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Paul McCartney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, (born June 18, 1942) is an English songwriter, musician and singer, best known as a member of The Beatles and one half of the songwriting partnership known as Lennon/McCartney. McCartney was a member of the The Beatles ('the greatest and most influential act of the rock era'),[1] and Wings, is a solo artist, and has taken part in many other musical projects that were put together solely for the aim of financially assisting international charity. McCartney is the most successful popular-music composer and recording artist ever,[2] with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs.[2][3]

As a Beatle, McCartney was one-half of the songwriting team credited as Lennon-McCartney, along with fellow band member John Lennon. Beatles songs attributed solely to McCartney include "Can't Buy Me Love", "Hello Goodbye", "Hey Jude", "Let It Be", and "The Long and Winding Road.[4] McCartney's song "Yesterday" is listed as the most covered song in history: more than 2,000 versions have been recorded,[5][6] and it has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American TV and radio.[7]

Following the announcement of his departure from The Beatles on 10 April 1970,[8] McCartney launched a successful solo career (he released his first album on 17 April 1970) and formed the band Wings - scoring 30 top ten singles in the United Kingdom and United States. The keyboardist for Wings was McCartney's first wife, Linda McCartney.

At the time of its release, in 1977, the Wings single "Mull of Kintyre" was the highest-selling record in British chart history (and remained so until 1984). McCartney has also worked in the classical music field (with works such as Liverpool Oratorio) and ambient/electronic music (under the pseudonym The Fireman).

McCartney was awarded the MBE on October 16, 1965, by Queen Elizabeth II, and, on 11 March 1997, he was knighted (Knight Bachelor) by her for his services to music. He dedicated his knighthood to fellow Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and the people of Liverpool.[9]

McCartney is listed in The Guinness Book Of Records[10] as the most successful musician in popular music history. He has achieved twenty-nine U.S. No. 1 singles, twenty of them with The Beatles, the rest with Wings, and as a solo artist. McCartney owns the copyrights to more than three-thousand songs, including all of the songs written by Buddy Holly, his childhood idol. He also owns the publishing rights to musicals such as Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and Grease.[11] Aside from his musical work, McCartney is a painter[12] (although until recently he kept his artwork private) and a strong advocate for animal rights,[13] vegetarianism, music education (LIPA), and against landmines.[14][15]

Early years: 1942-1957

James Paul McCartney was born in the Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, England, where his mother, Mary, had worked as the nursing sister in the maternity ward.[16][17] His brother, Michael, was born nearly two year later (7 January 1944).[16] Paul was baptised as a Roman Catholic, but was raised non-denominationally; his mother was a Roman Catholic and his father, James 'Jim' McCartney, was a Protestant.[16] Like many in Liverpool, McCartney has some Irish heritage,[18] owed to his maternal grandfather, Owen Mohin/Mohan who was born in 1880, in Tullynamalrow, County Monaghan, Ireland, and who married Mary Theresa Danher (from Toxteth, Liverpool) in 1905.[16]

In 1947, when Michael was three years old, Mary McCartney became a domiciliary midwife.[19][8] forcing her to be on-call at all hours of any day or night.[19] Her job, however, allowed the McCartney family to move to Sir Thomas White Gardens, off St. Domingo Road in Everton, to live in a rent-free flat, that was supplied by her employers.[19] They moved again shortly after, to 72 Western Avenue in Speke,[19] and then to 12 Ardwick Road (also in Speke)[20] which was part of a new estate in the suburbs of Liverpool. Paul remembered lots of mud on the unfinished roads and the feeling of being "on the edge of the world, like Christopher Columbus".[19] Money was a problem in the McCartney house; Jim McCartney earned up to £6.00 a week working for the A. Hannay cotton company - less than his wife.[19] The McCartneys did not own a television until The Queen's coronation in 1953, and never owned a car.[21]

Paul McCartney's secondary school, the Liverpool Institute
Paul McCartney's secondary school, the Liverpool Institute

Paul undertook the 11-plus exam in 1953, passing it.[20] Of the 90 children from the Joseph Williams School (in Liverpool)[22] that took the exam, only three others passed, earning them the four places available at the Liverpool Institute in Mount Street, Liverpool's top grammar school.[20][17] He befriended future bandmate George Harrison on the school bus for they lived only a block away from each other, Harrison living at 24 Upton Green.[20]

In 1955, the McCartney family moved again, to 20 Forthlin Road,[23] a council house in Allerton.[24][8] The house is now owned by The National Trust. Mary rode a bicycle to the houses where she was needed as a midwife, and one of McCartney's earliest memories is of her setting off to deliver a baby at someone's house when it was snowing heavily.[21] Mary died from breast cancer, on 31 October 1956,[25][8] when Paul was 14. It later created an additional bond between him and John Lennon, whose mother Julia Lennon died on 15 July 1958 when Lennon was 17.[26][17]

'Elvis McCartney', by Klaus Voormann
'Elvis McCartney', by Klaus Voormann

McCartney came from a musical family. His father Jim was a self-taught trumpet player and pianist who had his own band called "Jim Mac's jazz Band" in the 1920s,[27] and encouraged his two sons to be musical.[8] Jim had an upright piano in their front room that he had bought from Harry Epstein's store in Everton. McCartney's grandfather, Joe McCartney, played an E-flat tuba, the bass instrument in a brass band.[28] McCartney said that his father used to point out the bass parts in songs on the radio, and took Paul to brass band concerts in local parks.[28] McCartney senior bought his son a trumpet[29] after the death of his wife Mary. When skiffle music became popular, McCartney swapped the trumpet at Rushworth and Dreapers[29] (the largest musical instrument suppliers on Merseyside at the time) for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar, which he still owns.[29]

Paul, being left handed, found the guitar impossible to play.[29] He had never seen a left-handed guitarist, until he saw a poster advertising Slim Whitman[29] who was playing at the Liverpool Empire, and realised that Whitman played left-handed, and noticed that his guitar was strung the opposite way to a right handed player.[29][30][31] McCartney wrote "I Lost My Little Girl" on the Zenith, which was his first song.[29] He later started playing piano (using his father's upright piano) and composed the melody to "When I'm Sixty-Four".[32] His father advised him to take some music lessons (which he did) but McCartney preferred to learn 'by ear'.[33] McCartney also played his father's Framus Spanish guitar when writing early songs with bandmate John Lennon.[30]


1957-1960: The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles

Main articles: The Quarrymen and Lennon/McCartney

Fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney met John Lennon and The Quarrymen at the Woolton church hall fête on 6 July 1957. McCartney played "Twenty Flight Rock", "Be-Bop-A-Lula", and a medley of Little Richard hits to Lennon and the band during a break.[34] A few days later he was invited by Quarryman Pete Shotton to join the group as a guitarist,[35] and McCartney's first gig with The Quarrymen was on October 18, 1957 at the New Clubmoor Hall in Norris Green, Liverpool.[36]

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".[37] McCartney's father told Paul that John would get him "into trouble",[38] although he later allowed The Quarrymen to rehearse in the front room at 20 Forthlin Road.[39]

McCartney formed a close-working relationship with John Lennon and they collaborated on many songs (Lennon called it 'writing eyeball-to-eyeball').[40][8] Lennon and McCartney's first compositions were written at Forthlin Road, at Mimi's house at 251 Menlove Avenue, and at the Liverpool Institute.[41] McCartney wrote the chords and words down in a schoolbook, and prefaced each one with lines like, "A Lennon-McCartney original", or, "Another Lennon-McCartney original" [42] - conforming to an early agreement between the duo, that all the songs that were written by either of them, or together, would be credited to both songwriters.[8] This came about because Lennon liked the idea of "Lennon-McCartney", which echoed the songwriting credits of Leiber & Stoller; the songwriters whose names appeared on many of the records they owned from the 1950s.

