Paul McCartney

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Performers and composers

Paul McCartney
On stage in Prague, 6 June 2004
On stage in Prague, 6 June 2004
Background information
Birth name James Paul McCartney
Born 18 June 1942 (1942-06-18)
Liverpool, England
Genre(s) Rock, pop rock, rock and roll, classical
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, musician, artist, activist
Instrument(s) Bass guitar, guitar, piano, keyboards, drums
Years active 1957–present
Label(s) Swan
Hear Music
Associated acts The Beatles, The Fireman, The Quarrymen, Wings
Notable instrument(s)
Hofner 500/1 bass guitar
Rickenbacker 4001 bass guitar
Gibson Les Paul
Epiphone Casino

Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born 18 June 1942) is an Academy Award-winning English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who first gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. McCartney and John Lennon formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships and "wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history." After leaving The Beatles, McCartney launched a successful solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda Eastman McCartney. He has worked on film scores, classical music, and ambient/electronic music; released a large catalogue of songs as a solo artist; and taken part in projects to help international charities.

McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the most successful musician and composer in popular music history, with 60 gold discs and sales of 100 million singles. His song " Yesterday" is listed as the most covered song in history and has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American television and radio. Wings' 1977 single " Mull of Kintyre" became the first single to sell more than two million copies in the UK, and remains the UK's top selling non-charity single (three charity singles have since surpassed it in sales; the first to do so—in 1984—was Band Aid's " Do They Know It's Christmas?", whose participants included McCartney).

His company MPL Communications owns the copyrights to more than three thousand songs, including all of the songs written by Buddy Holly, along with the publishing rights to such musicals as Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and Grease. Aside from his musical work, McCartney is an actor, a painter and an advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism, and music education; he is active in campaigns against landmines, seal culls and Third World debt. McCartney was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965, and was knighted in 1997.

Early years: 1942–1957

James Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool Walton Hospital, in Liverpool, England, where his mother, Mary, had worked as a nurse in the maternity ward. He has one brother, Michael, born 7 January 1944. McCartney was baptized Roman Catholic but was raised non-denominationally: his mother was Roman Catholic, and his father, James "Jim" McCartney, was a Protestant turned agnostic.

In 1947, at age five, he began attending Stockton Wood Road Primary school. He then attended the Joseph Williams Junior School, and passed the 11-plus exam in 1953. Of the 90 children that took the exam, only three others passed, gaining all four places at the Liverpool Institute. In 1954, while riding on the bus to the Institute, he met George Harrison, who lived nearby. Passing the exam meant that McCartney and Harrison did not have to go to a secondary modern school, which most pupils attended until they were eligible to work. It also meant that Grammar school pupils had to find new friends.

In 1955 the McCartney family moved to 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton. (The house is now owned by The National Trust.) Mary McCartney rode a bicycle to houses where she was needed as a midwife, and McCartney's earliest memory is of her leaving when it was snowing heavily. On 31 October 1956, Mary McCartney (who was a heavy smoker) died of an embolism after a mastectomy operation to stop the spread of her breast cancer. The early loss of his mother later connected McCartney with John Lennon, whose mother, Julia, died when Lennon was 17.

McCartney's father was a trumpet player and pianist who had led Jim Mac's Jazz Band in the 1920s. He encouraged his two sons to be musical. Jim had an upright piano in the front room that he bought from Harry Epstein's store, and McCartney's grandfather, Joe McCartney, played an E-flat tuba. Jim McCartney used to point out the different instruments in songs on the radio, and often took Paul to local brass band concerts. After the death of his wife, Mary, Jim McCartney gave Paul a nickel-plated trumpet, but when skiffle music became popular, McCartney swapped the trumpet for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar.

McCartney, being left-handed, found the Zenith impossible to play. He then saw a poster advertising Slim Whitman and realised that Whitman played left-handed, with his guitar strung the opposite way to a right-handed player. McCartney wrote his first song (" I Lost My Little Girl") on the Zenith, and also played his father's Framus Spanish guitar when writing early songs with John Lennon. He later started playing piano and wrote " When I'm Sixty-Four". His father advised him to take some music lessons, which he did. But McCartney realised that he preferred to learn 'by ear' and never paid attention in music classes.

1957–1960: The Quarrymen and the Silver Beetles

'Elvis McCartney' drawing by Klaus Voormann.

The fifteen-year-old McCartney met Lennon and the Quarrymen (a band formed by John Lennon with several school friends) at the Woolton (St. Peter's church hall) fête on 6 July 1957. At the start of their friendship Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of McCartney because he was, she said, " working class", and called McCartney, "John's little friend". McCartney's father told his son that Lennon would get him "into trouble", although he later allowed The Quarrymen to rehearse in the front room at 20 Forthlin Road.

McCartney formed a close working relationship with Lennon and they collaborated on many songs. He convinced Lennon to allow George Harrison to join the Quarrymen after Lennon's initial reluctance (because of Harrison's young age) when Lennon heard Harrison play at a rehearsal in March 1958. Harrison joined the group as lead guitarist, followed by Lennon's art school friend, Stuart Sutcliffe, on bass, with whom McCartney later bickered regarding Sutcliffe's musical ability. By May 1960, they had tried several new names, including the Silver Beetles (and played a tour with Johnny Gentle, in Scotland). The Beatles changed the name of the group for their performances in Hamburg, in August 1960.

