Sir Paul McCartney on stage in Prague, June 6 2004
Birth name James Paul McCartney
Born June 18, 1942
Origin Liverpool, England
Genre(s) Rock and Roll, Pop
Occupation(s) Singer/songwrite r, multi-instrumentalist
Instrument(s) Bass Guitar, Vocals, Piano, Organ, Guitar, Drums, Percussion
Years active 1957 – present
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born June 18, 1942) is an English singer, instrumentalist and songwriter, who first came to prominence as a member of The Beatles.
Recognised as an icon of the 20th century, McCartney is listed in The Guinness Book Of Records as the most successful composer in popular music history. He has a record twenty-nine U.S. #1 singles, twenty of them with The Beatles, the rest with Wings and as a solo artist. McCartney has written or has co-writing credit on over 50 top ten hits, more than any other songwriter, and has been an influential bassist as well as an accomplished singer, guitarist, pianist, and drummer. With The Beatles, he was one half of the highly successful songwriting team credited as Lennon/McCartney, along with fellow bandmate John Lennon. Their compositions for The Beatles remain among the best known songs in rock and pop music. The most notable of The Beatles’ songs generally attributed to McCartney alone include “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Yesterday”, “Hello Goodbye”, “Penny Lane”, “Hey Jude”, and “Let It Be”.
Following the break-up of The Beatles in 1970, McCartney launched a successful solo career and formed the band Wings, scoring 30 top ten singles in the United Kingdom and United States. The keyboardist for Wings was McCartney’s late wife, Linda McCartney. At the time of its release in 1977, the Wings single “Mull of Kintyre” became the highest selling record in British chart history (and remained so until 1984). McCartney has also worked in the fields of classical music (with works such as Liverpool Oratorio) and ambient/electronic music (under the pseudonym The Fireman).
Aside from his musical work, McCartney is a painter (although until recently he kept his artwork private) and a strong advocate for animal rights, landmine action, vegetarianism, and music education.Contents [hide]
James Paul McCartney was born at Walton Hospital in northern Liverpool, where his mother had worked as a nurse, and where his brother, Michael McCartney (also a performer, whose stage name is Mike McGear), was born a year later. He was baptised a Catholic, but otherwise raised non-denominationally; his mother was a Roman Catholic and his father was a Protestant. His father, James McCartney, was a self-taught pianist, and dance-band leader who encouraged his son to be musical. The elder McCartney gave his son a trumpet, which was largely abandoned when he learned it would put a callus on his upper lip — and after he realized that it is impossible to sing and play a trumpet at the same time. Later, when skiffle music became popular, McCartney swapped the trumpet at Rushworth and Dreapers (the largest musical instrument suppliers on Merseyside at the time) for a £15 Zenith acoustic guitar which he still has. The early death of his mother Mary from breast cancer, on October 31, 1956 when he was 14, was a formative influence on the boy’s life. It later created an additional bond between him and John Lennon, whose mother Julia Lennon died on July 15, 1958 when Lennon was 17. Both McCartney and Lennon found some solace from their grief in music.
Paul McCartney claims Irish heritage on both sides of his family. McCartney’s great-grandfather, James McCartney, was born in Ireland (some sources suggest his grandfather, James McCartney II, was as well). His mother’s father, Owen Mohin, was born in 1880 in Tullynamalrow, County Monaghan, Ireland, and his mother’s mother, Mary Theresa Danher, was a Glaswegian of Irish descent. Accordingly, Paul McCartney has five-eighths Irish ancestry.
Role in The Beatles
Paul McCartney first met John Lennon at a church picnic on July 6, 1957, and was invited to join Lennon’s band The Quarrymen as a guitarist. McCartney’s schoolmate, George Harrison, joined soon after as a third guitarist, followed by the addition of Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Pete Best joined on drums, rounding out the original lineup of the band. McCartney took over bass guitar duties in the early 1960s, when Lennon and Harrison declined following the departure of Sutcliffe. Ringo Starr replaced Best as drummer in 1962 to complete The Beatles’ final line-up.
McCartney formed a close working relationship with Lennon and they collaborated on many, although only working ‘eyeball to eyeball’ (as Lennon had called it) in the early years of the band. Out of all The Beatles compositions, it is claimed only 27 were composed by both equally. Typically, one would write most or part of a song and the other would finish it, incorporate it into another song or suggest useful changes. Due to an early agreement between the two, all Beatles songs written by either of them are credited to both — this came about because John Lennon liked the idea of “Lennon & McCartney”, echoing the songwriting credit of Leiber & Stoller, the songwriters whose names appeared on many of the records they owned from the 1950s. McCartney initially wanted it to be McCartney/Lennon, because he (naturally) thought it sounded better, but was ultimately convinced otherwise. However, very early copies of The Beatles’ first official single, “Love Me Do”, are credited to McCartney – Lennon.