McCartney's Liverpool Institute schoolmate, George Harrison, joined soon after as lead guitarist,[43] followed by the addition of Stuart Sutcliffe on bass.[44][8] By May 1960, they had tried several new names, including the "Silver Beetles", before shortening it to The Beatles for their performances in Hamburg in August 1960.[45]


1960-1970: The Beatles

Main article: The Beatles
McCartney in February, 1964
McCartney in February, 1964

Allan Williams started managing The Beatles in May 1960, and booked them into Bruno Koschmider's Indra club in Hamburg,[46][47] and Pete Best joined them on drums as soon as the Hamburg season was confirmed.[48] Pete Best's mother ran the Casbah Club in Liverpool,[49] where The Beatles had played a few times in August 1959.[48]

McCartney's father was reluctant to let the teenage Paul go to Hamburg, until Paul pointed out how much money he would earn, which was £2.50 per day, per musician. As this was more than his father earned, Jim finally agreed.[48] They first started playing at the Indra[47] club - sleeping in small, dirty rooms in the Bambi Kino[47] - and then later moved (after the closure of the Indra) to the Kaiserkeller,[47] which was much bigger.[50] In October 1960, they left Koschmider's club and worked at the "Top Ten Club",[47] which was run by Peter Eckhorn.[51] When McCartney and Pete Best went back to the Bambi Kino to get their belongings they found it in almost total darkness.[52] 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.[52] There was no chance of it causing any great damage, but Koschmider reported them for attempted arson, and McCartney and Best spent three hours in a local jail. This led to George Harrison being deported back to the UK for being under the age limit of 18 and working,[52] and Best and McCartney were also later deported.[53]

Although they returned to Hamburg (when Harrison became 18-years-old) Sutcliffe had left the band, and Paul was coerced into playing bass.[54] He played Sutcliffe's bass guitar, and then bought a Höfner bass, which the left-handed McCartney was able to turn upside down without the volume controls restricting his playing.[54][55] He later bought a left-handed Hofner bass.[56]

Upon their return from Hamburg to Liverpool, The Beatles played their first of many concerts at the Cavern club, on February 9, 1961.[57] McCartney knew that other bands were playing the same songs that they played, which prompted him and Lennon to write more of their own material.[58] It was at the Cavern that Brian Epstein first saw The Beatles playing live,[59] and later signed them to a management contract. Epstein managed his family's NEMS record shop, and was known as being a homosexual, but it never personally bothered McCartney, or the other Beatles.[60] McCartney explained that Epstein used to take them to after-hours late-night drinking clubs that they had previously never had access to, and greatly encouraged them when record companies refused to give them a contract.[60] McCartney knew what being gay meant, but he was never propositioned, and didn't see it as any problem at all.[60] McCartney played at the Cavern Club again, in 1999, with David Gilmour and Ian Paice.[61]

The Beatles signed a record contract that Epstein had arranged on May 9, 1962, with Parlophone records,[62] having previously been auditioned - but turned down - by Decca records, whose A&R manager, Dick Rowe, told Epstein that "Groups of guitars are on the way out, Mr Epstein - you really should stick to selling records in Liverpool."[63] "Love Me Do" was released on October 5, 1962,[62] and featured McCartney singing solo on the chorus line.[64]

All the Lennon-McCartney songs on the first pressing of Please Please Me album (recorded in one day on February 11, 1963)[65] as well as the single "From Me to You", and its B-side, "Thank You Girl", are credited to "McCartney-Lennon"; this would later change to "Lennon-McCartney".[66] For McCartney, the move to London, from Liverpool, was an exciting one,[67] and he made many trips to Charing Cross Road, just to visit the plethora of guitar shops there, even though he couldn't afford to buy a new guitar at the time.[67] McCartney and Lennon wrote their songs - during the sixties - in many places, when they had time to spare.[68] They only needed an hour or two to finish a song, which were finalised in hotel rooms after a concert, at Wimpole Street, at Cavendish Avenue,[68] and at Kenwood (John Lennon's house).[69] McCartney would also write songs for other artists, such as Billy J. Kramer, and Cilla Black.[70]

After recording sessions, Lennon, Harrison and Starr retreated to secure country houses in the so-called 'stockbroker belt' [71][72] of southern England. McCartney continued to live in central London: in Jane Asher's parents' house in the centre of town (57 Wimpole Street) and then at Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood - a short distance from the Abbey Road Studios.[71] McCartney often went to nightclubs alone, which offered 'dining and dancing until 4.00 a.m.', and featured cabaret acts.[73] McCartney would get preferential treatment everywhere he went, which he readily accepted,[74] - even once accepting an offer from a Policeman to be allowed to park McCartney's car. [73] He later took to going to gambling clubs after 4.00 in the morning, such as 'The Curzon House' (in Curzon Street, London) where he would often see Brian Epstein.[75] The Ad Lib club - above the Prince Charles Theatre at 7 Leicester Place - was later opened to cater for the emerging 'Rock and Roll' crowd of musicians, and tolerated their unusual lifestyle.[76] After the Ad Lib fell out of favour, McCartney moved on to the Scotch of St James,[77] at 13 Masons yard.[78][79] He also frequented The Bag o'Nails club at 8 Kingly Street in Soho, London, which is where he met Linda McCartney.

The Beatles stopped touring in mid-1966, after their last concert in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, on August 29, 1966.[8] The other three Beatles had often advocated the idea of stopping touring, but McCartney had resisted.[17] After the Candlestick Park concert, The Beatles scrambled into the back of a plain steel van, with nothing to sit on. This was the last straw, even for McCartney. After having played so many concerts where they couldn't be heard, and being totally exhausted, he finally agreed with the rest of the band that they should stop playing live concerts.[4]

McCartney was the first to be involved in a musical project outside of The Beatles, when he composed the score for the feature 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. Also, in 1966, he 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.[80] McCartney also wrote songs for and produced other artists including Mary Hopkin, Badfinger, and The Bonzo Dog Band.

McCartney later attempted to convince The Beatles to return to the stage, suggesting the project "Get Back", which evolved into the film and album Let It Be. Although it was released before Let It Be, Abbey Road was the last album The Beatles recorded.[17]

McCartney often pressured the engineers at EMI to get a better bass sound on Beatles recordings, and was frustrated by the relatively weak sound on their earlier records. He later used Abbey Road's new multi-track tape decks to record extra bass lines after the basic tracks had been laid down.[8]

Although all the other members had previously left The Beatles at various times (and then returned) McCartney was the one who publicly announced the break-up on 10 April 1970,[81] a week before releasing his first solo album, McCartney. It included a press-release inside with a self-written interview explaining the end of The Beatles and his hopes about the future. The Beatles' partnership was legally dissolved after McCartney filed a lawsuit on 31 December 1970.[17]


1970s: Paul McCartney & Wings

Main article: Wings (band)

As Phil Spector was putting the finishing touches to Let It Be and The Beatles stumbled towards breakup in 1970, McCartney was working on his eponymous debut solo album, McCartney. He played all the instruments ("bass, drums, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano, Mellotron, organ, toy xylophone and bow and arrow")[82] and sang all the lead vocals. Backing vocals were provided by his new wife, Linda, whom he had married the previous year. Along with "Every Night", a hit for Phoebe Snow in 1979, the album also contained the acclaimed "Maybe I'm Amazed", called "one of the best songs he ever wrote"[83] and #338 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[84] It is one of McCartney's many love songs for Linda.[85] He followed his debut album with a solo single in 1971 titled "Another Day". The accompanying album,Ram, was credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney.

