Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool on the 18th of June 1942 and whilst baptized as a Roman Catholic, his parents, James and Mary, did not apply any pressure on him to follow any particular religious path.
Paul’s school life began in 1947, where he attended the Primary School Stockton Wood Road, followed by Joseph Williams Junior School and later went on to grammar school, after successfully passing the 11-plus exam in 1953 (one of only four pupils from the 90 that took the examination).
James McCartney, who had played in a Jazz Band in the 1920’s, actively encouraged his two sons (Paul and Michael) to become interested in music and Paul’s first instrument was a trumpet, but he swapped this for a guitar and later learned to play the piano.
Although Paul met George Harrison some three years before his first encounter with John Lennon, it was Paul and John that first began working together writing songs, and George Harrison joined them a year later in 1958.
The group tried many different names, including “The Silver Beetles”, before finally deciding on “The Beatles” in 1960.
The Beatles first real performance was in a Hamburg club and they remained in Hamburg for two years, playing in various clubs there. However, on their return visits to Liverpool, they played in the now famous Cavern club.
It was perhaps the arrival of their new manager, Brian Epstein that really put The Beatles on the map, and also saw the appearance of Ringo Starr, completing the line up of what would soon be known as the “Fab Four”.
From 1962 to the break-up of The Beatles in 1970, they released 24 UK singles and 12 albums, and became the most well known band on the planet.
No one can deny the influence Paul McCartney had on The Beatles and his music was covered by thousands of different artists, including many classical versions. It was said by one classical composer that his music contained “plenty of meat”, meaning it had sufficient substance to be adapted into this form.
Following the break-up of The Beatles, Paul McCartney released a solo album simply called “McCartney”, but in 1971 formed the group “Wings” with his wife Linda, who he married in 1969, after meeting at a concert in 1967.
Paul McCartney adopted Linda’s daughter Heather Louise, and they went on to have three children of their own together, Mary Anna, Stella Nina and James Louis. Sadly, Linda McCartney died of breast cancer in 1998 at the age of 56.
Wings produced 23 singles during their existence (1971-1981), with 12 top-ten singles (including a number one) in the UK. There were nine albums released and they all reached the top-ten charts. Perhaps the most well known song produced by Wings was the theme to the James Bond movie “Live and Let Die”, which became a worldwide hit.
There had been many reports published about Paul McCartney’s attitude to other members of The Beatles, and George Harrison was quoted as saying in 1977 that “It was very selfish” of Paul to always want to help ‘after’ work on his songs had been completed first, adding “It was silly”.
This attitude appeared to be highlighted following the murder of John Lennon in December 1980, when Paul was asked for his reaction to Lennon’s death and replied “It’s a drag”. McCartney claimed that his comment was meant with “every inch of melancholy I could muster”, but of course the printed version did not show this. Some years later he revealed that when watching the news of John Lennon’s murder on television that same evening, he “cried all evening”.
Paul’s relationship with John was often said to be difficult, although this had improved shortly before his death. In 1983 McCartney appeared to regret not making more of an effort to have a better relationship with John and said “I would not have been as typically human and standoffish as I was if I knew John was going to die”
Whilst Paul McCartney will always be best known as the face of The Beatles, his creative skills cover many other areas. His love for Art developed at a very early stage of his musical career and he bought many paintings by Magritte. It was Magritte’s painting of an apple that was used for the “Apple Records” logo.
Paul took up painting himself in 1983 and has had his work exhibited in many galleries since, including exhibitions with Yoko Ono in 2000, in New York and London.
It is perhaps no surprise that Paul has a keen interest in poetry and writing, and has also had a volume of poems published called ‘Blackbird Singing’. More recently he wrote a children’s book called “High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail”
Of course, music will always be McCartney’s main interest and this developed a more classical flavour in the 1990’s when the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society asked Paul to produce a musical piece to help them celebrate their sesquicentennial. He has since created other classical works involving Orchestras, opera singers and choirs.
Paul has given his services for a number of charitable events, such as the “Live Aid” concert in London and the “The concert for New York City” in 2002, after witnessing the September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre from the JFK airport.
His awards and honours are numerous and include: Fellow of the Royal College of Music (awarded by the Prince of Wales), Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music and of course a knighthood in 1997 to go with the MBE he received in 1965 (along with the other members of The Beatles).
The contribution Paul McCartney has made to Britain (financially and culturally) has been immense, and there are few (if any) who can match the impact he has made on the music industry. People all over the world (during the 60’s), who were unable to speak any English, would always attempt to communicate with the British by saying the only words they knew “The Beatles”. Even today, more than 40 years after The Beatles broke-up, Paul McCartney is still seen as a British icon in the music business and a fitting tribute to a man who has given so much pleasure to the world.