One of McCartney’s most famous songs, covered by over 2,500 artists, is “Yesterday”. McCartney claims the melody came to him in a dream, and was not sure for some time that the melody was original. McCartney once said that the original, provisional lyrics were ‘Scrambled eggs / Oh my baby how I love your legs’. He played the melody to many people to see if they recognised it, because he was sure that he had subconsciously ‘borrowed’ it from somewhere.
McCartney in February 1964, arriving in the US to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show
During the early years of The Beatles’ recording career, McCartney developed rapidly as an artist. He was heavily influenced by Buddy Holly and Little Richard and Little Richard’s trademark high-pitched ‘wooo’, which he used prominently as a musical punctuation on early songs like “From Me To You”.
McCartney became one of the most creative and influential rock bassists of his time, elevating the electric bass from back-row obscurity to prominence, inspiring many to take up the instrument. By 1965 McCartney was pressuring the engineers at EMI to get a better bass sound on Beatles recordings, frustrated by the relatively weak sound on their earlier records. His bass-playing and writing during The Beatles’ most creative phase in 1965 – 67 was heavily influenced by the work of American producer-composer Brian Wilson, leader of The Beach Boys, whose classic album Pet Sounds set new standards for recording and featured bass parts unprecedented in pop music. As a result of hearing Wilson’s work, McCartney began to pay increasing attention to both the sound and arrangement of his bass lines, often taking advantage of Abbey Road’s new multi-track tape decks to re-record more complex parts after the basic tracks had been laid down.
It is now generally accepted that McCartney was the motivator for much of The Beatles’ later work. In the later part of The Beatles’ career, McCartney wrote such enduring favourites as “Hey Jude”, “Let It Be”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. After the band retired from touring in mid-1966, Lennon, Harrison and Starr retreated to secure country estates in the so-called ‘stockbroker belt’, well outside of London. However, McCartney continued to live in the city, first in a house in the centre of town, and then at a larger property in St John’s Wood, a short distance from Abbey Road Studios. He was often seen at major cultural events such as the launch party for the International Times at The Roundhouse (which he attended in disguise). He also avidly delved into the visual arts, becoming a close friend of leading art dealers and gallery owners, explored experimental film, and regularly attended movie, theatrical and classical music performances.
McCartney was the main creative force for the “mature” middle Beatles period projects including the concept for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the film and record of Magical Mystery Tour, and the suite of songs that closes the album Abbey Road. According to many polls and critics, Sgt Pepper is widely regarded as the most important rock album of all time.
McCartney was the first Beatle to record an outside project, composing (with George Martin) a score for the 1966 feature film The Family Way, starring British actress Hayley Mills. The soundtrack was later released as an album, and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme. He also wrote and produced several successful recordings for other artists, and on some of these outside productions he worked under a pseudonym, reflecting his enduring fascination with disguises and aliases.
In May 1967, McCartney met Linda Eastman, an American photographer, at the launch party for the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. McCartney and Eastman soon began an affair — however, McCartney had been dating actress Jane Asher for about five years. On Christmas Day, 1967, Asher accepted a marriage proposal from McCartney, despite McCartney’s blossoming affair with Eastman. Asher broke off the engagement in July 1968, and the couple split for good in December 1968. McCartney and Eastman married soon thereafter, at a small civil ceremony at Marylebone Registry Office on March 12, 1969, while he was still a member of The Beatles. He adopted Linda’s daughter from her first marriage, Heather (born 1962) and they went on to have three other children together: Mary (born in 1969, and named after his late mother), Stella (born in 1971), and James Louis (born in 1977, and named after McCartney’s late father, who had died in 1976). The McCartneys would remain married and devoted to each other until Linda McCartney’s death from breast cancer in 1998; among The Beatles, McCartney was the last to marry and the only member whose first marriage didn’t end in divorce. The McCartneys reportedly spent less than a week apart during their entire marriage, interrupted only by Paul’s brief incarceration in Tokyo on drug charges in 1981.
