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How A Beatle Went Back To Basics

Paul McCartney revisits the highs and lows of his post-Beatles career -- from his musical rebirth in Wings to his 1980 arrest for drug possession -- in Wingspan, a documentary to be aired in the United States in May.

"I always thought you could not follow the Beatles," he said in a statement on Thursday. "Wingspan is the story and soundtrack of how we set out to do it."

The two-hour film, which took three years to make and was produced by the musician's photographer daughter Mary McCartney, will be broadcast around the world after its launch on American television.

Along with the film, a double CD featuring 40 songs by Wings will be released.

Wings produced a series of hits, including Band on the Run, Mull of Kintyre, which topped the British charts for nine weeks in 1977, and the James Bond theme Live and Let Die -- but many music critics felt the band was a pale successor to the Beatles.

McCartney's spokesman, Geoff Baker, said: "Among subjects being covered on television for the first time are the trauma of the break-up of The Beatles and how that led him to the brink of a breakdown."

"And for the first time Paul has revealed his experiences in prison -- when he was jailed in Tokyo in 1980 for possession of cannabis," Baker said.

The idea he and Linda had was to form a back-to-basics band. Devastated by the Beatles bust-up, McCartney felt he had to rebuild his pop career from scratch.

"Instead of arriving at stadium concerts in police-escorted limousines, Wings drove themselves to small halls unannounced and uninvited and were paid for their impromptu shows in 50 pence pieces," Baker recalled.

The film includes never-before-seen home movie footage of Paul and Linda, who died of breast cancer in 1998.

Thirty years after their break-up, Beatlemania shows no signs of dying down around the world. An anthology of their number one hit singles has topped the charts in 34 countries around the world. The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide since its release in mid-November.

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