Wings - Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney and Denny Laine
Wings - Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney and Denny Laine

Later that year the McCartneys formed a new band, Wings, with ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell, and released their debut album, Wild Life. McCartney insisted from the beginning of their marriage that his wife should be involved in his professional life and later tour in his band, so that they did not have to be apart during these periods.[86]

In 1972, Paul and Linda McCartney took their new band on an unplanned tour of British universities and small European venues, turning up unannounced and collecting a small entry fee at the door.[87] In February 1972 Wings released a single called "Give Ireland Back to the Irish", written after the events of Bloody Sunday, that was banned by the BBC.[88] McCartney said, "From our point of view, it was the first time people questioned what we were doing in Ireland. It was so shocking. I wrote "Give Ireland Back to The Irish", we recorded it and I was promptly 'phoned by the Chairman of EMI Sir Joseph Lockwood, explaining that they wouldn't release it. He thought it was too inflammatory. I told him that I felt strongly about it and they had to release it, he said, 'Well, it'll be banned', and of course it was".[89] Wings also embarked on the 26-date Wings Over Europe Tour.

In 1973, Wings released Red Rose Speedway. McCartney starred in a TV special, a variety show called James Paul McCartney.[90] Later that year, the band released Band on the Run,[91] which won two Grammy Awards[60] and is perhaps Wings' most lauded work. A contemporary review by Jon Landau in Rolling Stone issue #153 described the album as "the finest record yet released by any of the four musicians who were once called the Beatles [(with the possible exception of John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band)]".[92] In retrospective reviews, Q magazine placed the album at #75 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever, and it was ranked #418 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[93]

In late 1973, McCartney wrote the theme song for the James Bond film, Live and Let Die.[87] On December 5, 1973, Wings achieved a hit with the single "Jet" and in 1974, "Band on the Run" and "Junior's Farm".[94] In 1975 and 1976 the band embarked on the ambitious Wings Over the World tour, which was captured on vinyl in the number one album Wings over America.

In 1977, Wings released "Mull of Kintyre", a song about McCartney's Scottish home. McCartney upon discovering that a lot of popular, (non traditional) Scottish songs had been written by Englishmen, wondered if he could write one too. Explaining how the song came into being, McCartney stated: "I certainly loved Scotland enough, so I came up with a song about where we were living, an area called Mull of Kintyre. It was a love song really, about how I enjoyed being there and imagining I was travelling away and wanting to get back there".[89] It reached and stayed at number 1 in the UK for nine weeks and for several years held the record as the highest-selling single in the UK.[88]

In 1979, McCartney organised the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, and Wings toured again. In 1980, McCartney was arrested for being in possession of marijuana in Tokyo, and was held in custody for ten days before being deported to the UK. Wings disbanded in 1981.[95]

McCartney's relationship with John Lennon after The Beatles split in 1970 was troubled, although the pair reportedly reconciled before Lennon's death.[96][citation needed]

Lennon took up residence with Yoko Ono in New York City's Dakota building in 1973. McCartney would often call him in New York but was never sure what reception he would get.

A jam session involving Lennon and McCartney reportedly took place in 1974 and surfaced on the bootleg A Toot and a Snore in '74.

In a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine, Lennon was prompted that there was considerable speculation about whether the Beatles were now "dreaded enemies or the best of friends."[97] He replied that they were neither, and that he hadn't seen any of The Beatles for "I don't know how much time." He also said that the last time he had seen McCartney they had watched the episode of Saturday Night Live where Lorne Michaels made his $3,200 cash offer to get The Beatles to reunite on the show. The two had seriously considered going to the studio to appear on the show for a joke, but were too tired.

The solo years

McCartney's solo career began in earnest in May 1980, with the release of McCartney II, his second solo album and the first since 1970's McCartney.



The Dakota's entrance
The Dakota's entrance

Wings resumed activity in the autumn of 1980, but on the morning of 9 December 1980 McCartney woke to the news that Lennon had been murdered in outside his Dakota building home.[98] Lennon's death caused an outpouring of grief around the world and a media frenzy around the surviving members of The Beatles.[99] On the evening of 9 December, when McCartney was outside on an Oxford Street recording studio, he was surrounded by dozens of reporters and questioned. When asked for his reaction about Lennon's death, he said, "I was very shocked, this is terrible news." He also said that he had spent a part of 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." He later added, "It's a drag, isn't it?"[citation needed][100] When publicised, his "drag" remark was criticised.[citation needed] In a later interview, McCartney insisted he had intended no disrespect whatsoever and simply could not say more, given the shock and sadness he felt over Lennon's murder. Not a good enough citation. We need the original source: Rolling Stone's 20th anniversary issue-->[citation needed]

In a Playboy interview in 1984 , McCartney talked again about the death of Lennon. He said that night he had gone home and watched the news on television, whilst sitting with all his children. He then cried all evening. McCartney also said that his last telephone call to John, which was just before Lennon and Yoko released Double Fantasy, was a very happy one. During the call, Lennon said (laughing) to McCartney, "This housewife wants a career!"[101] which referred to the fact that Lennon had stopped making music for some years, so he was able to become a "house-husband", and look after Sean Lennon. McCartney carried on recording after the death of Lennon, but did not play any live concerts for some time. He claimed this was because he was nervous he was "the next" to be murdered.[102] This led to a disagreement with Denny Laine who wanted to continue touring, and subsequently left Wings.[102]

McCartney II was released in May 1980. As with McCartney before it, Paul played every instrument on the album himself, with an emphasis this time on synthesizers instead of acoustic guitars.[103][104] The accompanying single, "Coming Up", hit #2 in the British chart and (in a live version) #1 in the USA.[citation needed]

McCartney's next album reunited him with Beatles producer George Martin. 1982's Tug of War reached number #1 in the UK[105] and McCartney's last chart topping album in the U.S. to date.[citation needed] "Ebony and Ivory", a duet with Stevie Wonder, reached #1 in the UK singles charts.[106]

Two further duets followed, this time with Michael Jackson: "The Girl is Mine" (1982; #8 in the UK)[106] and "Say Say Say" (1983; #2 in the UK)[106]. 1983's "Pipes of Peace" (from the album of the same name) gave McCartney his only British number one single as a solo artist, and his last to date excepting charity records.[citation needed]

The cover of 1986's Press to Play, showing Paul and Linda
The cover of 1986's Press to Play, showing Paul and Linda

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[citation needed] "No More Lonely Nights", but the film did not do well commercially[citation needed] and received a negative critical response. Roger Ebert, for example, awarded the film a single star and wrote "you can safely skip the movie and proceed directly to the sound track".[107]

In the second half of the decade McCartney would find new collaborators. Eric Stewart had appeared on McCartney's Pipes of Peace album;[108] he co-wrote most of McCartney's 1986 album, Press to Play[109]. McCartney returned the favour by cowriting two songs for Stewart's band, 10cc - "Don't Break the Promises" (...Meanwhile, 1992), and "Yvonne's the One" (Mirror Mirror, 1995). McCartney also began a musical partnership with singer-songwriter Elvis Costello (Declan Macmanus).[110] 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.[111] Further McCartney/Macmanus compositions that were originally slated for "Flowers in the Dirt" would surface on the 1991 album Mighty Like a Rose (Costello) and 1993's Off the Ground (McCartney).