Although he was not the first Beatle to take LSD, McCartney was the first British pop star to openly admit to using it, and his frank revelation during a newspaper interview in the early summer of 1967 made headlines around the world. In a famous interview, broadcast nationally on BBC TV on June 19, 1967, McCartney was again asked about his LSD use, and his answer was impressive for its clarity:
I was asked a question by a newspaper, and the decision was whether to tell a lie or tell him the truth. I decided to tell him the truth… but I really didn’t want to say anything, you know, because if I had my way I wouldn’t have told anyone. I’m not trying to spread the word about this. But the man from the newspaper is the man from the mass medium. I’ll keep it a personal thing if he does too, you know… if he keeps it quiet. But he wanted to spread it so it’s his responsibility, you know, for spreading it, not mine.
In spite of his statements then, and later admissions that he also used cocaine regularly at that time, McCartney was fortunate to be one of the few leading British pop stars who did not fall foul of the Drug Squad as did Lennon, Harrison and many other friends including The Rolling Stones and Donovan.
End of The Beatles
In 1969, despite obvious signs that the band was falling apart, he attempted to convince The Beatles to return to the stage, suggesting the project Get Back, which evolved into their valedictory film and album Let It Be. Although McCartney hoped it might revive them, the film made it obvious that the band was done as a creative force and that bickering, jealousy and the pressures of being The Beatles had driven the four musicians apart. Regardless of the internal strife, the band retained their popularity, and the public’s interest in them was only intensified in late 1969 when an urban legend was started that McCartney died and was secretly replaced in 1966 by one William Campbell, or possibly Billy Shears. It was believed Brian Epstein was replaced too, but the whole conspiracy turned out to be false. This hoax is still a popular topic throughout cyberspace, and has been the subject of no less than five books.
Although Starr had briefly quit in 1968, and Harrison had done likewise (prompting John Lennon’s infamous quote “Fuck ‘im. We’ll get Clapton”) in 1969, it was Lennon who was the first to leave and not return, between August and September of 1969. McCartney publicly announced the break-up on April 10, 1970, a week before releasing his first solo album, McCartney, which featured a press release inside with a self-written interview explaining the end of The Beatles and his hopes about the future. The band was legally dissolved after McCartney filed a lawsuit on December 31, 1970.
By this time Lennon and McCartney’s friendship had been eroded by years of friction and rivalry; they were reconciled to some extent before Lennon’s death on December 8, 1980.
Early solo career
As The Beatles broke up in 1970, McCartney launched a solo career with his album McCartney, on which he played all the instruments and sang all the vocals, except for some backing vocals from his wife Linda. While some found this record underwhelming (including Lennon, in an interview), it did contain “Maybe I’m Amazed”, which has remained a centrepiece of McCartney’s concerts ever since. Another successful track was “Every Night”, which was later a hit for singer Phoebe Snow. The simplicity of the album later became a touchstone for the lo-fi movement of the 1990s. McCartney chose to release the album close to the planned release date of The Beatles’ Let It Be, contributing to some discord with the other group members.
McCartney followed his debut album in 1971 with the stand-alone single “Another Day/Oh Woman, Oh Why”, the former of which, to some, recalled the observational style of his mid-period Beatles work. The album Ram, also issued in 1971, was credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney, and featured back-up from, for the most part, studio musicians. While both the single and album were commercially popular, detractors viewed them as largely insubstantial. Time has treated the album kindly, however, and it is now considered one of McCartney’s finest post-Beatles works. The album’s artwork included a picture of two beetles copulating — a possible hint at McCartney’s feelings toward his previous group. The album also contained some apparent references to Lennon, notably in the song “Too Many People” (‘Too many people preaching practices, don’t let ‘em tell you what you wanna be’); later that year, Lennon responded with the famously scathing “How Do You Sleep?” on his album Imagine; the end of 1971 saw the McCartney song “Dear Friend” appear, on Wild Life, the first album released by Wings. Wild Life amounted to a Wings audition, and its rustic feel made McCartney sound polished.
McCartney famously insisted that his wife should be involved with his music and later tour in his bands so they did not have to be apart while he travelled in spite of her protests that she was not talented enough. After hearing her sing, many seconded her opinion, but McCartney’s move was clearly a deliberate act, intended to help dispel some of the lingering Beatles mystique and prove his assertion that ‘anyone can do it’. Despite persistent attacks on her ability – including one infamous and possibly faked 1990s bootleg concert tape in which her out-of-tune vocals were deliberately mixed to the fore – Linda McCartney became a valuable member of her husband’s band and an inspiring musician throughout the remainder of her life. (In many ways this paralleled the role that Yoko Ono played in Lennon’s post-Beatles musical life, just as there would be organisational similarities between Wings and Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band).