1960–1970: The Beatles

Starting in May 1960 The Beatles were managed by Allan Williams, who booked them into Bruno Koschmider's Indra club in Hamburg. McCartney's father was reluctant to let the teenage Paul go to Hamburg until Paul pointed out that he would earn two pounds and ten shillings per day. As this was more than he earned himself, Jim finally agreed.

The Beatles first played at the Indra club, sleeping in small, dirty rooms in the Bambi Kino, and then moved (after the closure of the Indra) to the larger Kaiserkeller. In October 1960, they left Koschmider's club and worked at the "Top Ten Club", which was run by Peter Eckhorn. When McCartney and Pete Best went back to the Bambi Kino to get their belongings they found it in almost total darkness. As a snub to Koschmider, they found a condom, attached it to a nail on the concrete wall of their room, and set fire to it. There was no real damage, but Koschmider reported them for attempted arson. McCartney and Best spent three hours in a local jail and were deported, as was George Harrison, for working under the legal age limit. Lennon's work permit was revoked a few days later and he went home by train, but Sutcliffe had a cold and stayed in Hamburg, and then flew home.

The group reunited in December 1960, and on 21 March 1961, played their first of many concerts at Liverpool's Cavern club. McCartney realised that other Liverpool bands were playing the same cover songs, which prompted him and Lennon to write more original material. The Beatles returned to Hamburg in April 1961, and recorded " My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan. Sutcliffe left the band after the end of their contract, so Paul reluctantly took over bass. After borrowing Sutcliffe's Hõfner 333 for a short time, he bought a left-handed 1962 500/1 model Höfner bass. On 1 October 1961, McCartney went with Lennon (who paid for the trip) to Paris for two weeks.

The Beatles were first seen by Brian Epstein at the Cavern club on 9 November 1961, and he later signed them to a management contract. The Beatles' road manager, Neil Aspinall, drove them to London on 31 December 1961, where they auditioned the next day, but were rejected by Decca Records. In April 1962, they went back to Hamburg to play at the Star-Club, and learned of Stuart Sutcliffe's death a few hours before they arrived. The Beatles were ready to sign a record contract on 9 May 1962, with Parlophone Records—after having been rejected by many record companies—but Epstein sacked Pete Best(at the behest of McCartney, Lennon and Harrison) before they signed the contract. " Love Me Do" was released on 5 October 1962, featuring McCartney singing solo on the chorus line.

All Lennon-McCartney songs on the first pressing of Please Please Me album (recorded in one day on 11 February 1963) as well as the " Please Please Me" single, " From Me to You", and its B-side, " Thank You Girl", are credited to "McCartney-Lennon", but this was later changed to "Lennon-McCartney". They usually needed an hour or two to finish a song, which were written in hotel rooms after a concert, at Wimpole Street, at Cavendish Avenue, or at Kenwood (John Lennon's house). McCartney also wrote songs for other artists, such as Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, Badfinger, and Mary Hopkin -and most notably he wrote two hit songs for the group Peter & Gordon-launching their career. One song, "World Without Love", became a #1 hit in the U.K. & U.S. (Peter was the brother of Jane Asher, McCartney's girlfriend at the time)

Lennon, Harrison, and Starr lived in large houses in the ' stockbroker belt' of southern England, but McCartney continued to live in central London: in Jane Asher's parents' house, and then at 7 Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood, near the Abbey Road Studios. It was at Cavendish Avenue that McCartney bought his first Old English Sheepdog, Martha, which inspired the song " Martha My Dear".

McCartney often went to nightclubs alone, which offered 'dining and dancing until 4.00 a.m.' and featured cabaret acts. McCartney would get preferential treatment everywhere he went, which he readily accepted. He even once accepted an offer from a policeman to be allowed to park McCartney's car. He later visited gambling clubs after 4.00am, such as 'The Curzon House', and often saw Brian Epstein there. The Ad Lib club (above the Prince Charles Theatre at 7 Leicester Place) was later opened for the emerging 'Rock and Roll' crowd of musicians, and tolerated their unusual lifestyle. After the Ad Lib fell out of favour, McCartney moved on to the Scotch of St James, at 13 Masons Yard. He also frequented The Bag O'Nails club at 8 Kingly Street in Soho, London, where he met Linda Eastman.

The Beatles stopped touring after their last concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, on 29 August 1966. The other three Beatles had often talked about stopping touring, but after the Candlestick Park concert, and after having played so many concerts where they could not be heard, McCartney finally agreed that they should stop playing live concerts.

McCartney was the first to be involved in a musical project outside of the group, when he composed the score for the film The Family Way in 1966. The soundtrack was later released as an album (also called The Family Way), and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme, ahead of acclaimed jazz musician Mike Turner. McCartney wrote songs for and produced other artists, including Mary Hopkin, Badfinger, and the Bonzo Dog Band, and in 1966, he was asked by Kenneth Tynan to write the songs for the National Theatre's production of As You Like It by William Shakespeare (starring Laurence Olivier) but declined.

McCartney later attempted to persuade Lennon, Harrison and Starr to return to the stage, and when they had a meeting to sign a new contract with Capitol Records, McCartney suggested "going back to our roots," to which Lennon replied, "I think you're mad!" Although Lennon had quit the group in September 1969, and Harrison and Starr had temporarily left the group at various times, McCartney was the one who publicly announced The Beatles' breakup on 10 April 1970—one week before releasing his first solo album, McCartney. The album included a press release inside with a self-written interview stating McCartney's hopes about the future. The Beatles' partnership was legally dissolved after McCartney filed a lawsuit on 31 December 1970.

