Forty years ago this month, the city was getting ready for Mardi Gras and Paul McCartney was in New Orleans adjusting to life after the Beatles and recording a new album. McCartney — a longtime admirer of New Orleans music and musicians — came to town with his wife Linda and their band Wings. They arrived in New Orleans Jan. 16, 1975, to record the album Venus and Mars. The sessions took place at Allen Toussaint and Marshall Sehorn's Sea-Saint Studios in Gentilly. For Fat Tuesday, the McCartneys masked as clowns, as captured in well-known photos by New Orleanian Sidney Smith.
The session ended Feb. 24, 1975, and the album was released in May. In 2014, a digitally remastered version was released, including the great Mardi Gras-themed track "My Carnival." For more on the McCartneys' 1975 visit, see the new book Wings Over New Orleans: Unseen Photos of Paul and Linda McCartney, 1975 (Pelican Publishing). In it, author and musician John Taylor shares the personal photos he took of the McCartneys in New Orleans.