McCartney featured on the cover of Time Magazine; May 31, 1976
Main article: Wings (band)
Briefly, after an uneven start and despite many personnel changes, Wings became one of the most successful 1970s rock bands, hitting its cinematic apex in 1973 with one of the best-remembered Bond theme songs, “Live and Let Die”; its critical apex at the end of 1973 with the highly acclaimed album Band on the Run; and its commercial apexes in 1976 with a wildly popular world tour and in 1977 with one of the best-selling British singles of all time, “Mull of Kintyre”.
While McCartney continued to have a steady stream of hits through the ’70s and into the ’80s, his critics became increasingly harsh, often calling him a sell-out. (Lester Bangs was particularly scathing.) Punk rock musicians singled out McCartney in particular as irrelevant and boring; when Johnny Rotten learned that Elvis Presley had just died, he remarked in a Rolling Stone interview that it was unfortunate it wasn’t McCartney instead.) In response, McCartney had many positive things to say about the punks.
Solo again: 1980s
The 1980s started on an ominous note for McCartney. On January 16, 1980, McCartney and Wings came to Tokyo for a series of 11 concerts in Japan. While going through customs at Narita Airport, officials found 7.7 ounces (218.3 gms) of marijuana in McCartney’s luggage. He was arrested and taken to a Tokyo corrections facility while the Japanese government tried to decide what to do. McCartney had been denied a visa to Japan in 1975 because he had been convicted twice in Europe for possession of marijuana, so it was surprising that he brought some to Tokyo. While Japan customarily deported foreigners who brought small amounts of marijuana into the country, some public figures called for a jury trial of McCartney for drug smuggling – if convicted, he would have faced up to seven years in prison. The other members of Wings cancelled the tour and left Japan. After nine days in jail, McCartney was released without charge and deported; he was told that he would not be welcome again in Japan for quite some time to come.
After they left Japan, McCartney put Wings on hiatus. While he thought about what he should do next, he released McCartney II in May 1980. McCartney II had been recorded during the summer of 1979, between the release of Wings’ Back to the Egg and the start of their tour. The album was an intriguing update of the recording approach he used ten years earlier for his eponymous debut, playing every instrument himself, with an emphasis on synthesisers this time instead of acoustic guitars. “Coming Up” was the only single from this album; a live version of “Coming Up” hit #1 in the U.S.
Wings resumed activity in the fall of 1980 and had recorded several tracks for a new album, but everything stopped in December when McCartney woke up one morning to hear that John Lennon had been murdered in New York City the night before. Lennon’s death caused an outpouring of grief around the world and a media frenzy around the surviving members of The Beatles. When McCartney was surrounded by reporters, he merely sighed, “It’s a drag, isn’t it?”. When publicized, it outraged many people – in his defense, however, the comment came as McCartney was hemmed in by dozens of reporters as he tried to leave a recording studio on the morning he first got the news of Lennon’s death. In an interview published in Rolling Stone’s 20th anniversary issue, McCartney insisted he had intended no disrespect whatsoever and simply could not say more, given the shock and sadness he felt over Lennon’s murder.
Wings never resumed recording after Lennon’s death. McCartney set about recording his next album with Beatles producer George Martin, who has produced off and on for McCartney since. The first result, 1982′s Tug of War, was a major success. “Ebony and Ivory”, recorded with soul legend Stevie Wonder, was a big hit, and the album also included his moving eulogy to Lennon, “Here Today”.
Tug of War (1982)
Also in 1982, McCartney scored two huge hits with duet singles: and “The Girl is Mine”, recorded with emerging pop megastar Michael Jackson. Another successful McCartney-Jackson duet, “Say Say Say” was released in 1983 from the Pipes of Peace album. The title song made the top of the charts in the United Kingdom. He then wrote and starred in the 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street, which included a role for Tracey Ullman. The film and soundtrack featured the U.S. and UK top ten hit “No More Lonely Nights”. The film, however, did not do well at the box office or with critics.
McCartney’s friendship with Jackson was short-lived. Not long afterward, Jackson paid a huge sum to acquire the Northern Songs catalogue, which included the publishing rights to most of The Beatles’ songs. For many years, McCartney has been openly bitter about this; when he appeared on NBC’s Later in the late ’80s, Bob Costas asked McCartney how much he was annoyed to hear Beatles songs used in commercials. McCartney’s succinct reply: “A lot.” Nonetheless, in recent years McCartney has made it clear that he does not wish to have the catalogue back. According to Contact Music , McCartney said, “I do get some cash from the publishing already. And in a few years more of the rights will automatically be reverting to me. The only annoying thing is when I tour America, I have to pay to play some of my own songs.”
In the mid-1980s, while making a home movie reminiscing about his days as a schoolboy, McCartney discovered that the 1837 building which had once been his old school was derelict. He purchased it, and pursued a dream he had always had of helping his home town of Liverpool in some way. January 1996 saw the dedication of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, of which Paul is the lead patron. On June 7, 1996, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the building.