1970s: Paul McCartney (solo) and Wings

McCartney released his debut solo album, McCartney, in April 1970. He insisted that his wife should be involved in his musical career so that they would not be apart when he was on tour. McCartney's second solo album, Ram (1971) was credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney. In August of that year McCartney formed Wings with guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell (although membership in Wings would change several times during its existence) and released their debut album, Wild Life. In 1972, Wings started an unplanned tour of British universities and small European venues. In February of that year, they released a single called " Give Ireland Back to the Irish", which was banned by the BBC. Wings then embarked on the 26-date Wings Over Europe Tour.

Wings' 1973 album Red Rose Speedway spawned the band's first #1 in the United States, " My Love". On 16 April, McCartney starred in a TV variety show called James Paul McCartney. The band released Band on the Run, which won two Grammy Awards and is Wings' most lauded work. In October 1972, McCartney recorded the theme song for the James Bond film Live and Let Die. In 1973, Wings released the single " Jet", and in 1974, " Band on the Run" (the song) and " Junior's Farm". A jam session — with Lennon and McCartney — was recorded in California, in 1974, and released on the bootleg A Toot and a Snore in '74. "Venus and Mars" was released in 1975 which featured "Listen to What the Man Said" and "Rock Show." Through 1975 and 1976, Wings embarked on the ambitious Wings Over the World tour, a concert recording of which was released as Wings Over America.

Later in 1977, Wings released " Mull of Kintyre". It stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and was the highest-selling single in the UK until 1984, when Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas beat its record. Wings toured again in 1979, and McCartney organised the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. McCartney's " Rockestra" theme won a Grammy award. At Christmas 1979, McCartney released his (solo) " Wonderful Christmastime".

Although McCartney's relationship with John Lennon was troubled, they reconciled during the 1970s. McCartney would often call Lennon, but was never sure of what sort of reception he would get, such as when McCartney once called Lennon and was told, "You're all pizza and fairytales!" McCartney understood that he could not just phone Lennon and only talk about business, so they often talked about cats, baking bread, or babies.

Solo career


In a 1980 interview, Lennon said that the last time he had seen McCartney was when they had watched the episode of Saturday Night Live (May 1976) where Lorne Michaels had made his $3,000 cash offer to get Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr to reunite on the show. McCartney and Lennon had seriously considered going to the studio, but were too tired. This event was fictionalized in the 2000 television film, Two of Us.

On the morning of 9 December 1980, McCartney awoke to the news that Lennon had been murdered outside his Dakota building home. Lennon's death created a media frenzy around the surviving members of The Beatles. On the evening of 9 December, as McCartney was leaving an Oxford Street recording studio, he was surrounded by reporters and asked for his reaction to Lennon's death. He replied, "I was very shocked, you know - this is terrible news," and said that he had spent the day in the studio listening to some material because he "just didn't want to sit at home." When asked why, he replied, "I didn't feel like it," and added, " drag, isn't it?" When published, his "drag" remark was criticized, and McCartney later regretted it. He furthermore stated that he had intended no disrespect but had just been at a loss for words, after the shock and sadness he felt over his friend Lennon's murder.

In a Playboy interview in 1984, McCartney said that he went home that night and watched the news on television—whilst sitting with all his children—and cried all evening. His last telephone call to John, which was just before Lennon and Yoko released Double Fantasy, was friendly. During the call, Lennon said (laughing) to McCartney, "This housewife wants a career!" which referred to Lennon's "house-husband" years, while he was looking after Sean Lennon. McCartney carried on recording after the death of Lennon but did not play any live concerts for some time. He explained that this was because he was nervous that he would be "the next" to be murdered. This led to a disagreement with Denny Laine, who wanted to continue touring and subsequently left Wings, which McCartney disbanded in 1981. Also in 1981, six months after Lennon's death, McCartney sang backup on George Harrison's tribute to Lennon, " All Those Years Ago," along with Ringo Starr.

Like McCartney before it, McCartney played every instrument on the 1980 release McCartney II, with an emphasis on synthesisers instead of guitars. The single " Coming Up" reached #2 in Britain and #1 in the US., and Waterfalls was another UK Top 10 hit. McCartney's next album, 1982's Tug of War, reunited him with Beatles' producer George Martin and Ringo Starr and featured McCartney's duet with Stevie Wonder on " Ebony and Ivory" as well as his tribute to Lennon, "Here Today". Two further hit duets followed, both with Michael Jackson: " The Girl Is Mine", from Jackson's Thriller album, and " Say Say Say", a single from McCartney's 1983 album Pipes of Peace.

McCartney wrote and starred in the 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. The film and soundtrack featured the US and UK Top 10 hit " No More Lonely Nights" (and the album reached #1 in the UK), but the film did not do well commercially and received a negative critical response. Roger Ebert awarded the film a single star and wrote, "You can safely skip the movie and proceed directly to the sound track". Later that year, McCartney released " We All Stand Together", the title song from the animated film Rupert and the Frog Song and wrote and performed the title song to the movie Spies Like Us.

In the second half of the decade McCartney would find new collaborators. Eric Stewart had appeared on McCartney's Pipes of Peace album, and he co-wrote most of McCartney's 1986 album Press to Play. The album, and its lead single, " Press" became minor hits. McCartney returned the favour by co-writing two songs for Stewart's band, 10cc: "Don't Break the Promises" ( ...Meanwhile, 1992), and "Yvonne's the One" ( Mirror Mirror, 1995). In 1987, EMI released All the Best! which was the first compilation of McCartney's own songs.

