Paul´s biography

April 20, 2010 at 11:51 pm (Uncategorized)

The most commercially successful rock star to date, McCartney was born James Paul McCartney in Liverpool, England, on June 18, 1942. His father, Jim, was a bandleader, and his mother, Mary, was a nurse. McCartney was an above-average student, attending school at The Liverpool Institute.

Teen Years Foundation for Future

When McCartney was 14, his mother died of breast cancer. He also wrote his first song that year and learned guitar before age 15. A mutual friend introduced McCartney to John Lennon at a church picnic during the summer of 1957. Lennon was in a skiffle band called the Quarrymen, which McCartney joined soon after they met. Lennon and McCartney began songwriting together at that point, agreeing to share all songwriting credits.

In 1960, the Quarrymen became The Beatles, and McCartney began playing bass guitar. The initial lineup featured John Lennon on guitar and vocals, George Harrison on guitar, and Stuart Sutcliffe on drums. Ringo Starr later replaced Sutcliffe.

The Beatles

The Beatles were signed by EMI in 1962, and Brian Epstein signed on as their manager. George Martin produced their first album. “Love Me Do,” their debut single, reached the top 20 in the UK. Their second single, “Please, Please Me” went to number two. When their third single, “From Me to You,” went number one in 1963, the Beatlemania craze had hit.

In 1964 “Beatlemania” hit the U.S. “Yesterday,” released by The Beatles in 1965, became the most popular song in history, according to Rolling Stone, and was played more than six million times on the radio in the U.S. alone. Only a year later, in 1966, the Beatles gave up touring.

A Long-Lasting Romance

Paul met Linda Eastman, an American photographer, in 1967 while engaged to British girlfriend Jane Asher. The engagement was broken off, and McCartney saw Eastman on and off for a couple of years. The two married on March 12, 1969. The marriage was to become one of the most famously stable marriages in the entertainment industry.

Bob Spitz wrote in the New York Times, “Of all his accomplishments, McCartney points to his family as his proudest. His 28-year marriage remains one of the sturdiest in a profession littered by broken relationships.” The McCartneys raised four children: Heather (born 1963), from Linda’s first marriage, is a potter and jeweler; Mary (born 1969), a photographer and animal rights campaigner; Stella (born 1971), a fashion designer; and James (born 1977), a guitarist. The family, for a long time, lived in a two-bedroom home in Scotland.

Beatles Ended, Solo Career Began

In 1968, disagreements began an irreparable rift among The Beatles. When a new business manager was needed for the group, McCartney suggested his wife’s father, Lee Eastman, an attorney. His bandmates, however, chose American businessman Allen Klein, creating further tensions within the group. McCartney later pointed to this incident as the principal reason for the group splitting up.

McCartney and the other Beatles began work on solo albums. McCartney was released in April 1970, a month before the last Beatles album, Let It Be, was released. McCartney played all the instruments; Linda performed backup vocals. The album featured the US number one hit “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” and “Another Day” which went to number two on the UK charts.

On April 10, 1970, McCartney told a magazine he was no longer with The Beatles, but it was not until December 31, 1970, that McCartney sued Klein and the other three Beatles, effectively ending their partnership.

The McCartneys Formed Wings

In 1971, McCartney released the single “Another Day” just prior to the release of his second album, Ram. Later that same year, he formed the group Wings with wife Linda on vocals, Denny Laine (formerly of the Moody Blues) on guitar, and Denny Seiwell on drums. The group’s first album, Wildlife, was released in December 1971.

In 1972, Wings added Henry McCullough, a studio guitarist, and Geoff Britton, drummer, to their lineup. The group toured the UK and then released three singles: “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” (banned by the BBC), “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” and “Hi, Hi, Hi”/”C Moon.” They followed these in 1973 with the album, Red Rose Speedway, featuring the hit single, “My Love.” McCullough and Seiwell left the band before the fourth album.

In 1973, Band on the Run, recorded by the McCartneys, was considered a great comeback and topped the charts in the United States, eventually selling three million copies. Singles “Band on the Run” and “Jet” were US and UK top 10 hits.

Jimmy McCullough (no relation to Henry) and Joe English on guitar and drums respectively were added to the lineup. The new Wings released 1975’s Venus and Mars, and 1976’s At the Speed of Sound, both hit albums. In 1976, the Wings Over the World Tour spawned the live album, Wings Over America. In 1978, Wings released London Town with the U.K. single, “Mull of Kintyre,” which sold a record-setting two million plus copies in Britain. McCullough left the group later in the year, but Wings continued with 1979’s hit album, Back to the Egg.

On the 1980 leg of the tour supporting Back to the Egg in Japan, McCartney was arrested at Narita on January 16 when customs officials found 7.7 ounces of marijuana in his luggage. McCartney spent 10 days in jail, but in the end, the prosecutor did not file charges. At Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport on his return trip, McCartney told reporters (as quoted in The Globe and Mail) that marijuana “should be decriminalized. Reliable medical tests should be carried out and these would show it’s not harmful.”

Another Era Ends

Later that same year, on December 8, 1980, Lennon was murdered outside his New York City apartment. A distraught McCartney cancelled the Wings tour. Laine, the only permanent member of Wings other than the McCartneys, quit the band, effectively breaking it up.

During 1980, a solo album, McCartney II, was released, featuring the hits “Coming Up” and “Waterfalls.” A third solo album, Tug of War, produced by George Martin, was released in 1982.