McCartney’s career hit some bumps in the mid-1980s. Following the commercial failure of the film Give My Regards to Broad Street, McCartney would follow up with 1986′s Press to Play. While the reviews were positive, this would become McCartney’s weakest-selling album to date. Realising he needed to re-evaluate things, in the late 1980s, McCartney began a songwriting partnership with Elvis Costello. The resulting songs would appear on several albums by both artists. The best known of these are the 1989 hit “Veronica”, from Costello’s album Spike, and “My Brave Face”, a modest hit from McCartney’s album Flowers in the Dirt.
During 1989 – 1990 McCartney staged a major, year-long world tour, in which for the first time he included a substantial number of Beatles songs in the set list. “The Paul McCartney World Tour” was a huge success, filling arenas and stadiums at each stop, and was documented by the album Tripping the Live Fantastic. Costello had also gotten McCartney to unearth his iconic Höfner violin-shaped bass guitar from Beatles days; besides being used on records again, it became a familiar sight on stage — a visual link to the past.
Following the release of the album Off the Ground, the similarly-scaled New World Tour took place in 1993. The live album capturing this tour, Paul Is Live, parodied the famous “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy of the late ’60s in both the title and cover art, the latter of which showed McCartney walking across the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing on his own, wearing shoes — once again showing his willingness to acknowledge his Beatles past. (The dog with him is a descendant of Martha, his pet sheepdog from The Beatles years, and the inspiration for the song “Martha, My Dear” from The Beatles’ White Album.)
McCartney and his wife became outspoken vegetarians and animal-rights activists. McCartney says their vegetarian instincts were realised when they happened to see lambs frolicking in a field as they ate a meal of lamb. In 1991, Linda introduced her own line of vegetarian meals to the general market. After Linda’s death in 1998, Paul pledged to continue her line of food and keep it free from genetically modified organisms.
In 1991, McCartney made his first complete foray into classical music, collaborating with Carl Davis to compose the quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio. This was received well in general, although many commented that the music lacked the complexity normally associated with the genre. Liverpool Oratorio had its North American premiere in Carnegie Hall in New York on 18 November 1991 with Davis conducting and both McCartneys in attendance.
In 1995, the three remaining Beatles — McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — finally reunited to release the first of three albums entitled The Beatles Anthology, consisting of alternative takes and live recordings of Beatles songs; the second and third volumes were released in 1996. They also created two new Beatles songs, “Free As A Bird” (1995) and “Real Love” (1996) by layering new music on unfinished tracks Lennon had made before his death fifteen years earlier.
In the late 1990s, McCartney was involved in a feud with John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono. Their dispute centred on the writing credits for a number of Beatles songs. He had wanted to change the credits from the traditional Lennon/McCartney to ‘Paul McCartney and John Lennon’ for songs that McCartney had primarily composed. Ono was offended by this move, which she felt broke an agreement that the two had made while Lennon was still alive to credit songs as a team. However, McCartney has stated, to the contrary, that he and Lennon agreed the credits could be inverted, if so desired, in future endeavours. The two other Beatles agreed that the credits should remain as they always had been, and McCartney withdrew his request.
On 11 March 1997, McCartney was knighted (Knight Bachelor) by Queen Elizabeth II.
On 17 April 1998, McCartney’s wife Linda died after a prolonged bout with breast cancer, the same illness that had claimed McCartney’s mother decades before.
“Elvis McCartney”, drawn by Klaus Voormann, from the album Run Devil Run (1998)
Run Devil Run was released in 1999 to positive reviews. In the same year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist (having already been inducted with the rest of The Beatles in 1988).
In 1997 he had made his second venture into classical music with Standing Stone, a work that received a mixed response. In 1999 he released Working Classical, a collection of shorter pieces and pop songs redone for string quartet or orchestra.
McCartney is also a visual artist. For more than 17 years, he has been a committed painter, finding in his work on canvas both a respite from the world and another outlet for his drive to create. His painting has generally been a private endeavour. In April 1999, however, he exhibited his work for the first time in Siegen, Germany, where it met with acclaim, leading to his decision to share the work in galleries across the UK.
He is also a fan of animation, having released Tropic Island Hum, a DVD compilation of various short animationed films he has made over the years.
In 2000, McCartney published A Garland for Linda, a classical tribute album for Linda with collaborations of composers.