In 1988, he released Снова в СССР, which was a collection of old Rock and roll hits—written by others—that McCartney had admired over the years. It was originally released only in the USSR, eventually receiving a general release in 1991. McCartney also began a musical partnership with the singer-songwriter Elvis Costello (Declan MacManus). The resulting songs would appear on several singles and albums by both artists, notably " Veronica" from Costello's album Spike, and " My Brave Face" from McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt, both released in 1989. The album reached #1 in the UK. Further McCartney/MacManus compositions for "Flowers in the Dirt" surfaced on the 1991 album Mighty Like a Rose (Costello) and 1993's Off the Ground (McCartney). In late 1989, McCartney started his first concert tour since John Lennon's murder, which the first tour of the U.S. in thirteen years.


The 1990s saw McCartney venture into classical music. In 1991 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society commissioned a musical piece by McCartney to celebrate its sesquicentennial. McCartney collaborated with Carl Davis to release Liverpool Oratorio. EMI Classics recorded the premiere of the oratorio and released it on a 2-CD album which topped the classical charts. His next classical project to be released (in 1995) was A Leaf, a solo-piano piece played by Royal College of Music gold-medal winner Anya Alexeyev. The Prince of Wales later honoured McCartney as a Fellow of The Royal College of Music. Other forays into classical music included Standing Stone (1997), Working Classical (1999), and " Ecce Cor Meum" (2006).

In the early 1990s (after another world tour), McCartney reunited with Harrison and Starr to work on Apple's The Beatles Anthology documentary series. It included three double albums of alternative takes, live recordings, and previously unreleased Beatles songs, as well as a ten-hour video boxed set. Anthology 1 was released in 1995, and featured " Free as a Bird", which was the first Beatles reunion track, while Anthology 2, released in 1996, included " Real Love" (1996), the second and final in the reunion series. Both reunion tracks were completed by adding new music and vocal tracks to Lennon's demos from the late 1970s.

In 1997, McCartney released Flaming Pie. The album garnered the best reviews for a McCartney album since Tug of War. It debuted at #2 in the UK and the US, and was nominated in the category Album of the Year at the 1998 Grammy Awards. In 1999, McCartney released another album of rock 'n' roll songs, titled Run Devil Run. That same year he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.


The year 2001 proved to be a busy and hectic one for McCartney. In May, he released Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait, a retrospective documentary that features behind-the-scenes films and photographs that Paul and Linda McCartney (who had died in 1998) took of their family and bands. Interspersed throughout the 88 minute film is an interview by Mary McCartney with her father. Mary was the baby photographed inside McCartney's jacket on the back cover of his first solo album, McCartney, and was one of the producers of the documentary.

Earlier in the year, McCartney worked on what would become his new album, Driving Rain, released on 12 November. Driving Rain featured many uplifting songs inspired by and written for his soon-to-be wife Heather. Clearly determined to follow the example of Run Devil Run's brisk recording pace, most of the album was recorded in two weeks, starting in February 2001. McCartney also composed and recorded the title track for the film Vanilla Sky, released later that year. The track was nominated for—but did not win—an Oscar for Best Original Song

McCartney took a lead role in organising The Concert for New York City in response to the events of September 11. The concert took place on 20 October 2001.

In late 2001, McCartney was informed that his former classmate, neighbour, ex-Beatles' lead guitarist, and best friend of over 45 years, George Harrison, was losing his battle with cancer. Upon Harrison's death on 29 November, McCartney told Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, Good Morning America, The Early Show, MTV, VH-1 and Today that George was like his "baby brother". Harrison spent his last days in a Hollywood Hills mansion that was once leased by McCartney. On 29 November 2002—on the first anniversary of George Harrison's death—McCartney played Harrison’s " Something" on a ukulele at the Concert for George.

In 2002, McCartney went on another world tour that continued through the following two years. During the tour 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 band members, Scotty Moore on lead guitar and drummer D.J. Fontana. McCartney performed during the pre-game ceremonies at the NFL's Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002, and starred in the halftime show at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. In 2003, McCartney went to Russia to play a concert in Red Square. Vladimir Putin gave McCartney a tour of the Square, and McCartney performed a private version of " Let It Be".

In what would be his first British music festival appearance, McCartney headlined the Glastonbury Festival in June 2004. 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, although Ringo Starr criticised McCartney for not asking him to play.

On 18 June 2006, McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, as in " When I'm Sixty-Four." Paul Vallely noted in The Independent:

"Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday is not merely a personal event. It is a cultural milestone for a generation. Such is the nature of celebrity, McCartney is one of those people who has represented the hopes and aspirations of those born in the baby-boom era, which had its awakening in the Sixties."

McCartney joined Jay-Z and Linkin Park onstage at the 2006 Grammy Awards in a performance of " Numb/Encore" & " Yesterday" to commemorate the recent passing of Coretta Scott King. McCartney later noted that it was the first time he had performed at the Grammys and quipped, "I finally passed the audition," which was a reference to the John Lennon comment at the end of the Let It Be film: "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition." McCartney was nominated for another Grammy Award in 2007 for "Jenny Wren"—a song from his 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which itself had been nominated as Album of the Year in 2006.

On 21 March 2007, McCartney left EMI to become the first artist signed to Starbucks's new record label, Los Angeles-based Hear Music, to be distributed by Concord Music Group. He made an appearance via a video-feed from London at the company's annual meeting. "For me, the great thing is the commitment and the passion and the love of music, which as an artist is good to see. It's a new world now and people are thinking of new ways to reach the people, and that's always been my aim". There are also rumours about McCartney doing a UK stadium tour Summer 2007. The website Scarlet Mist features dates listed for Hampden Park in Glasgow, City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, Wembley Stadium in London, and Kings Dock in Liverpool.