Back to the Top

The early 1980s began a renaissance of sorts for McCartney’s flagging career. In 1982, McCartney had a number one hit, “Ebony and Ivory,” with Stevie Wonder, featured on his Tug of War album, produced by George Martin. He also appeared on Michael Jackson’s 1983 single, “The Girl is Mine,” on Jackson’s Thriller album. Jackson contributed vocals to the number one hit single “Say Say Say” on McCartney’s 1983 Pipes of Peace album.

Two years later, in August 1985, Jackson paid ATV Music $40 million for the publishing rights to the 1964 – 1970 Beatles catalog, outbidding and angering McCartney. The two never recorded together again. (McCartney owns many other lucrative rights, however. In the 1970s, MPL Communications, Inc., McCartney’s publishing company, purchased the entire catalog of Buddy Holly, as well as the Edwin H. Morris publishing company, thus gaining control of North American rights to musicals like Hello Dolly, Mame, A Star is Born, and others. MPL also controls two Beatles songs, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”)

In 1984 McCartney branched out with a directorial film debut, Give My Regards to Broad Street. Critics panned the film and its accompanying album. The album did spawn a hit single, however: “No More Lonely Nights.” And McCartney, not altogether dissuaded, followed up by writing the film score for the 1985 comedy Spies Like Us.

In 1986, McCartney worked with guitarist Eric Stewart on Press to Play. Three years later, in 1989, he teamed with Elvis Costello on some tracks for Flowers in the Dirt and cowrote a few songs with Costello on the latter’s Spike.

That same year, McCartney went out on his first world tour in 10 years and broke attendance records in many countries. Music from the tour can be heard on the 1990 live release Tripping the Live Fantastic.

A Classical Spin

In 1991 McCartney changed the pace with the Liverpool Oratorio, composed in collaboration with Carl Davis. Written on commission from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, the piece has been performed over 100 times in 20 countries since its premiere. The premiere was recorded live by EMI Classics and released as a double-CD album.

McCartney continued to explore other styles in 1994 when he joined forces with former Killing Joke member Youth to create ambient music. The two called themselves “Fireman” and released an album titled strawberries oceans ships forest.

In 1995, EMI released The Leaf. The Prelude composed for solo piano was inspired by McCartney’s interest in classical music during the three years he was writing the Liverpool Oratorio. A young Russian pianist and gold medal winner at the Royal College of Music, Anya Alexeyev, performed it at St. James’ Palace and recorded it for EMI. That same year, the Prince of Wales appointed McCartney Fellow of The Royal College of Music.

Beatles Revisited

While working with BBC producers on a Beatles documentary, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr met and began working with EMI/Capitol to produce never-before-released songs, “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love,” from two John Lennon demo tapes. These songs and other unreleased Beatles demos and outtakes were released on the double-album Anthology in 1996.

In 1997 McCartney’s solo release, Flaming Pie, entered the charts at No. 2 in the U.S. and U.K. and was nominated for Album of the Year Grammy in the U.S. The album, produced by Jeff Lynne, featured Steve Miller on three tracks, and McCartney’s son James contributed lead guitar to songs like “Heaven on a Sunday.”


On March 11, 1997, Queen Elizabeth II knighted McCartney. Bob Spitz of the New York Times wrote, “The promise of knighthood to the former pesky Beatle … is a delicious paradox. It was the Beatles, after all, who were anointed gurus of upheaval at a time when the collapse of the Empire was lashed to the decline of a generation’s morals.”

On a commission from EMI to mark its 100th anniversary, McCartney wrote the classical tone poem Standing Stone and recorded it in the Abbey Road studios with the London Symphony Orchestra. The piece premiered at Royal Albert Hall in October 1997. McCartney won the National Public Radio New Horizon Award for Standing Stone “in recognition of his work in broadening the appeal of classical music.”

On April 17, 1998, Linda McCartney died from breast cancer at the family ranch in Arizona. The following year, McCartney produced an album of songs, Wild Prairie, which Linda had written and recorded. Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the Pretenders and a close friend of the McCartney family, said (according to Business Wire), “The legacy of Paul’s music and the Beatles is one thing, but I think his real legacy is the love story he had with Linda.”

On March 15, 1999, McCartney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. The event also marked his first public performance since the death of his wife. McCartney continued to record new material, as well. Later that year, the album Run Devil Run collected McCartney covers of vintage rock songs by Carl Perkins, Larry Williams, and Little Richard. In October of 1999, Working Classical featured three new short orchestral pieces. A Garland for Linda, an album to commemorate the life of his late wife and raise funds for cancer research, was released in January of 2000. The album featured McCartney’s original music as well as that of other contemporary composers. For 2001’s Driving Rain, McCartney’s son James wrote two songs and played guitar. Wingspan (Hits and History) was released the same year, encapsulating Wings’ contributions to popular music.

McCartney’s former Beatles bandmate, Harrison, died of throat cancer in Los Angeles, California, on November 29, 2001. On the first anniversary of his death, McCartney and Starr reunited for a musical tribute, “Concert for George,” at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

A New Love

In 2000, McCartney began dating Heather Mills, a former model and anti-land mine advocate. A year later, they were engaged and in June 2002, the couple wed at an Irish castle. On October 30, 2003, Mills gave birth to their daughter, Beatrice Milly. McCartney toured Europe in the spring of 2004. He also produced a DVD titled Paul McCartney: The Music and Animation Collection.


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