In an episode of the podcast McCartney: A Life in Lyrics on iHeartPodcasts, McCartney discussed "Band on the Run," the title track of Wings' third album. He acknowledged that, even before Wings began, he knew they would never be able to equal the magic of the Beatles.
"A lot of this is just happening in my own mind. It's not what anyone's telling me," he reflected. "I'm automatically thinking, 'Well, the Beatles were great, so Wings is not going to be as great.' My problem all along was: after the Beatles, who's gonna be as good as them? I kind of knew it couldn't happen."
Taking a slightly more optimistic outlook, McCartney continued, "I thought, 'Yeah, but we can be not as the Beatles, but we can be something else."
He acknowledged that it was difficult to know he could never match the heights of the Beatles, but said that he still had "reserves of courage" from the days when the Beatles toughed it out as an unknown band.
Even if Wings never reached the fame or acclaim of the Beatles, they did find success of their own. McCartney noted, "I was talking to a journalist once about Sgt. Pepper, going on about it as if he must admire it, and he said, 'Well, to tell you the truth, it was Band on the Run for me. It's more my generation.' Band on the Run was his Sgt. Pepper."
McCartney added, "That has proved to be a very interesting fact over the years — that there are some people who actually like what I did with Wings better than the Beatles. There are some people whose first thing they ever heard was 'Band on the Run' or 'Jet' or something that we did with Wings."
Hear the episode of A Life in Lyrics below.