it became the largest selling single in U. K. history and still ranks fourth.
Capitol released “Girls School” as the A-side and it quickly disappeared. Amazingly, both songs were left off the original release of London Town. They would have made London Town a much better album as they are equal to or better than all the material on the album. The 1993 CD reissue adds both of these songs as bonus tracks.
There are a few good points musically. The hit “With A Little Luck” puts McCartney’s vocals out front against a lite rock background. This is typical good McCartney but had been done many times before. The title track is an interesting combination of instruments. The keyboards are out front with brass and guitar mixed in. “I’ve Had Enough” rocks more than most of the other songs and London Town could have used more of this type.
On the other hand, Denny Laine co-wrote five of the songs and sings lead on two of them. His vocals on “Children’s Children” and “Deliver Your Children” just don’t measure up. “Backwards Traveller” had potential but is cut short, while the rest is just filler.
London Town brings to an end the first Paul McCarney solo era. McCartney takes no chances here and his effort is questionable. It all adds up to some mostly forgettable music.