On 2 April 2007, a crazed fan drove through the security fence on Paul McCartney's Peasmarsh county estate shouting that he had to "get at" the ex-Beatle. The incident echoed the murder of John Lennon and the attempted murder of George Harrison. The assailant was arrested after a chase through Sussex country lanes.

McCartney played "secret gigs" in London, New York, and Los Angeles to promote his album. Several live recordings from these shows have been released as B-sides to Memory Almost Full's singles.

On 13 November 2007, The McCartney Years, a 3-DVD set was released. It contains an exclusive commentary, behind the scenes footage, over 40 music videos and two hours of Historic Live Performances. Discs 1 and 2 contain McCartney's music videos. Disc 3 contains live performances taken from Wings' Rockshow in 1976, Unplugged in 1991, and Glastonbury in 2004. Other footage includes LIVE AID, the Super Bowl XXXIX Halftime Show, interviews with Melvyn Bragg and Michael Parkinson, and the 2005 documentary Creating Chaos at Abbey Road.

Creative outlets

During the '60s, McCartney was often seen at major cultural events, such as the launch party for The International Times, and at The Roundhouse (28 January and 4 February 1967). He also 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. His first contact with the London avant-garde scene was through John Dunbar, who introduced him to the art dealer Robert Fraser, who in turn introduced Paul to an array of writers and artists. McCartney later became involved in the renovation and publicising of the Indica Gallery in Mason's Yard, London—John Lennon first met Yoko Ono at the Indica. The Indica Gallery brought McCartney into contact with Barry Miles, whose underground newspaper, The International Times, McCartney helped to start. Miles would become de facto manager of the Apple's short-lived Zapple Records label, and wrote McCartney's official biography, Many Years From Now (1998).

McCartney has also written and released several pieces of modern classical music and ambient electronica, besides writing poetry and painting. McCartney is lead patron of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, an arts school in the building formerly occupied by the Liverpool Institute for Boys. The 1837 building, which McCartney attended during his schooldays, had become derelict by the mid-1980s. On 7 June 1996, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the redeveloped building.

Classical music

The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, where the Liverpool Oratorio was premiered.
The Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, where the Liverpool Oratorio was premiered.

McCartney's first complete foray into classical music was the quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio (1991), a collaborative composition with Carl Davis. The Oratorio was premiered in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, and had its North American premiere in Carnegie Hall in New York on 18 November 1991, with Davis conducting. McCartney's singers and musicians included the opera singers Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sally Burgess, Jerry Hadley and Willard White, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the choir of Liverpool Cathedral. In 1997, McCartney made his second venture into classical music with Standing Stone, which was commissioned by EMI Records to mark EMI's 100th anniversary in the autumn of 1997. In 1999, McCartney released Working Classical.

In 2000, McCartney released A Garland for Linda; a choral tribute album, with compositions from eight other contemporary composers. The music was performed by "The Joyful Company of Singers" to raise funds for The Garland Appeal, which is a fund to aid cancer sufferers.

In March 2006, McCartney finished composing a 'modern classical' musical work named Ecce Cor Meum [Behold My Heart]. It was recorded with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and the boys of King's College Choir, Cambridge, Magdalen College School, Oxford, and was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 3 November 2006.. It was voted Classical Album of the Year in 2007 in the Classical Brit Awards.


After the recording of " Yesterday" in 1965, McCartney contacted the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale, London, to see if they could record an electronic version of the song, but never followed it up. When visiting John Dunbar's flat in London, McCartney would take along tapes he had compiled at Jane Asher's house. The tapes were mixes of various songs, musical pieces and comments made by McCartney that he had Dick James make into a demo record for him. He later made tape loops by recording voices, guitars and bongos on a Brenell tape machine, and splicing the various loops together. He reversed the tapes, sped them up, and slowed them down to create the effects he wanted (which were later used on Beatles' recordings, such as " Tomorrow Never Knows"). McCartney referred to them as electronic symphonies and was heavily influenced by John Cage at the time.

In the spring of 1966, McCartney rented a ground floor and basement flat from Ringo Starr at 34 Montagu Square, which was used by McCartney as a small demo studio for poets and avant-garde musicians to record in. Apple Records later created their own Zapple sub-label, without McCartney's direct involvement but employing a similar aesthetic.

In 1995, McCartney recorded a radio series called " Oobu Joobu" for the American network Westwood One, which McCartney described as being "wide-screen radio".

During the 1990s, McCartney collaborated with Youth of Killing Joke under the name of the Fireman, and have released two ambient albums; Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest (in 1993) and Rushes, in 1998. In 2000, he released an album, Liverpool Sound Collage, with Super Furry Animals and Youth, utilising collage and musique concrete techniques which fascinated him in the mid-1960s. Most recently, in 2005, he worked on a project with bootleg producer and remixer Freelance Hellraiser, consisting of remixed versions of songs from throughout his solo career and released under the name Twin Freaks.


McCartney was interested in animated films as a child, and later had the financial resources to ask Geoff Dunbar to direct a short animated film called the Rupert and the Frog Song in 1981. McCartney wrote the music and the script, was the producer, and added some of the characters voices. Dunbar worked again with McCartney on an animated film about the work of French artist Honore Daumier, in 1992, which won both of them a Bafta award. They also worked on Tropic Island Hum, in 1997. In 1995, McCartney directed a short documentary about The Grateful Dead. He is currently working on a documentary about a girl simply known as Cat the Pubes


In 1966, McCartney met art gallery-owner Robert Fraser, whose flat was visited by many well-known artists. McCartney met Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Peter Blake, and Richard Hamilton there, and learned about art appreciation. McCartney later started buying paintings by Magritte, and used Magritte's painting of an apple for the Apple Records logo. He now owns Magritte's easel and spectacles.

