McCartney II is the third completely solo studio album by Paul McCartney, and the first since the formation of Wings in 1971. It was released in 1980, a year before the band's dissolution and while their future lay in limbo. The album is a significant departure for McCartney, as much of it relies heavily on synthesizers and studio experimentation. It was reissued on 13 June 2011 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. The album remains a cult favourite.
After the release of what turned out to be Wings' final album, Back to the Egg, McCartney went north to his farm in Scotland to begin some private recordings in July 1979. "Check My Machine" samples dialogue from the 1957 Tweety and Sylvester cartoon Tweet Zoo. By sessions' end, he had recorded over 20 songs. With no immediate use for the recordings, he put them aside for the time being and returned to work with Wings to prepare for a UK tour that November and December. Simultaneously with the performances (which included the new "Coming Up"), McCartney released his first solo single since 1971, the Christmas-themed "Wonderful Christmastime", backed with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae", which charted at No. 6 in the UK, but only No. 83 in the U.S. The A-side was recorded during the McCartney II sessions, while its flip side had been cut in 1975. However, upcoming events were about to change McCartney's plans with Wings.
After years of visa refusals due to his past arrests for marijuana possession, Japan had finally allowed McCartney, and thus Wings, to perform. It would be McCartney's first time playing there since 1966 with the Beatles, and anticipation was running high with Wings' tour completely sold out. However, upon his arrival in Tokyo on 16 January 1980, a search of McCartney's luggage revealed a bag containing 219 grams of marijuana, prompting his immediate arrest and eventually cancelling the tour. After a nine-day jail stay, McCartney was released and returned home to his Scottish farm. Deciding to put Wings on hold while he contemplated his future, he now decided to issue his solo recordings from the previous summer.