Originally, Wings over America was to be a two-record set of highlight performances, but this was rethought due to the success of a bootleg called Wings from the Wings, released as a triple record set,[nb 1] on red, white, and blue vinyl, recorded on 23 June 1976 at The Forum, in California. This caused McCartney to redo the official release as a three-record set which was compiled from all recorded shows of the band's America leg of their world tour that spring, of which, McCartney listened to all of the tapes and selected five of the best performances of the whole 28-song set list. McCartney chose and mixed the final set of recordings after six weeks of listening during October–November 1976, after having spent September and October repeatedly performing. Numerous songs, however, were taken from the 23 June 1976 show. "Soily" was recorded on 7 June 1976 at McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. Some recordings, however, received studio overdubs. Wings' drummer, Joe English, said that the "overdubs were necessary because of people singing out of tune".
Wings over America was another success for Wings, reaching number 1 in the US[nb 2] in early 1977 (the last in a five-album stretch of consecutive number 1 albums for the band) and number 8 in the UK.[nb 3] For the five Beatles songs included, McCartney elected to reverse the songwriting credit to McCartney–Lennon. According to a Salon.com article written in 2003 – by which point McCartney had controversially reversed the traditional Lennon–McCartney credit on his recently released Back in the U.S. live album – neither John Lennon nor his wife Yoko Ono publicly "voiced a word of disapproval about it".Wings over America was issued six months after the end of the tour, and went on to sell 4 million copies in the US alone. The album was the first triple set by a group to reach number 1, and was a critical success. The album was re-pressed in January 1977.[nb 4] "Maybe I'm Amazed" was released as a single, on 4 February 1977, peaking at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US,[nb 5] and at number 28 on the UK chart.[nb 6] There are two related items to the album: the TV documentary Wings Over the World and the Seattle show that was filmed and released as the film Rockshow. Both of which, however, were released 3 years and 4 years, respectively, after the album.
Wings Over America was issued as a double-compact disc in 1984 on Columbia.[nb 7] The album was first released in the UK on compact disc on 26 May 1987 by Parlophone.[nb 8] The album, along with McCartney's Ram and Tug of War albums, was reissued in the US on compact disc on 18 January 1988.[nb 9] The album was issued by EMI two more times on CD, in 1989[nb 10] and on 19 February 1990.[nb 11] A 1999 reissue of the album by Toshiba-EMI in Japan reinstated the three-disc format from the original LP issue, and is the only edition of the album to do this.[nb 12] Up to this point, the Japanese CD edition was the only one that was remastered. On 14 April 2008, the album was released as a digital download on both iTunes and Amazon. It was removed for some time off of digital music sites in 2010 and 2011, but as of August 2011 it is available for sale on iTunes. The album was reissued on 27 May 2013 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection.Rockshow was also reissued, this time on DVD and Blu-ray, with its audio remixed into 5.1, on 10 June 2013.
Wings over America was reissued in several packages:
Standard Edition 2-CD; the original 28-track album
Remastered vinyl 3-LP version of the Standard Edition
Deluxe Edition Box Set 3-CD/1-DVD; the original 28-track album, a bonus tracks disc, DVD of the TV documentary Wings Over the World, 112-page book, assorted memorabilia, 60-page photograph book, 80-page sketch book and download link to all of the material
Denny Laine – lead vocals on "Spirits of Ancient Egypt", "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)," "Richard Cory," "Time to Hide", and "Go Now" and backing vocals, acoustic, electric and bass guitars, piano, keyboards, percussion, harmonica
Jimmy McCulloch – lead vocals on "Medicine Jar" and backing vocals; acoustic, electric and bass guitars