McCartney's love of painting surfaced after watching artist Willem de Kooning paint, in Kooning's Long Island barn. McCartney took up painting in 1983. In 1999, he exhibited his paintings (featuring McCartney's portraits of John Lennon, Andy Warhol, and David Bowie) for the first time in Siegen, Germany, and included photographs by Linda. He chose the gallery because Wolfgang Suttner (local events organiser) was genuinely interested in his art, and the positive reaction led to McCartney showing his work in UK galleries. The first UK exhibition of McCartney's work was opened in Bristol, England with more than 500 paintings on display. McCartney had previously believed that "only people that had been to art school were allowed to paint" - as John Lennon had.

In October 2000, Yoko Ono and McCartney presented art exhibitions in New York and London. McCartney said,

I've been offered an exhibition of my paintings at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool where John and I used to spend many a pleasant afternoon. So I'm really excited about it. I didn't tell anybody I painted for 15 years but now I'm out of the closet.

Writing and poetry

McCartney's English teacher, Alan Durband, in 1946.
McCartney's English teacher, Alan Durband, in 1946.

When McCartney was young, his mother read him poems and encouraged him to read books. McCartney's father was interested in crosswords and invited the two young McCartneys (Paul and his brother Michael) to solve them with him, so as to increase their "word power". McCartney was later inspired - in his school years - by Alan Durband, who was McCartney's English literature teacher at the Liverpool Institute. Durband was a co-founder and fund-raiser at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where Willy Russell also worked, and introduced McCartney to Geoffrey Chaucer's works. McCartney later took his A-level exams, but passed only one subject - Art.

In 2001 McCartney published 'Blackbird Singing', a volume of poems some of which were lyrics to his songs, and gave readings in Liverpool and New York. Some of them were serious: "Here Today" (about John Lennon) and some humorous (" Maxwell's Silver Hammer"). In the foreword of the book, McCartney explained that when he was a teenager, he had "an overwhelming desire" to have a poem of his published in the school magazine. He wrote something "deep and meaningful", but it was rejected, and he feels that he has been trying to get some kind of revenge ever since. His first "real poem" was about the death of his childhood friend, Ivan Vaughan.

In October 2005, McCartney released a children's book called High In The Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail. In a press release publicizing the book, McCartney said, "I have loved reading for as long as I can remember," singling out Treasure Island as a childhood favourite. McCartney collaborated with author Philip Ardagh and animator Geoff Dunbar to write the book.

Relationships and marriages

McCartney had a three-year relationship with Dot Rhone in Liverpool, and they were due to get married until Rhone lost the baby she was expecting. In London McCartney had a five-year relationship with actress Jane Asher. They were engaged to be married until they broke up in 1968. McCartney married American photographer Linda Eastman in 1969 (McCartney was the last Beatle to get married). They had four children, and remained married until Linda's death from breast cancer in 1998. In 2002, McCartney married former model Heather Mills and they had a child in 2003, although they announced their separation in May, 2006 and divorced later that year.

Widespread animosity towards Paul McCartney's wives was reported in 2004. "They [the British public] didn't like me giving up on Jane Asher," McCartney said. "I married a New York divorcee with a child, and at the time they didn't like that."

Relationship with Dot Rhone

One of McCartney's first girlfriends was called Layla, whom McCartney remembered as having an unusual name in Liverpool at the time. Layla was slightly older than McCartney and buxom, and used to ask him to baby-sit with her, which was a code word for sex. Julie Arthur, another girlfriend, was Ted Ray's niece.

McCartney's first serious girlfriend in Liverpool was Dot (Dorothy) Rhone, whom he met at the Casbah club in 1959. McCartney picked out the clothes he wanted Rhone to wear and told her which make-up to use. He also paid for Rhone to have her blonde hair done in the style of Brigitte Bardot, whom Lennon and McCartney idolised. When McCartney went to Hamburg with The Beatles he wrote regular letters to Rhone, and she accompanied Cynthia Lennon to Hamburg when The Beatles played there again in 1962. According to Rhone, McCartney bought her a gold ring, took her sightseeing around Hamburg and was very attentive and caring. Rhone later rented a room in the same house as Cynthia Lennon was living as McCartney helped with the rent. McCartney admitted that he had other girlfriends in Hamburg during his time with Rhone, and that they were usually " strippers", who knew a lot more than Liverpool girls about sex.

Shortly after McCartney returned from Hamburg in May 1962, Rhone told him that she was pregnant. They told Jim McCartney—whom they expected to be shocked at the news—but found him delighted at the prospect of becoming a grandfather. McCartney took out a marriage licence and set the wedding date for November; shortly before the baby was due. Rhone had a miscarriage in July 1962, and after a few weeks, McCartney's feelings towards Rhone "cooled off" and he finished their relationship.

Rhone later emigrated to Toronto, Canada, and McCartney met her again when The Beatles played there, and then again with Wings. Rhone said that " Love of the Loved" and " P.S. I Love You" were written about her. Years later, Cynthia Lennon gave back Rhone the gold ring that McCartney had bought in Hamburg, as Cynthia had once tried it on when Rhone was washing dishes, and had forgotten to take it off. Rhone is now a grandmother and lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

Relationship with Jane Asher

The Beatles were performing at the Royal Albert Hall, in London, when McCartney first met British actress Jane Asher on 18 April 1963, and a photographer asked them to pose with Asher. The Beatles were interviewed by Asher for the BBC, and Asher was then photographed screaming at them like a fan. McCartney later persuaded her to become his girlfriend.