Costello talked about their collaboration:[110]

Flowers in the Dirt hit number one in the British album chart, McCartney's last album to top the charts in his home country to date.[citation needed]



McCartney released three pop/rock albums in the 1990s: Off the Ground (1993), Flaming Pie (1997), and the 1999 covers album, Run Devil Run. The decade also saw him venture into classical music, with 1991's Liverpool Oratorio followed by Standing Stone (1997) and Working Classical (1999).

In February 1990, during McCartney was awarded a Grammy for lifetime-achievement.[112] The next year, he released a latin language musical piece named Liverpool Oratorio (Liverpool Oratory) which is a choral oratorio written both for choir and orchestra.[113]

Director Geoff Dunbar worked with McCartney on an animated film about the work of French artist Honore Daumier in 1992, which won the both of them a Bafta award.[114]

In the early 1990s, the three surviving Beatles — McCartney, Harrison and Starr — reunited to work on Apple's The Beatles Anthology, a comprehensive retrospective consisting of a documentary series; three double albums of alternative takes, live recordings and remixes of Beatles songs (the first of which, Anthology 1 was released in 1995); and a photobook (released in 2000). They also created two new Beatles songs, "Free as a Bird" (1995) and "Real Love" (1996) by layering new music onto unfinished tracks Lennon had made before his death fifteen years earlier.[4]

During the filming of The Beatles Anthology, McCartney and Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono set to work in his home-studio on an extreme avant-garde musical piece called "Hiroshima Sky". The McCartney-Ono tape consists of E-minor chords played by Linda on keyboards, with Paul playing double bass, with Sean Lennon and younger members of McCartney’s family playing whatever they could lay their hands on, whilst Yoko sang.[citation needed] The tape has never been officially released.

In the late 1990s, however, McCartney and Ono were in dispute again, over the writing credits for a number of Beatles songs [115] McCartney had wanted to change the credits from the traditional Lennon-McCartney to 'Paul McCartney and John Lennon' for the song, "Yesterday". McCartney claimed that he and Lennon had agreed in the past that the credits could be reversed, if any one of them wanted to, on any future releases.[115] He later withdrew his request.[115]



Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait (2001)[116] is a documentary that features a collection of behind-the-scenes films and intimate photographs that Paul and Linda McCartney took of their family and bands over the years. Interspersed throughout the (88 mins) film is an interview by Mary McCartney with her father, Paul McCartney. Mary is the baby inside McCartney's jacket on the back cover photograph of his first solo album, McCartney, and was one of the producers of the documentary.

On 20 October 2001, McCartney took a lead role in organising The Concert for New York City in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.[117] A few days before the concert, McCartney was involved in a car crash at a crossroads in New York's East Hampton resort. He complained of back pains but did not need hospital treatment.[118]

George Harrison
George Harrison

After recovering from the car crash, McCartney received word that his longtime classmate, friend and ex-Beatles' lead guitarist George Harrison died of cancer on 29 November 2001. McCartney told Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Today and Extra about George being like his "baby brother" in The Beatles, even though Harrison was only nine months younger than McCartney. George Harrison passed away in a Hollywood Hills mansion that was once leased by Sir Paul McCartney, and was previously owned by Courtney Love.[119] On 29 November 2002, on the first anniversary of Harrison's death, McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, Joe Brown, Jools Holland, Sam Brown, Olivia Harrison, Dhani Harrison, among many others that attended the Concert For George [120] at the Royal Albert Hall in London. McCartney played "Something", and started the song by playing a ukulele unaccompanied. He explained this by saying that when he and George got together, they would often play Beatles songs (and their own) on a ukulele. McCartney, Clapton and Starr reunited on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" for the first time since the song was recorded. The profits from the concert went to Harrison's charity, the Material World Charitable Foundation.[121]

In 2002, McCartney went on another major American tour. The tour continued around the rest of the world in 2003, and 2004. His backing band, formed for the 2002 tour and continuing with the same musicians to this day, includes Rusty Anderson (guitar/vocals), Brian Ray (guitar/bass/vocals), Paul 'Wix' Wickens (keyboards, guitar, accordion, vocals), and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums, vocals). He also 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 musicians Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana.[122]

McCartney performed during the pre-game ceremonies at the NFL's Super Bowl XXXVI on 3 February 2002, and was the half-time performer at Super Bowl XXXIX on 6 February 2005. Unlike previous years, he was the 'only' performer in the entire half - time show. His set consisted of "Drive My Car", "Get Back", "Live And Let Die" and "Hey Jude".

Early in 2003, McCartney went to Russia to play a concert in Red Square. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, gave McCartney a tour of Red Square, and McCartney played a solo (private) version of "Let It Be" for the President. Whilst singing "Hey Jude" - during the concert - he called out to President Putin to sing along.[123]

In June 2004, McCartney headlined the Glastonbury Festival - which was his first ever appearance at a British music festival.[124] 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.[125]

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 (the song choice reflecting the 20 years after Live Aid), then returning almost ten hours later to close the show with "Get Back", "Drive My Car" (sharing the vocals with George Michael), "Helter Skelter", "The Long And Winding Road", and an ensemble rendition of the refrain from "Hey Jude". Ringo Starr reproached McCartney for not asking him to play with him at Live 8.[126]

On 18 June 2006 McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, an event prefigured in his song "When I'm Sixty-Four", the first song The Beatles laid down on 8 December 1966 the day they began recording what Rolling Stone magazine adjudged to be the most influential rock album of all time, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was a widely celebrated event for, as the cultural commentator 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 too. For, such is the nature of celebrity, McCartney is one of those people who throughout his life has, in some intangible way, represented the hopes and aspirations, joys and sorrows of those who were born in the baby-boom era which had its adolescent awakening in the Sixties and Seventies." [127]

McCartney joined Jay-Z and Linkin Park onstage at the 2006 Grammy Awards in a performance of his Beatles' classic "Yesterday" to commemorate the recent passing of Coretta Scott King, while also performing "Fine Line" and "Helter Skelter" on his own. McCartney later noted that it was the first time he had performed at the Grammys and said, "I finally passed the audition", which was a reference to the statement made by John Lennon at the end of The Beatles' rooftop concert - shown in the Let It Be film.

Family life

McCartney was the last Beatle to marry.[128] However, in the 1960s he enjoyed a five year relationship[citation needed] and a long engagement with actress Jane Asher.[129] Asher and McCartney split in 1968 and the following year McCartney married American photographer Linda Eastman. The McCartneys would remain married and devoted to each other until Linda's death from breast cancer in 1998, having three children along the way.

In 2002 McCartney married former model Heather Mills. The couple had one child but announced their separation in 2006.