DVD cover of Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait (2001)
In 2001, McCartney released Wingspan: Hits and History, an updated best-hits collection of music from his band Wings, accompanied by a DVD, Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait, a visual history of the band released later in the year.
Also in 2001 McCartney published Blackbird Singing, a volume of poems, some of which were lyrics to his songs, and gave readings at Liverpool and New York, the selections being serious (“Here Today”, about John Lennon) and humourous (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”). In the same year, he contributed to an album titled Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records, which included a version of the Elvis Presley hit “That’s All Right (Mama)” recorded with Presley musicians Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana.
On 20 October 2001, McCartney took a lead role in organising The Concert For New York City, a celebration of the resilience and pride of New York and America in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The concert was held at Madison Square Garden and featured performances by The Who, the Backstreet Boys, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Destiny’s Child, Eric Clapton, Adam Sandler, Bon Jovi, Elton John, James Taylor and many more. McCartney was the final performer, and debuted his song “Freedom”, written in response to the attacks.
McCartney continues to release pop albums (such as 1997′s Flaming Pie, 2001′s Driving Rain, and 2005′s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard), as well as campaign for the groups Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among others.
McCartney suffered another great loss when his longtime friend and ex-Beatles’ lead guitarist George Harrison succumbed to cancer in November 2001; McCartney had told Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Today and Extra about George being the “baby brother” in The Beatles. Just before his death, Harrison spent his last days with Paul at McCartney’s home (though many believed that he died over at a friend’s house that Harrison had lived in). On November 29, 2002, on the first anniversary of Harrison’s death, McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, Joe Brown, Jools Holland, Sam Brown, Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, among many others attended the Concert For George at the Royal Albert Hall in London, whose profits went to Harrison’s charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation.
On June 11 2002, McCartney married Heather Mills, a former model and anti-landmines campaigner, in a highly elaborate ceremony at Castle Leslie in Glaslough, County Monaghan, in the Republic of Ireland. He has joined with her to campaign against landmines, and he has donated substantial sums to the cause; for example, in 2003, he held a personal concert for the wife of banker Ralph Whitworth and donated one million dollars to Adopt-A-Minefield. Paul and Heather’s first child, Beatrice Milly, was born on 28 October 2003.
Of Paul and Linda’s children, James can be heard playing guitar on McCartney’s albums Flaming Pie and Driving Rain; Mary is the baby inside McCartney’s jacket in the back cover photograph of his first solo album, McCartney and was one of the producers of the documentary Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait; Heather (Linda’s daughter from her first marriage, whom Paul adopted) is a potter, and can be seen as a young girl in the film Let It Be; and Stella is a famous, award-winning fashion designer and animal rights activist. Paul’s nephew, Josh McCartney, is the drummer of the Wirral band The Famous Last Words.
In 2002, McCartney launched another major American tour, garnering strong notices for an energetic and tight supporting band, and an evocative and varied show that appealed to fans of all generations. This leg became the top-grossing U.S. tour of the year, taking in over $126 million. The tour has subsequently continued around the rest of the world in 2003 and 2004. His backing band, formed for the 2002 tour and continuing with the same musicians to this day, includes Rusty Anderson (guitar/vocals), Brian Ray (guitar/bass/vocals), Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens (keyboards, guitar, accordion, vocals), and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums, vocals).
Ticket for McCartney’s “Back in the World” tour, Arnhem, Netherlands (2003)
McCartney performed during the pre-game ceremonies at the NFL’s Super Bowl XXXVI on 3 February 2002, and was the halftime performer at Super Bowl XXXIX on 6 February 2005. Unlike in many previous years, he was the ‘only’ performer in the entire halftime show. His set consisted of “Drive My Car”, “Get Back”, “Live And Let Die” and “Hey Jude”. It featured an interesting stage design, fireworks, and fan-held placards.
Earlier in 2003, McCartney went to Russia to play a concert at Red Square. During the concert, Russian President Vladimir Putin entered the audience. It was during McCartney’s emotionally charged Hey Jude, that he called out Putin to sing along by saying ‘Come on Mr. Putin!’ At the same time, the men who were with Putin (believed to be security) were standing and singing along.
In June 2004, McCartney headlined the Glastonbury Festival – his first ever appearance at a British music festival. McCartney and festival organiser Michael Eavis picked up the NME Award on behalf of the Festival which won ‘Best Live Event’ in the 2005 awards.