McCartney soon met Jane's family: Margaret, Jane's mother, who combined her life as the mother of three children with a full-time career as a music teacher, and Jane's father, Richard, who was a physician. Jane's brother, Peter, was a member of Peter and Gordon, and Jane's younger sister, Clare, was also an actress. McCartney later gave " A World Without Love" to Peter and Gordon-as well as the song "Nobody I Know". Both songs became hits for the group. McCartney took up residence at the Ashers' house at 57 Wimpole Street, London, and lived there for nearly three years. During his time there McCartney met writers such as Bertrand Russell, Harold Pinter and Len Deighton. He wrote several songs at the Ashers', including " Yesterday", and worked on songs with John Lennon in the basement music room. Jane inspired many songs, such as " And I Love Her", " You Won't See Me", and " I'm Looking Through You". On 13 April 1965, McCartney bought a £40,000 three-storey Regency house, at 7 Cavendish Avenue, London, and spent a further £20,000 renovating it. McCartney created a music room on the top floor of his house, where he worked with Lennon. He thanked the Ashers by paying for the decoration of the front of their house.

On 15 May 1967, McCartney met American photographer Linda Eastman at a Georgie Fame concert at The Bag O'Nails club in London. Eastman was in the UK on an assignment to take photographs of "Swinging sixties" musicians in London. McCartney and Linda later went to The Speakeasy club on Margaret Street. They met again four days later at the launch party for the Sgt. Pepper album at Brian Epstein's house in Belgravia, but when her assignment was completed, Linda flew back to New York City.

On 25 December 1967, McCartney and Asher announced their engagement, and she accompanied McCartney to India in February and March of 1968. Asher broke off the engagement in early 1968, after coming back from Bristol to find Paul in bed with another woman. They attempted to mend the relationship, but finally broke it off in July 1968. Jane Asher has consistently refused to publicly discuss that part of her life.

Marriage to Linda Eastman

In May 1968, McCartney met Eastman again in New York, when Lennon and McCartney were there to announce the formation of Apple Corps. In September, McCartney phoned Eastman and asked her to fly over to London. Six months later, McCartney and Eastman were married at a small civil ceremony (when Linda was four months pregnant with McCartney's child) at Marylebone Registry Office on 12 March 1969. He later said that Eastman was the woman who, "gave me the strength and courage to work again" (after the break-up of The Beatles). Paul adopted Linda's daughter from her first marriage, Heather Louise (now a potter), and the couple had three more children together: photographer Mary Anna, fashion designer Stella Nina, and musician James Louis. Paul has claimed that he and Linda spent less than a week apart during their entire marriage, interrupted only by Paul's incarceration in Tokyo on drug charges in January 1980.

Linda McCartney died following a battle with breast cancer in Tucson, Arizona, on 17 April 1998. McCartney denied rumours that her death was an assisted suicide.

McCartney now has five grandchildren: Mary's two sons Arthur Alistair Donald (born 3 April 1999) and Elliot Donald (born 1 August 2002) and Stella's son Miller Alasdhair James Willis (born 25 February 2005) , daughter Bailey Linda Olwyn Willis (born 8 December 2006)., and son Beckett Robert Lee Willis (born 8 January 2008).

In 2006, tapes recorded by Peter Cox—with whom Linda McCartney had written a vegetarian cookery book before her death—came to light. The tapes were said to be conversations with Linda discussing her marriage. McCartney reportedly paid £200,000 to Cox for possession of the tapes.

Marriage to Heather Mills

After having sparked the interest of the tabloids about his appearances with Heather Mills at events, McCartney appeared publicly beside Mills at a party in January 2000, to celebrate her 32nd birthday. On 11 June 2002, McCartney married Mills, a former model and anti- landmines campaigner, in an elaborate ceremony at Castle Leslie in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland, where more than 300 guests were invited and the reception included a vegetarian banquet. In October 2003, Mills McCartney gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney. The baby was reportedly named after Heather's late mother Beatrice and Paul's Aunt Milly.

On 29 July 2006, British newspapers announced that McCartney had petitioned for divorce, which sparked a press furor. A settlement was announced on 21 January 2007, but Mills' lawyers denied this.


Over the years, McCartney has released work under a number of pseudonyms. Prior to the success of The Beatles, McCartney would sometimes use the stage name Paul Ramone or Ramon (a sobriquet that was later the inspiration for the name of US punk band The Ramones). In 1964, McCartney wrote Peter and Gordon's first three hit singles; "A World Without Love", "Nobody I Know", and "I Don't Want To See You Again". Curious to see if their next single would sell without his name as writer, Paul wrote "Woman" for them, but credited it to 'Bernard Webb' ('A. Smith' in the U.S.). Nevertheless, it was also a hit.

In 1968 he and Gus Dudgeon co-produced the song "I'm The Urban Spaceman" by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and were collectively credited as "Apollo C. Vermouth" because of contractual restrictions. The band later paid tribute to them with their recording "Mister Apollo", a song about an impossibly perfect body builder.

In 1971, Wings released their first album, Wild Life, with liner notes by Clint Harrigan. ( Thrillington, an orchestral version of Ram, also had liner notes by Harrigan.) McCartney later admitted he was Clint Harrigan.