Relationship with Jane Asher

Main article: Jane Asher

Paul McCartney first met British actress Jane Asher on 18 April 1963, when The Beatles were performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of a BBC concert broadcast.[130] As they were waiting around for the finale, a photographer who was working for the BBC's Radio Times asked them to pose with Asher, a seventeen-year-old red-headed actress who had previously appeared as a panellist on the Juke Box Jury pop music show.[131] She was asked to do an interview with The Beatles by the BBC, and was photographed screaming at them like a fan.[131] After the concert was over, they all went back to the Royal Court hotel, and then on to a journalist's apartment on King's Road in London.[131] McCartney then pursued Asher as much as he could in an effort to persuade her to become his girlfriend.[131]

McCartney soon met Jane's family. Margaret Asher, Jane's mother, combined her life as the mother of three children with a full-time career as a music teacher,[132] and Jane's father, Richard, was a physician.[132] Jane's brother, Peter, was a member of Peter and Gordon,[132] and Jane's younger sister, Clare, was also an actress.[132] According to Cynthia Lennon, Paul was "as proud as a peacock" to have Jane as a girlfriend,[133] and saw her as "a great prize".[134]

McCartney eventually took up residence at the Ashers' house at 57 Wimpole Street, London, and lived there for three years.[135] The Ashers' house was a place of intellectual stimulation for McCartney,[135] and he wrote several songs there, alone (Yesterday) and with John Lennon, in the basement music room they were allowed to use. Jane herself inspired many songs, and McCartney composed "And I Love Her", "Every Little Thing", "Eleanor Rigby", "I've Just Seen a Face", "You Won't See Me", and "I'm Looking Through You" while living there.[136] On 27 May 1965, Mccartney and Asher flew to Lisbon for a holiday in the Algarve, and he borrowed an acoustic guitar from Bruce Welch, whose house they were staying in, and worked on Yesterday.[137] McCartney later gave "A World Without Love", one of his early songs,[138] to Peter and Gordon.[139]

It was during his time at the Asher's house that McCartney met writers such as Bertrand Russell, Harold Pinter and Len Deighton.[140] Because of the fans that gathered outside, McCartney would often climb out of the window of his garret bedroom, slowly walk along a narrow parapet, climb through a neighbour's window, take the lift down to a basement flat of a couple next door, run through Browning Mews, and then meet his driver in New Cavendish Street.[141]

On 15 May 1967, McCartney met American photographer Linda Eastman at a Georgie Fame concert at the Bag O'Nails club in London;[142][17] Eastman was in the UK on an assignment to take photographs of musicians in what Time magazine called "swinging London".[143] McCartney, Linda and members of the The Animals went on to The Speakeasy, a club on Margaret Street,[144] and Eastman later accompanied McCartney back to his house in Cavendish Avenue.[145] The two met again four days later, at a launch party for the Sgt. Pepper album at Brian Epstein's house in Belgravia. Linda had a four-year-old daughter back in New York City, and flew back to New York when her assignment was completed.

Six weeks later, McCartney and Jane Asher flew to Greece with the other Beatles and their wives on a sailing trip, as The Beatles had decided to look for an island to buy that they could all live on.[146] On 25 December 1967, McCartney and Asher announced their engagement.[17] Marianne Faithfull remembered Paul and Jane "never getting on very well", and described one evening (at Cavendish Avenue) when Paul wanted a window to be open, and Jane wanted it shut. Paul would frequently get up and open the window, and then Jane would get up and close it, although neither of them made any comment about it during the whole evening.[147] McCartney didn't stop having sexual relationships - one-night stands - with other women during his time with Asher,[148] because he felt that as they were not married, it was allowed.[148] Asher broke off the engagement in July 1968, after coming back from Bristol and finding Paul in bed with another woman. Jane Asher has constantly refused to discuss this part of her life.[149]

Marriage to Linda Eastman

Main articles: Linda McCartney, Heather McCartney, Mary McCartney, Stella McCartney, and James McCartney

In September of 1968, McCartney phoned Linda Eastman, the woman he said that "gave me the strength and courage to work again",[150] in New York and asked her to fly over to London. Linda brought her daughter Heather with her. McCartney and Eastman married at a small civil ceremony (when Linda was four months pregnant with McCartney's child) at Marylebone Registry Office on 12 March 1969.[17] As they lived on a farm in East Sussex,[150] Paul adopted Linda's daughter from her first marriage, Heather Louise (born in 1962 and now a pottery designer) and they went on to have three other children together: Mary Anna, born in 1969 and named after Paul's late mother, she is now a photographer; Stella Nina, born in 1971, and now an award-winning fashion designer,[151] and James Louis, born in 1977) and named after Paul's late father James and Linda's late mother Louise. James played guitar on his father's albums Flaming Pie and Driving Rain, and his mother's posthumous Wide Prairie.[152] In 1973, he wrote My Love, a song to commemorate that he loved his wife which became Wings first number one single hit in England.[153]

Ordinary life went on at the farm as Linda made the beds and as local kids were invited to dance parties in the couple's barn.[150] As she was interviewed on National Public Radio, she states that the couple wasn't together for the press or the public and at that time, Paul McCartney felt pressure in the band, she was there to relieve that pressure.[153] The McCartneys would remain married to each other until Linda McCartney's death from breast cancer in 1998. Of all The Beatles, McCartney was the last to marry and the only one whose first marriage did not end in divorce.[8] The McCartneys reportedly spent less than a week apart during their entire marriage, interrupted only by Paul's brief incarceration in Tokyo on drug charges in January 1980.[154] After Linda's death,[155] Paul pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms.[156] McCartney now has three grandsons: 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).[157]

Marriage to Heather Mills

Main article: Heather Mills McCartney

On June 11, 2002, McCartney married Heather 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 where invited and the reception included a vegetarian banquet.[158]

On October 28, 2003, Mills McCartney gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney.[159] The baby was named after Heather's late mother Beatrice and Sir Paul's Aunt Milly.[160]

The downspin in their relation was brought to the attention of the media when miss McCartney threw both the diamond and sapphire engagement rings from a hotel balcony in Florida, following a fight.[158]

In May 2006, after events such as McCartney changing the locks at the London mansion, he and his wife Heather announced their separation, claiming that the constant media attention they received was detrimental to maintaining a harmonious relationship.[161] Not long after, on July 29, 2006 British newspapers announced that Sir Paul had filed for divorce from Heather.[162] McCartney blamed his estranged wife for the split, saying that her behaviour was rude and argumentative.[158] She responded with the accusation that McCartney was a "controlling husband".[158] McCartney and Mills have hired the lawyers who represented Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales respectively when they were divorcing.[163][158]

Announcement of the impending divorce sparked a press furore,[164] with sections of the British press claiming that Mills was formerly a prostitute[165] and pornography model,[166] and Mills alleging that McCartney had stabbed her in the arm with a broken wine glass.[167][166] Speculation was also rife over the size of any divorce settlement, with estimates ranging from £50 million[citation needed] and Heather's bid for "half his £1billion fortune".[168] Paul and Heather made no prenuptial agreement.[169]

A 2004 article reported "widespread animosity towards Paul McCartney and his wives",[129] which McCartney felt dated back to the late 1960s. "[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."[129]

Art, writing and classical music

During his time in The Beatles, McCartney was often seen at major cultural events, such as the launch party for the International Times - which McCartney helped to start[170] - and at The Roundhouse.[171] He also avidly 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.[171] Before the filming of A Hard Day's Night began, it was McCartney who suggested to producer Walter Shenson that the Alun Owen, a Liverpudlian Welshman who had previously only written dramas for TV, be asked to write the script.[172]

His first contact to the London avant-garde scene in London was through John Dunbar,[171] who introduced him to the art dealer Robert Fraser, who then introduced Paul to an array of writers and artists.[171] McCartney later became involved in the renovation and publicising of the Indica Gallery, which was in Mason's Yard (off Duke Street, London) which is where Lennon met Yoko Ono, who was showing an exhibition there.[171]

Paul 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, known to McCartney from his schooldays, had become derelict by the mid-1980s. On 7 June 1996, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the redeveloped building.