McCartney performed at the main Live 8 concert on 2 July 2005, playing “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with U2 to open the Hyde Park event (the song choice reflecting the 20 years after Live Aid), then returning almost ten hours later to close the show with “Get Back”, “Drive My Car” (sharing the vocals with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, “The Long And Winding Road”, and an ensemble rendition of the refrain from “Hey Jude”. Some controversy erupted when Ringo Starr criticised McCartney for not asking him to play with him at Live 8
In August 2005 it was announced that McCartney was the new spokesperson for Fidelity Investments. The company started a campaign called “This Is Paul”, in which television commercials aired highlighting his many accomplishments and proclaiming his new relationship with Fidelity . The mutual fund giant also supported his US tour that year, and released a compilation for Fidelity employees and clients entitled Never Stop Doing What You Love.
McCartney’s album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard was released in September 2005, coinciding with the start of another successful U.S. tour. Longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, suggested to McCartney by George Martin, produced the album, recorded in London and Los Angeles over the prior two years. McCartney was to use his concert backing band in the studio but later, at the suggestion of Godrich, decided to play almost all the instruments himself, including drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, block flute, harmonium, and flugelhorn. The album included both up-tempo and introspective numbers, and included “Follow Me”, which McCartney had debuted at Glastonbury. “Fine Line” was released as the first single on August 29, 2005, with “Jenny Wren” selected as the follow-up. The album reached #10 in the UK charts and #6 in the US, and also achieved success in other countries’ pop charts, such as France (#2) and Italy (#3). The album was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.
He released a children’s book in October 2005, called High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail, which tells the story of a frog and a squirrel who save the lives of other animals. McCartney teamed up with veteran children’s book author Philip Ardagh and animator Geoff Dunbar. The picture book was released with a first print of 500,000 copies.
McCartney joined Jay-Z and Linkin Park onstage at the 2006 Grammy Awards in a performance of his Beatles’ classic “Yesterday” to commemorate the recent passing of Coretta Scott King, while also performing “Fine Line” and “Helter Skelter” on his own. McCartney later noted that it was the first time he had performed at the Grammys and that ‘I finally passed the audition’, a clear reference to a statement made by John Lennon at the end of The Beatles’ famous rooftop concert. In March 2006, McCartney finished composing a ‘modern classical’ musical work named “Ecce Cor Meum”. It was later recorded at Abbey Road Studios with some well known musicians, including the Academy of St Martins in the Fields and the boys of King’s College Choir and Magdalen College, Oxford. In the same month, McCartney and his wife Heather travelled to Prince Edward Island to bring international attention to the seal hunt which they believe is inhumane. Their arrival on the floes sparked much attention in Newfoundland and Labrador where the hunt is of cultural and economic significance. The couple debated with Newfoundland’s Premier Danny Williams on the CNN show Larry King Live. The couple stated that the fishermen should quit hunting seals and begin seal watching business. Reaction was mixed. Some criticised that McCartney should quit his music job as it is an unnecessary luxurious activity.
On 17 May 2006, McCartney and his wife Heather announced they are to separate, citing constant media attention as detrimental to a harmonious relationship. Media speculation is rife over the amount that McCartney will have to give his wife, with sums between £50 million and as high as £400 million being mentioned, although Heather has claimed that she is not interested in any money as settlement.
On 18 June 2006, Sir Paul celebrated his long-awaited and much-publicized sixty-fourth birthday, bringing his own life full circle to The Beatles’ song “When I’m Sixty-Four”, which McCartney composed in his youth, in honour of his father Jim. According to the BBC news, on this day, McCartney ‘says his children .. urged him to disappear for the day to, you know , which is sure to trigger a flurry of press attention.’
Over the years, McCartney has released work under a number of alter egos. This has generally been for more experimental and less commercial material. In 1967, he produced the song “I’m The Urban Spaceman” by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, but McCartney was credited as ‘Apollo C. Vermouth’.
In 1977, he released an orchestral version of the Ram album under the name Percy ‘Thrills’ Thrillington. In the 1990s he collaborated with Youth of Killing Joke under the name The Fireman and released two ambient albums, Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest in 1994 and Rushes in 1998. In 2000 he released an album, Liverpool Sound Collage, with Super Furry Animals and Youth utilising the collage and musique concrete techniques which fascinated him in the mid-1960s. Most recently in 2005 he has worked on a project with bootleg producer and remixer Freelance Hellraiser, under the name ‘Twin Freaks’.
Prior to the success of The Beatles, McCartney would sometimes use the stage name Paul Ramon(e), a name that inspired The Ramones to name their band. ‘Paul Ramone’ was McCartney’s credited name as guest performer (drums and backing vocals) on The Steve Miller Band song “My Dark Hour”.
For a detailed discography, see: Paul McCartney discography See also: The Beatles discography
Achievements, world records, and miscellania
The release of Rubber Soul in 1965 fueled Brian Wilson’s drive to experiment with the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, which in turn influenced McCartney’s attention to the detail and method of recording.