In 1974, he recorded an instrumental, "Walking in the Park with Eloise", which had been written by his father. The song (with B-side, "Bridge Over The River Suite") was released on a 1974 single by the "Country Hams", which featured Wings, Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins. Both tracks were later featured on the CD reissue of Wings at the Speed of Sound.

In 1977, McCartney released Thrillington, discussed above, under the name "Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington". The album was not well received, but is now a collectible item.

In 1994 he appeared as " The Fireman" (a collaboration with Youth) with the album Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, discussed above, an album based on sounds from his album "Off the Ground". In 1998, "The Fireman" appeared again with a second album, Rushes.


McCartney is today one of Britain's wealthiest men, with an estimated fortune of £760 million. In addition to his interest in Apple Corps, McCartney's MPL Communications owns a significant music publishing catalogue, with access to over 25,000 copyrights.

McCartney earned £40 million in 2003, making him Britain's highest media earner. This rose to £48.5 million by 2005. In the same year he joined the top American talent agency Grabow Associates, who arrange private performances for their richest clients.

The Beatles catalogue

Northern Songs was established in 1963, by Dick James, to publish the songs of Lennon/McCartney. The Beatles' partnership was replaced in 1968 by a jointly-held company, Apple Corps, which continues to control Apple's commercial interests. Northern Songs was purchased by Associated TeleVision (ATV) in 1969, and was sold in 1985 to Michael Jackson. For many years McCartney was unhappy about Jackson's purchase and handling of Northern Songs.

MPL Communications

MPL Communications is an umbrella company for McCartney's business interests, which owns a wide range of copyrights, as well as the publishing rights to musicals, and controls 25 subsidiary companies.

In 2006, the Trademarks Registry reported that MPL had started a process to secure the protections associated with registering the name "Paul McCartney" as a trademark. The 2005 films, Brokeback Mountain and Good Night and Good Luck, feature MPL copyrights.

Achievements and critique


McCartney wrote in the concert programme for his 1989 world tour that Lennon received all the credit for being the avant-garde Beatle, and McCartney was known as 'baby-faced', which he disagreed with. People also assumed that Lennon was the 'hard-edged one', and McCartney was the 'soft-edged' Beatle, although McCartney admitted to 'bossing Lennon around.'

Linda McCartney said that McCartney had a 'hard-edge'—and not just on the surface—which she knew about after all the years she had spent living with him. McCartney seemed to confirm this edge when he commented that he sometimes meditates, which he said is better than "sleeping, eating, or shouting at someone".

In June 1983, McCartney released " We All Stand Together" from the animated film Rupert And The Frog Song, which was commercially successful, but was widely ridiculed as being "one of the worst songs in recent years".


McCartney is listed in The Guinness Book Of Records as the most successful musician and composer in popular music history, with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs.

He has achieved twenty-nine number-one singles in the U.S., twenty of them with The Beatles, the rest with Wings and as a solo artist. McCartney has been involved in more number-one singles in the United Kingdom than any other artist under a variety of credits, although Elvis Presley has achieved more as a solo artist. McCartney has achieved 24 number-ones in the U.K.: solo (1), Wings (1), with Stevie Wonder (1), Ferry Aid (1), Band Aid (1), Band Aid 20 (1) and The Beatles (17). McCartney is the only artist to reach the U.K. number one as a soloist ("Pipes of Peace"), duo ("Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder), trio ("Mull of Kintyre", Wings), quartet ("She Loves You", The Beatles), quintet ("Get Back", The Beatles with Billy Preston) and sextet ("Let It Be" with Ferry Aid).

McCartney's song " Yesterday" is the most covered song in history with more than 3,500 recorded versions and has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American TV and radio, for which McCartney was given an award. After its 1977 release the Wings single "Mull of Kintyre" became the highest-selling record in British chart history, and remained so until 1984.

On 2 July 2005, he was involved with the fastest-released single in history. His performance of " Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with U2 at Live 8 was released only 45 minutes after it was performed, before the end of the concert. The single reached number six on the Billboard charts, just hours after the single's release, and hit number one on numerous online download charts across the world.

McCartney played for the largest stadium audience in history when 184,000 people paid to see him perform at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on 21 April, 1990, and he played his 3,000th concert in front of 60,000 fans in St Petersburg, Russia, on 20 June 2004. Over his career, McCartney has played 2,523 gigs with The Beatles, 140 with Wings, and 325 as a solo artist.


The Beatles received their MBEs at Buckingham Palace.
The Beatles received their MBEs at Buckingham Palace.

On 12 June 1965, McCartney and the three other Beatles were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire ( MBE); they received their insignia from the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 26 October. On 11 March 1997, he was knighted 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.

McCartney is the only ex-Beatle to have been nominated as a solo artist for an Academy Award, for songs in the films Vanilla Sky and Live and Let Die. The Beatles won the 1970 Oscar for 'Best Original Song Score' for the film Let It Be. McCartney also received an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Sussex.

In February 1990, McCartney was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, At the 1983 BRIT Awards, McCartney won the award for 'British male solo artist' and 'The Sony award for technical excellence'. The minor planet 4148, discovered on 11 July 1983 by E. Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named 'McCartney' in honour of Paul.


These pages detail McCartney's recorded work with The Beatles, Wings, and his solo output from the 1960s to the present day:

  • Paul McCartney discography (including Wings' releases)
  • The Beatles discography

Paul is dead rumours

"Paul is Dead" is an urban legend alleging that McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike and sound-alike.

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