Get to Know the Beatles: Paul McCartney

 

Many people are familiar with the name Paul McCartney, but few know about the man who holds the name. As the co-founder of the world- famous Beatles, McCartney has created a lasting legend in the music industry that has transcended time, and will continue to live on through a Beatles tribute band. Born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England to Jim and Mary McCartney. Like Lennon, McCartney’s father was also absent at the time of his birth, working as a volunteer firefighter during World War II.

McCartney attended Stockton Wood Road Primary School in Speke, England from 1947 till 1949, when he transferred to the Joseph Williams Junior School in Belle Vale due to overcrowding at Stockton Wood. Four years later, McCartney and three other students took the 11-Plus exam, granting them acceptance to the Liverpool Institute, a prestigious grammar school. Theirs were the only passing scores of the 90 who took the exam. It was during his years at the Liverpool Institute that he met George Harrison while on the bus from his home in Speke.

McCartney’s mother worked as a midwife and was the primary wage earner in the family. His father was a trumpet player and pianist who led Jim Mac’s Jazz band in the 1920s. His father kept an upright piano in the family’s home and encouraged his sons to be musical, take piano lessons and learn to play. McCartney preferred to learn music by ear instead of taking lessons. When McCartney turned fourteen, his father gave him a nickel-plated trumpet, that he later traded in when rock and roll became popular, for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar, so that he would be able to sing while playing. In the beginning, he found it difficult to play the guitar right-handed, until he saw Slim Whitman played left-handed, then McCartney reversed the order of the strings. It is with this guitar that McCartney first composed “Lost My Little Girl” and composed “When I’m Sixty-Four” on the piano.

When McCartney was fourteen, his mother Mary passed away from an embolism, that later became a point of connection between him and John Lennon, who lost his mother at the age of seventeen. A year later at the age of fifteen, McCartney first met Lennon when he was playing with his band the Quarrymen at the St. Peter’s Church Hall. Soon after, the band invited McCartney to join as a rhythm guitarist where he formed a close working relationship with Lennon. In the ensuing years, The Beatles were born!

For the next ten years, McCartney was devoted to the Beatles, writing and performing songs alongside his bandmates, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. During his years with The Beatles, McCartney was not only a songwriter, but an instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and de factor musical director for The Beatles. In 1966, The Beatles performed their final commercial concert at the end of their US tour. Later that same year, McCartney completed his first musical project apart from The Beatles. McCartney produced a film score for the UK production The Family Way, which McCartney won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme. In August 1967, Epstein passed away, leaving a void within the group which McCartney stepped in to fill, essentially becoming the leader of the group that Lennon started. McCartney remained with The Beatles until April 1970, when amidst business disagreements with his bandmates, McCartney announced his departure from the group. He then filed suit for the band’s formal dissolution on December 31 of that same year.

In 1969, McCartney married Linda Eastman, and then in August they had their first child, Mary, named after McCartney’s late mother. Together they had four children, Linda’s daughter Heather (legally adopted by McCartney), Mary, Stella, and James. They were married until Linda’s death from breast cancer at the age of 56 in 1998.

In the years following the dissolution of the Beatles, McCartney continued to be involved in music. McCartney released a solo album, self-entitled McCartney, that became a US number-one album. Other than Linda’s vocal contributions, the album was McCartney’s solo work. He provided the compositions, instrumentation and vocals. In 1971, with the addition of Denny Seiwell on the drums and Linda providing vocals, McCartney released a second album, Ram which became a UK number one and a US number five album. Later that same year, guitarist Denny Laine joined the group to officially form the group Wings. The group lasted until 1981 when the group was disbanded, after having toured and having many hit songs.

McCartney has continued to cultivate his musical talents by collaborating with various artist, such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and various others. He has continued to perform live at various events and stadiums. In 2002, McCartney performed during the National Football League’s Super Bowl pre-game show, and again in 2005, headlined the Super Bowl halftime show. McCartney has made many guest appearances, and performances around the globe. Needless to say, McCartney has continued to share his music talents with the world for younger generations to experience!

 

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