He turned 64 on June 18, 2006. This adds new meaning to the song “When I’m Sixty-Four”, written by Paul when he was only sixteen years old, and released on the famous “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Appears in the Guinness Book of Records several times.
“Yesterday” listed as the most covered song in history with over 3000 existing versions
The most successful popular-music composer and recording artist ever with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs.
Honoured by Guinness in 1979 with a unique rhodium disc, recognising this achievement
The largest stadium audience in history when 184,000 paid to see him perform at Maracana; Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in April 1990
The fastest ticket sales in history, which took place in 1993 when 20,000 tickets for 2 shows in Sydney, Australia sold out in eight minutes
Was involved with the fastest-released single in history; on July 2, 2005 his performance of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with U2 at Live 8 was released 45 minutes after the performance took place. (The single reached #6 on the Billboard charts just hours after the single release, and hit #1 on numerous online download charts across the world.)
The only artist to have UK number one singles as a soloist (“Pipes of Peace”), and part of a duo (“Ebony and Ivory” with Stevie Wonder), trio (“Mull of Kintyre” with Wings), quartet (“She Loves You”, among many others, with The Beatles), quintet (“Get Back”, The Beatles with Billy Preston) and sextet (“Let It Be” with Ferry Aid). He was also a member of charity ensembles Band Aid and Band Aid 20, both of which had a UK number ones with “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.
Has a record twenty-nine US number one singles, twenty of them with The Beatles, and the rest from Wings and his output as a solo artist.
“Yesterday” was confirmed as world’s most popular song with over 6,000,000 airplays in the USA alone.
Received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex.
The first rock musician ever to receive the Order of Merit of Chile for “services to music, peace, and human understanding.”
First recipient of the Swedish Polar Music Prize (“Nobel Prize for music”).
1998 Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award. From People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), according to another website.
Between his work with The Beatles and as a solo artist and leader of Wings, McCartney has written or co-written more than 50 Top Ten singles. When combined with The Beatles’ 49 Top 40 U.S. singles, Paul McCartney is the most successful pop-music composer ever and the second greatest hitmaker, behind Elvis Presley.
Among the properties he owns are Peasmarsh Farm, East Sussex; High Park Farm, near Campbelltown on the Mull of Kintyre; a ranch in Arizona; a house in Cavendish Avenue in St John’s Wood; Wycliffe Hall, Co Durham; a house in Beverly Hills; and a house in Hove, Sussex.
Was the only Beatle to achieve any qualifications at secondary school, doing particularly well in Art.
Was made an honorary detective by the New York City Police Department.
Is the only Beatle to ever have been nominated for an Academy Award in his own right, for the title songs to the movies Vanilla Sky and Live and Let Die.
In 1997 he was knighted (Knight Bachelor) for his services to music. He dedicated his knighthood to fellow Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and to the people of Liverpool. Aides commented that he won’t be calling himself “Sir Paul”; “He’s always been a modest chap and he won’t be getting us all bowing and scraping,” one aide said. (Harrison joked at the time that he and Starr were “already calling him ‘His Lordship’”.)
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 (as a solo artist).
Has never been able to read musical notation; instead, writes and plays by ear.
Paul and Linda McCartney were featured on an episode of The Simpsons entitled “Lisa the Vegetarian” in which they spoke to Lisa about vegetarianism on the roof of Apu’s shop. In this episode, McCartney claims that when Maybe I’m Amazed is played backwards, it reveals a recipe for a “really cracking” vegetarian soup.
An average football fan, he supports Everton F.C.
Best selling music artists
British honours system
List of best-selling singles
Paul Is Dead
“McCartneys call for China boycott”, BBC News. (streaming video)
Spitz, Bob. The Beatles: The Biography, Little, Brown, and Company: New York, 2005.
“McCartney attacks China over fur”
^ News report on the arrest of Paul McCartney in Japan (in English). (audio file) The History Channel – Speeches and Video. Retrieved on 2006-07-17.
^ “NME.com McCARTNEY WOWS GLASTO”, New Musical Express, IPC Media, July 27, 2004.
^ New Musical Express, NME.com 17 February 2005
^ Starr Slams McCartney for Not Inviting Him to Live 8. (July 10, 2005). Retrieved on 2006-05-17.
^ “McCartney and Mills to separate”, BBC, May 17, 2006.
^ “Why Sir Paul’s ‘genius’ could save him millions”, BBC, May 18, 2006.
^ “The seven ages of Paul McCartney”, BBC, June 18, 2006.