Indica Gallery

John Dunbar, Peter Asher and Barry Miles decided to start the Indica gallery in September 1965, as an outlet for art and literature.[173] They found empty premises at 6 Masons Yard, which was in the same courtyard as the Scotch of St James club,[77] which McCartney frequently visited.[173] McCartney was the Indica bookshop's first customer - before it was officially opened - as he used to look through the books in the basement at night, and leave a note for he books he had taken to be put on his account.[173] Some of the first books he bought were Ed Sanders "Peace Eye Poems'", "and the Mind" by Deropp, and "Gandhi on Non-violence".[174] The wood that was needed for the shelves and shop counter was picked up from the lumber yard by Dunbar and Miles in McCartney's Aston Martin car.[174] Artists such as Pete Brown also helped in the renovation of the Indica, and Brown remarked that as he was helping to paint the interior, he would often look over his shoulder and see McCartney sawing a piece of wood.[175] Jane Asher donated the shop's first cash till,[176] which was an old Victorian till that she had played with as a young girl.[176] McCartney helped to draw the flyers - which were used to advertise the Indica's opening - and also designed the wrapping paper.[175][177]

Classical music

In 1991, McCartney made his first complete foray into classical music, collaborating with Carl Davis to compose the quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio. The Liverpool Oratorio had its North American premiere in Carnegie Hall in New York on 18 November 1991, with Davis conducting.[178] In 1997, he made his second venture into classical music with Standing Stone,[179] and in 1999, he released Working Classical.[180]

In 2000, McCartney released A Garland for Linda; a choral tribute album for Linda, with compositions from eight other contemporary composers: John Tavener, Judith Bingham, John Rutter, David Matthews, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. [181] The music was performed by "The Joyful Company of Singers", in commemoration of Linda and to raise funds for The Garland Appeal, which is a fund to aid cancer sufferers.[182]

In March 2006, McCartney finished composing a 'modern classical' musical work named Ecce Cor Meum; it was later recorded at Abbey Road Studios with some well known musicians, including the Academy of St Martins in the Fields, and the boys of King's College Choir and Magdalen College, Oxford. The piece was released, by EMI Classics, on 25 September 2006.[183]. It received its live world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 3 November 2006, with McCartney, family and friends such as Sir George Martin in attendance. At the end of the performance, McCartney took to the stage to thank all those involved with Ecce Cor Meum.[184]


After the recording of Yesterday with a string quartet, McCartney contacted the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in Maida Vale, London, to see if they could record an electronic version of Yesterday.[185] Even though he visited them and proposed the idea, he never followed it up.[185]

Before visiting John Dunbar's flat at 29 Lennox Gardens, London, McCartney would take along tapes he had compiled at Jane Asher's house.[186] 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.[187] He later made tape loops by recording voices, guitars and bongos on a Brenell tape machine, and gluing together the various loops by himself with a bottle of EMI glue.[188] He reversed the tapes (which was an effect later used on Beatles recordings) speeded them up, and slowed them down to create the effects he wanted.[189] McCartney referred to them as electronic symphonies.[188] In 1995, McCartney recorded a radio series called, "Oobu Joobu"[190] for the american network Westwood One,[191] which McCartney described as being "wide-screen radio".[191][192]

In the 1990s, McCartney collaborated with Youth of Killing Joke under the name of The Fireman, and they have released two ambient albums; Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest (in 1994) and Rushes, in 1998. In 2000, he released an album, Liverpool Sound Collage,[193] with Super Furry Animals and Youth, utilising collage and musique concrete techniques which fascinated him in the mid-1960s. Most recently, in 2005, he has worked on a project with bootleg producer and remixer Freelance Hellraiser, under the name Twin Freaks.[194]


McCartney is also a painter. In April 1999, he exhibited 70 of his paintings (featuring McCartney's portraits of John Lennon, Andy Warhol, David Bowie and other friends) for the first time in Siegen, Germany. The exhibition also included photographs taken by his late wife, Linda.[12] He chose the obscure gallery to show his paintings because he believed that Wolfgang Suttner (local events organiser) was genuinely interested in his art.[12] The positive reaction to this first exhibition led to McCartney showing his work in galleries across the UK.[12] The first UK exhibition of Sir Paul McCartney's art work was opened in Bristol, England with more than 500 paintings on display.[12]

McCartney had previously believed that "only people that had been to Art school were allowed to paint", (as John Lennon had) but when he reached the age of 40, he realised that this was not true.[12]

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

Writing and poetry

Alan Durband in 1946
Alan Durband in 1946

McCartney was inspired in his early years by Alan Durband,[196] 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, when Willy Russell also worked there.[197] Durband introduced the young McCartney to Geoffrey Chaucer, and the The Miller's Tale.[197] McCartney later took his A-level exams, but only passed in English.[198]

When Lennon and McCartney were still teenagers, they tried to write a play together (based on the styles of John Osbourne and Harold Pinter) about a Jesus-like character called 'Pilchard'.[199] Lennon had already started writing his Lewis Carroll-inspired verses,[199] and McCartney had previously written poems, such as "The Worm Chain Drags Slowly".[196] As a joke in Hamburg, McCartney would open up a copy of Yevtushenko poetry and read it aloud when a certain sax player walked into the room. Everybody in the room would listen attentively until the the sax player left, and then burst into laughter.[200]

In 2001 McCartney published 'Blackbird Singing',[201] a volume of poems, some of which were lyrics to his songs, and gave readings in Liverpool and New York - the selections being serious ("Here Today" - about John Lennon) and humorous ("Maxwell's Silver Hammer").[202] In the foreword of the book, McCartney explains 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.[203] His first real poem (after having written song lyrics for The Beatles) was about the death of his childhood friend, Ivan Vaughan. The poem, "Ivan", led McCartney to write more, like "Full Moon's Eve":[203]

In October 2005, McCartney released a children's book called High In The Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail,[205][206] which tells the story of a frog and a squirrel who save the lives of other animals. McCartney - in a press report about the release of the (High In The Clouds) book - said that he had loved reading for as long as he could remember, and as a child he had read, and enjoyed, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and went on to say that Nicholas Nickleby is his favourite Charles Dickens book.[207] McCartney collaborated with (veteran children's book author) Philip Ardagh and animator Geoff Dunbar, to write the book.[208]


McCartney's lifestyle was greatly altered by the success of The Beatles, and the income he earned. The advent of the contraceptive pill changed many people's opinions - as well as McCartney's - about marriage, and sexual relationships.[209]

Recreational drug use

McCartney's introduction to drugs started in Hamburg, Germany.[210] As The Beatles had to play long sets, they were often given "Prellies" (Preludin) by the German customers, or they were supplied by Astrid Kirchherr.[210] McCartney would usually take one, while Lennon would take four or five.[210] After having been introduced to Pot by Bob Dylan, and journalist Al Aronowitz in New York on 24 August 1964,[211] McCartney remembered getting "very high" and giggling uncontrollably.[212] After that first experiment, McCartney's use of Marijuana became regular,[211] and any future lyrics that contained the words "high", or "grass", were intentionally written as a reference to Marijuana.[213] The song, Got to Get You into My Life, was written as a direct reference to it.[213] John Dunbar's flat at 29 Lennox Gardens, in London, became a regular hang-out for McCartney, where he could talk to musicians, writers and artists, and smoke dope.[214] It was at Lennox Gardens that McCartney first saw someone injecting heroin, and didn't enjoy watching the experience at all.[187]

Dick Lester said that during the filming of Help!, he overheard "two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen", trying to cajole Paul into taking heroin, but McCartney had refused,[215] although The Beatles would occasionally smoke a Spliff in the car on the way to the studio during the filming of Help!,[216] which often made them forget their lines.[216]

Cocaine was sometimes available in the studio after the Sgt. Pepper album.[217]

Although he was the last Beatle to take LSD,[citation needed] McCartney was the first British pop star to openly admit to using it,[citation needed] and his revelation during an interview in summer 1967 made headlines around the world.[citation needed] The admission was followed by a national TV interview in the UK on Independent Television News on 19 June 1967. McCartney was asked about his recent admission of LSD use, and his answer was unusually candid for the era:

In spite of his statements then, and his admission in 2004 that he had also used cocaine regularly at that time,[218] McCartney was fortunate to be one of the few leading British pop stars who was not arrested by Norman Pilcher's Drug Squad, as had Lennon, Harrison and many other friends, including Donovan, and several members of The Rolling Stones.[154]

McCartney's attitude about marijuana was evident during the Summer of Love, in the 1960s. McCartney put his name to a full-page advertisement in The Times, on July 24, 1967, which asked for the legalisation of the possession of marijuana (pot), the release of all prisoners imprisoned because of possession charges, and government research into marijuana medical uses. The advertisement, which was sponsored by a group called Soma, was signed by 65 people, including all four of The Beatles, their manager Brian Epstein, author Graham Greene, psychologist R.D. Laing, 15 doctors, and two members of Parliament.[219]

On 16 January 1980, McCartney and Wings went to Tokyo for a series of 11 concerts in Japan.[91] While going through customs at Narita Airport, officials found 7.7 ounces (218.3 g) of marijuana in McCartney's luggage.[154][91] He was arrested and taken to a Tokyo prison whilst the Japanese government decided what to do. McCartney had been previously denied a visa to Japan (in 1975) because he had been convicted twice in Europe for possession of marijuana. [154][220] During the ten nights he spent in prison he made a mental list of all the drugs that are legal, but still dangerous. He thought about the fact that many people are addicted to legal drugs, such as cigarettes, whiskey, aspirin, and valium, but marijuana was still illegal.[219]

Whilst Japan customarily deports foreigners who bring small amounts of marijuana into the country,[citation needed] some public figures called for a trial by jury of McCartney for drug-smuggling. If he had been convicted, he would have faced up to seven years in prison.[91]

The other members of Wings cancelled the tour and left Japan. After his time in jail, McCartney was released without charge and deported. He was told that he would not be welcome again in Japan for quite some time to come.[154]


Paul and Linda McCartney became outspoken vegetarians and animal-rights activists. They said that their vegetarian instincts were realised when they happened to see lambs frolicking in a field as they ate a meal of lamb.[221] McCartney has also credited the 1942 Disney film Bambi - in which the young deer's mother is shot by a hunter - as the original inspiration for him to take an interest in animal rights:

In 1991, Linda introduced her own line of vegetarian meals to the general market and wrote a book on the subject.[223][221] Paul McCartney remains a committed vegetarian and is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In his first interview after Linda's death, he promised to continue working for animal rights.[224]

In 2002, McCartney gave his support to a campaign against a proposed ban on the sale of certain vitamins, herbs and mineral products in the European Union.[225]

Following his marriage to Heather Mills, McCartney joined with her to campaign against landmines; both husband and wife are patrons of Adopt-A-Minefield.[226] In 2003, he played a personal concert for the wife of a wealthy banker and donated his one million dollars to the charity. [227] He also wore an anti-landmines t-shirt on the following Back in the World tour.[226]

In 2006, the McCartneys travelled to Prince Edward Island to bring international attention to the seal hunt. Their arrival on the floes sparked much attention in Newfoundland and Labrador where the hunt is of cultural and economic significance.[13] The couple also debated with Newfoundland's Premier Danny Williams on the CNN show Larry King Live; they stated that the fishermen should quit hunting seals and begin a seal watching business.[228] McCartney has also criticised China's fur trade.[229][230]

McCartney has been involved with a number of charity recordings and performances. In 2004, he donated a song to an album to aid the "US Campaign for Burma", in support of Burmese Nobel Prize winner Suu Kyi.[231] He had previously been involved in the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea,[232] Ferry Aid,[233] Band Aid, Live Aid, and the recording of "Ferry Cross the Mersey" following the Hillsborough disaster.


McCartney's first contract (with the other Beatles) was with Brian Epstein in January 1962, and it stated that Epstein would take 25 per cent of McCartney's gross income after a certain threshold had been reached,[60] which meant that Epstein took 25 per cent of the Gross income, and then The Beatles would receive an equal share of the Net income, after expenses had been deducted.[234] James Trevor Isherwood[235] (who worked for Epstein) was shocked that Epstein's percentage was larger than the normal ten per cent that agents normally charged.[234] McCartney's second contract was with EMI records, which paid him one farthing per single sold. This royalty rate was reduced for overseas sales, and The Beatles received half of one penny (split between the whole band) for singles sales outside of the UK. George Martin said later that it was a "pretty awful" contract.[236] Nevertheless, McCartney is today one of Britain's wealthiest men, with an estimated fortune of £760 million.[237] In addition to his interest in The Beatles' Apple Corps, McCartney's MPL Communications owns a significant music publishing catalogue.

McCartney earnt £40 million in 2003, making him Britain's highest media earner.[238] This had risen to £48.5 million by 2005.[239] In the same year he joined the top American talent agency Grabow Associates, who arrange private performances for their richest clients. McCartney reportedly demands at least £1m for a two-hour performance.[240] An insider from the agency said, "He won't return any calls about offers he considers derisory. Even for offers he might consider taking up - those in excess of the £1 million mark - he takes a couple of days to get back to us. So to say that Sir Paul won't get out of bed for less than a million pounds is a very good way of putting it."[240]

The Beatles catalogue

Main articles: Apple Corps and Northern Songs

The Beatles' partnership was replaced in 1968 by a jointly held company, Apple Corps. Apple continue to oversee The Beatles' commercial interests and McCartney retains his share in the company. Most of The Beatles recordings are owned by EMI, with Apple just collecting the royalties, but the company's Apple Records imprint owns a catalogue of records by other artists including Badfinger and Billy Preston.

Most Lennon/McCartney songs are published by Northern Songs, a company established in the 1960s by Dick James, Brian Epstein, and The Beatles. Northern was purchased by Associated TeleVision in 1969 and sold on in 1985 to McCartney's then-friend, Michael Jackson. For many years McCartney was unhappy about Jackson's purchase and handling of Northern Songs. When he appeared on NBC's programme "Later" - in the late '80s - Bob Costas asked McCartney how much he was annoyed to hear Beatles songs used in commercials. McCartney's reply was, "A lot." Nonetheless, in recent years McCartney has made it clear that he does not wish to acquire The Beatles catalogue, and has said, "I do get some cash from the publishing already, and in a few years more of the rights will automatically be reverting to me. The only annoying thing is when I tour America, I have to pay to play some of my own songs."[241]

MPL Communications

Main article: MPL Communications

MPL Communications is the umbrella company for McCartney's business interests. In addition to handling McCartney's post-Beatles work, MPL (McCartney Productions Limited) has become one of the world's largest privately-owned music publishers through its acquisition of numerous other publishing companies.[242]

MPL publishing owns a wide range of copyrighted material - covering nearly 100 years of music - by composers including McCartney, Buddy Holly, Jerry Herman, Frank Loesser, Meredith Willson, Harold Arlen and many others,[242] with songs such as, “Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” (which was made famous by Al Jolson) in its catalogue. It also controls 25 subsidiary companies.[243]

In October of 2006, the Trademark Registry in London reported that MPL Communications had started a process to trademark Paul McCartney's name.[244]


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 Ramon(e), a name that inspired The Ramones to name their band.[4] 'Paul Ramone' was McCartney's credited name as guest performer (drums and backing vocals) on the song by The Steve Miller Band, "My Dark Hour".

