Today marks the 78th birthday of music legend Paul McCartney. To celebrate, we look back on his remarkable career, making him one of Britain’s best musicians…
Sir James Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool on 18 June 1942. Not only is he a singer but also a songwriter, musician, composer, and record and film producer. McCartney found fame in a little band called The Beatles (have you heard of them?), that not only set him on his very, very successful career but paved the way for future musicians in Britain.
If we flashback back to July 1957, a fifteen-year-old Paul met John Lennon and his band The Quarrymen. Soon after meeting, Paul joined the band as a rhythm guitarist and became best friends with Lennon. In 1958, they were joined by George Harrison and Lennon’s friend Stuart Sutcliffe. By May 1960, they were finally named The Beatles after recruiting drummer Pete Best.
Flash forward a few more years, Sutcliffe left the band whilst Paul became the bass player. As the band began to play more gigs, they attracted the attention of Brian Epstein – who eventually became their manager and replaced drummer Pete Best with Ringo Starr. From there, we finally had the real Beatles.
From there, ‘Beatlemania’ became a reality and the band were taking the world by storm. Within the first few years, McCartney co-wrote some of their biggest hits including I Saw Her Standing There (1963), She Loves You (1963), I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963) and Can’t Buy Me Love (1964).
The Beatles are deemed as one of the biggest (and possibly most successful) band in British history after they were the first band to conquer America with their fan hysteria of ‘Beatlemania’. As a band, The Beatles released twelve studio albums, thirteen EP’s and 22 singles. As well as this, they had 20 number one hits and 34 Top 10 hits on the Billboard charts in the years they were active as a band (1962-1970).
After the band separated (and millions of hearts broke around the world), McCartney suffered with depression. However, with his wife Linda at his side, she helped him to overcome this and encouraged him to continue writing and recording. In order to honour his wonderful wife, Paul wrote Maybe I’m Amazed which explained why The Beatles broke up and how his wife helped him through the painful time.
In 1970, Paul released the one-man album McCartney – which went to number one in America and also featured vocal contributions from Linda. Only a year later, McCartney released the second album Ram – a collaboration with Linda and drummer Denny Seiwell. This was a UK number one album and a US top five.
Later that same year, ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine joined Paul, Linda and Denny Seiwell where they formed the band Wings. The band’s first tour began in 1972 (after the addition of guitarist Henry McCullough), with their debut performance at the University of Nottingham in front of several hundred. More gigs followed as they travelled the UK performing at universities unannounced.
Wings achieved their first US number one with My Love from their second LP Red Rose Speedway. One of their most notable songs was Live and Let Die – a song that wasn’t only produced by former Beatles producer, Sir George Henry Martin, but it was the main theme for the James Bond film in 1973 of the same name.
As you can see, Paul McCartney’s music career went from success to success. After his years with Wings, he continued this success after producing more number one hits including Ebony and Ivory – collaborated alongside fellow legend Stevie Wonder.
Just like any Rockstar, McCartney had his fans who would do anything to be with him or even to just be in his presence. His first serious girlfriend was Dot Rhone – whom he met in the Casbah club, all the way back in 1959. Next was British actress Jane Asher, who was the inspirations for hits such as Yesterday, And I love her, You Won’t See Me and I’m Looking Through You.
Then finally in 1969, he got married to the love of his life Linda Eastman. Linda was a keen music fan who became a popular photographer for musicians such as the Jimmy Hendrix Experience, The Doors and of course, The Beatles – where the pair first met in 1966 at the Shea Stadium. After a few years of seeing each other, they got married in 1969 and went on to collaborate in their music following the post-Beatles breakup.
Together they had four children, including famous designer Stella McCartney. Unfortunately, in 1998 Linda died of breast cancer at only 56 years old.
In 2002, McCartney married former Heather Mills and they had one child together – Beatrice Milly. However, they separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008. Currently, Paul is married to Nancy Shevell (since 2011) and have been together since 2007. Prior to their marriage, they knew each other 20 years before after both having homes in the Hamptons.
From his career, McCartney has won 26 awards and had 22 number ones, making him a musical legend. Paul McCartney clearly deserves this honour on his birthday to mark his incredible music career, with many more years to come…
By Katie Green
Feature Image Credit: Rolling Stone