Paul McCartney, musician and former member of the Beatles, was born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England. he is now Sir Paul McCartney. His mother was formerly Mary Mohan and his father was James McCartney. McCartney has one sibling, his brother James. McCartney's father was a cotton salesman and an amateur musician who played piano and trumpet. His mother Mary died of a pulmonary embolism after a mastectomy to remove breast cancer. This loss helped forge a relationship with John Lennon, who had lost his mother in a car accident when Lennon was seventeen.
Growing up, McCartney was influenced by his father's musical talent, and McCartney began playing guitar and piano. He was influenced most by American rock and roll, as well as rhythm and blues, as were the other Beatles. His favorite performer was Little Richard. Most sources agree that the first song McCartney sang in public was "Long Tall Sally."
At age fifteen, McCartney saw John Lennon perform with his group, the Quarrymen, at the church fete at Woolton. McCartney was quickly asked to join the group, and by 1958, George Harrison, a friend of Paul's from the Liverpool Institute for Boys, had also joined the Quarreymen at the suggestion of Paul. The group changed names frequently, going from the Quarreymen to Johnny and the Moondogs to the Silver Beatles. The group became the Beatles in mid-August of 1960 before they asked Pete Best to join the group before going to Hamburg. When Stu Sutcliffe showed no interest in (or talent for) playing electric bass guitar, McCartney taught himself the instrument and eventually played the iconic Hofner fiddle bass with the group, an instrument he still uses today.
As the Beatles became world-famous between 1963 and 1966, McCartney and Lennon became two of the most famous songwriting collaborators in musical history. Although each composer would generally write his own songs, the other would contribute, to a greater or lesser degree, lyrics or melody lines. Although McCartney is considered by many to be the Beatle who composed memorable ballads, with Lennon producing rock standards, nothing could be further from the truth. Both Lennon and McCartney wrote an eclectic body of material, with George Martin stating that the two men had a healthy songwriting competition during the group's golden years together. Lennon's "Strawberry Fields" was answered by McCartney's "Penny Lane." "Day Tripper was answered by "Paperback Writer."
During the Beatles' studio years, tension within the group grew as each band member began to develop individual interests and relationships. Most Beatles' histories and biographies, however, cite that Lennon and Harrison thought McCartney to be overbearing and bossy. They also believed, according to most sources, that McCartney was willing to work endlessly on his own material while not putting as much effort into the compositions of his band members.
McCartney married Linda Eastman in 1969 at the Marylebone Registry, and in 1970, before the official breakup of the Beatles, released his first solo album, McCartney. McCartney had previously had a five-year relationship with British actress Jane Asher, who is credited for inspiring (for good or ill) songs such as "Yesterday," "And I Love Her," and "I'm Looking Through You." A complete discography of McCartney's solo work may be found by consulting the SITEMAP at the end of this article.
In 1971, after the release of his second solo album, Ram, McCartney formed the band Wings with Denny Laine, Denny Seiwell, and Linda McCartney. Later, the band added Henry McCullough (and later still, Jimmy McCullough). The group toured America many times and issued many successful albums, including Band on the Run, Red Rose Speedway, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, London Town, and Back to the Egg.
Like the other Beatles, Paul McCartney began using marijuana when Bob Dylan introduced the group to cannabis in 1964. Like the other Beatles, he also took LSD, although he was initially more reticent about trying the drug. Linda McCartney was very fond of marijuana as well, and the couple allegedly used the drug on a regular basis for many years. In January of 1980, McCartney was arrested in Japan for possession of cannabis while going through customs, and the ex-Beatle spent ten days in jail. He and wife Linda were arrested again in 1984 for possession of the drug.
McCartney has engaged in many creative endeavors, such as classical music, painting, and writing. He has written books of poetry as well as classical music. Collaborating with Carl Davis, he wrote Liverpool Oratorio. In this genre, he also wrote Standing Stone, Working Classical, and Ecce Cor Meum. McCartney also wrote and directed the 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. While the film was considered a commercial flop and generally panned by critics, the soundtrack has always been hailed for its mix of new and traditional songs, some from the Beatles' and Wings' years.
Paul and Linda McCartney became animal rights activists (as well as vegetarians). McCartney is still active in these movements, and advocates against seal hunting. After marrying Heather Mills, he joined her fight against landmines, with an untold number of such mines still buried beneath the soil in many countries that are (or have been) torn apart by war.
One of McCartney's biggest regrets is allowing the Beatles catalog (published by Northern Songs, Ltd.) to be sold without actively trying to purchase it himself. Michael Jackson, joking with McCartney, said he would one day buy the catalog. McCartney and Ono had tried to purchase the catalog in 1981, but deemed the price of twenty million dollars too steep. When Nortehrn Songs rights to the music was due to expire, McCartney again did not bid, and the songs were bought by Jackson for $47.5 million dollars in 1985. Rumors that Jackson left the catalog to McCartney in his will proved to be false.
For the past eleven years, McCartney has recorded and toured with a tight band, with the former Beatle not afraid to play standards from his Wings' and Beatles' day, along with new compositions. Macca, as McCartney is known, plays with drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., keyboardist Wix Wickens, and guitarists Rusty Anderson and Brian Ray. McCartney handles bass, electric and acosutic guitars, and keyboards.
For more information on Paul McCartney, visit his official website by consulting the sidebar or the SITEMAP below.
Beatles Albums: Background and History
Beatles Connections: Official Websites for the Beatles Inner Circle
Beatles General Discussion Topics
Beatles Roadies: Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans
Beatles Solo Discography
Beatles Songs Discussed on BeatlesFacts.org
Beatles Songs - Solo
Beatles Trivia Quiz
Books About the Beatles
Books by John Lennon and George Harrison
Sites Related to Beatles History
Songs Covered by the Beatles
The Beatles Official Website
The Lennon Pages