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").[139] McCartney was curious to see if their next single would sell without a famous name on it. Paul wrote the song, "Woman", but it was credited as having been written by 'Bernard Webb' (i.e. McCartney) and it was also a hit. 'Bernard Webb' was substituted for 'A. Smith' in the U.S.[139]

McCartney's pseudonyms have usually been reserved for more experimental, and less-commercial material. In 1968, he produced the song "I'm The Urban Spaceman" by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and McCartney was credited as Apollo C. Vermouth, due to contractual restrictions (He was not allowed to have his name credited on a rival record label's record). The band returned the favor with a track entitled "Mr. Apollo"; a song about an impossibly perfect body builder.[245]

In 1974, McCartney recorded an instrumental, "Walking in the Park with Eloise"[246], which had been written by his father, James. The song (and the B-side, "Bridge Over The River Suite") was released on a 1974 single by "The Country Hams", which featured Paul, Linda, Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins. Both tracks were later featured on the CD Wings at the Speed of Sound.[247]

In 1977, McCartney released an orchestral version (with no vocals) of the Ram album, under the name "Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington" ("That's no joke," said the album's press release.)[248] The British tabloid press often refer to McCartney as "Macca."

Achievements and critical reception


Critical reception

McCartney wrote - in the concert programme for his 1989 World Tour - that John Lennon received all the credit for being the avant-garde Beatle.[170]


McCartney's song "Yesterday" is listed as the most covered song in history with more than 2,000 versions recorded,[5] and has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American TV and radio (for which McCartney was given an award).[7] McCartney is the most successful popular-music composer and recording artist ever,[2] with sales of 100 million singles, and 60 gold discs.[249][2]

McCartney has been involved in more Number #1 singles than any other artist under a variety of credits, although Elvis Presley has achieved more as a solo artist. McCartney has achieved 24 Number #1s: Solo (1), Wings (1), with Stevie Wonder (1), Ferry Aid (1), Band Aid (1), Band Aid 20 (1) and The Beatles (17). [250]

While most artists have hits with same combination of musicians, McCartney is the only artist to reach the UKs #1 spot as a soloist ("Pipes of Peace"), as part of a duo ("Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder), a trio ("Mull of Kintyre" with Wings), a quartet ("She Loves You", with The Beatles), a quintet ("Get Back", The Beatles with Billy Preston) and a sextet ("Let It Be" with Ferry Aid).

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[251] was released only 45 minutes after it was performed, and before the end of the Live 8 concert. The single reached number 6 on the Billboard charts just hours after the single release, and hit number 1 on numerous online download charts across the world.[252]

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 April 21, 1990,[253] and he played his 3,000th concert in front of 60,000 fans in St Petersburg, Russia, on June 20, 2004. [254] McCartney has played 2,523 gigs with The Beatles, 140 with Wings, and 285 as a solo artist.[255]


Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

McCartney was awarded the MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) with the other Beatles, on October 16, 1965, by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.[256] In 1997, McCartney was knighted (Knight Bachelor) for his services to music, meaning that he would thereafter be titled as Sir Paul McCartney, MBE.[9]

McCartney is the only Beatle to ever have been nominated for an Academy Award in his own right, for the title songs to the films Vanilla Sky, and Live and Let Die. He has also received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex.

In March 1999, McCartney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, having already been inducted with the rest of The Beatles in 1988.

The minor planet 4148, discovered on July 11 1983 by E. Bowell at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named 'McCartney' in honor of Sir Paul. [257]


For detailed discographies see: The Beatles discography and Paul McCartney discography


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  156. ^ McCartney vows to keep his wife’s work aliveThe Himalayan Times, October 15, 2006
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  201. ^ 'Blackbird Singing' Poem Book - Saturday October 14, 2006
  202. ^ Blackbird Singing - Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999, Paul McCartney, Faber and Faber, 4 March 2002, ISBN 0571209920
  203. ^ a b McCartney’s foreword to “Blackbird singing”
  204. ^ Blackbird Singing "Full Moon’s Eve"
  205. ^ High in the clouds, Paul McCartney and Philip Ardagh , Faber Children's Books, 5 October 2006, ISBN 0571225020
  206. ^ “High in the clouds”
  207. ^ “High in the Clouds” press release
  208. ^ Geoff Dunbar
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  218. ^ McCartney’s drug use
  219. ^ a b Paul McCartney’s arrest in Japan
  220. ^ Sir Paul reveals Beatles drug use
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  222. ^ ‘Bambi’ was cruel 12 December 2005
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  225. ^ Protest at ban on ‘mineral’ products, BBC News, 19 November 2002
  226. ^ a b
  227. ^ McCartney plays for Ralph Whitworth
  228. ^ Interview transcript, McCartney and Heather, Larry King Live, Seal cullCNN - Aired March 3, 2006 - 21:00 ET
  229. ^ "McCartney attacks China over fur" - 28 November 2005
  230. ^ The McCartneys call for ban on fur trade
  231. ^ US campaign for Burma protest 20 June, 2005
  232. ^ Concert for for Kampuchea 9 November 2006
  233. ^ Ferry Aid Single covers 9 November 2006
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  235. ^ James Isherwood 9 November 2006
  236. ^ "Beatles History -- 1962" at Beatles Discography.
  237. ^ McCartney’s Money Tuesday, 31 October 2006
  238. ^ "McCartney tops media rich list", BBC News, 30 October 2003 (link)
  239. ^ 48 million in 2005 The Telegraph 18/05/2006
  240. ^ a b Guest speaker Evening News - Sat 21 May 2005
  241. ^ McCartney talking about The Beatles catalogue
  242. ^ a b MPL music publishing
  243. ^ List of MPL subsidiary companies
  244. ^ Trademark The Guardian - Saturday October 14, 2006
  245. ^ Inside The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, (DVD) Catalogue number: CRP1848, 22 August 2005
  246. ^ “Walking in the Park with Eloise” Apple, 18th October 1974, Catalogue No: EMI 2220
  247. ^ Wings At The Speed Of Sound, (CD) June 1993; Cat. number CDP78914027
  248. ^ Thrillington, EMI, Catalogue number: CZ543, Original Release: May 17, 1977
  249. ^ 100 million records sold
  250. ^ Number 1 singles
  251. ^ Live 8 (DVD) Various Artists, 7 November 2005, Cat. No: ANGELDVD5
  252. ^ Live 8, Wednesday July 13 2005
  253. ^ One Year Ago: Internet Gives McCartney All-Time Largest Album Promo
  254. ^ Sir Paul hits 3,000 in Russia
  255. ^ 3,000 concerts played (20 June, 2004)
  256. ^ The Beatles receive their MBEs
  257. ^ Planet called McCartney


  • Davies, Hunter (2004). The Beatles. Cassell Illustrated (revised). ISBN 1844031047.
  • Harry, Bill (2002). The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia. Virgin Books. ISBN 0753507161.
  • Lennon, Cynthia (1980). A Twist of Lennon. Avon Books. ISBN 0380454505.
  • Lewisohn, Mark (2002). Wingspan. Little, Brown, and Company (New York). ISBN 0316860328.
  • McGee, Garry (2003). Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings. Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 0878333045.
  • Miles, Barry (1998). Many Years From Now. Vintage-Random House. ISBN 0-7493-8658-4.
  • Peel, Ian (2002). The Unknown Paul McCartney. Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1903111366.
  • Spitz, Bob (2006). The Beatles: The Biography. Little, Brown, and Company (New York). ISBN 1845131606.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Paul McCartney
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Paul McCartney
  • Paul McCartney Official site
  • Paul McCartney Animation site
  • Paul McCartney at the Internet Movie Database
  • Official UK/US Discography
  • Paul McCartney International FanClub
  • Paul McCartney Albums
  • The Art of Paul McCartney - Exhibition 2002
  • Macca Central, important non-official Paul McCartney fansite
  • Paul McCartney Ecce Cor Meum audio Podcast




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