"People will keep thinking about a Beatles reunion until we're dead, and then
they'll probably hope for a reunion. They'll offer us $2 million to reunite with
Elvis." Paul McCartney
A former singer, songwriter and guitarist for The Beatles, the biggest rock band
of the 1960s, Paul McCartney wrote most of The Beatles songs, including "A Hard
Day's Night," "Yesterday," "Eleanor Rigby," "Let it Be," "Hey, Jude" (along with
John Lennon) and the first heavy metal song "Helter Skelter." Following the
break-up of The Beatles, McCartney began his solo career in 1970 with his debut
album McCartney, and later formed the band Wings (with first wife Linda
Eastman). He continued to gain praise with his solo albums Ram (1971), McCartney
II (1980), Tug of War (1982), Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984), Flowers in
the Dirt (1989) and Flaming Pie (1997). The acclaimed British musician delivered
such successful singles as "Live and Let Die" (1973), "Maybe I'm Amazed" (1977),
"Mull of Kintyre/Girls' School" (1977), "Coming Up" (1980), "Ebony and Ivory"
(with Stevie Wonder, 1982), "Say Say Say" (with Michael Jackson, 1983), "Pipes
of Peace" (1983), "No More Lonely Nights" (1984) and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely
Hearts Club Band" (with U2, 2005).
McCartney recently released his newest album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard
(2005), which contained the lead single "Fine Line" and the follow-up "Jenny
Wren." He also became the first artist in history to broadcast live music into
space with his performance of The Beatles' song “Good Day Sunshine,” on November
13, 2005. The divergent musician was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999. He was
knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.
Childhood and Family:
Son of working-class parents James McCartney (British; was a cotton salesman and
leader of Jim Mac Jazz Band) and Mary Patricia McCartney (born on September 29,
1909; Irish Catholic; was a nurse and midwife; died of breast cancer on October
31, 1956), James Paul McCartney was born on June 18, 1942, in Liverpool,
Merseyside, England, UK. Paul McCartney, nicknamed Macca, has one brother,
Michael McCartney (photographer; born in 1944; better known as Mike McGear of
the satirical group “The Scaffold”) and one half-sister, Ruth McCartney (singer;
adopted by McCartney's father; daughter of James McCartney's second wife). His
cousins are actress/singer Kate Robbins and actor Ted Robbins.
On March 12, 1969, McCartney married American photographer, actress and composer
Linda Eastman (born on September 24, 1941). They have three children: son James
McCartney (born in 1978) and daughters Stella McCartney (fashion designer; born
in 1972) and Mary McCartney (born in 1970). McCartney also has one stepdaughter
from Linda’s previous marriage, Heather McCartney (born in 1963). Their marriage
lasted nearly 30 years, until Linda died on April 17, 1998, of breast cancer.
In 1999, McCartney met former model and activist Heather Mills (born on January
29, 1968). They became engaged on July 23, 2001, and married on June 11, 2002.
On October 28, 2003, the couple welcomed daughter Beatrice Milly McCartney.
McCartney recently became a grandfather for the third time after daughter Stella
gave birth to a son (February 2005).
Live and Let Die
“It was Elvis who really got me hooked on beat music. When I heard Heartbreak
Hotel, I thought, this is it.” Paul McCartney
In 1957, at a church picnic, Paul McCartney met John Lennon, who later invited
McCartney to be a guitarist of Lennon's band The Quarrymen. George Harrison,
McCartney's school friend, soon joined as the third guitarist, followed by
Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. Their first regular appearance
was at a club created by Mona Best (Pete Best's mother) in the basement of her
family's home in the West Derby area of Liverpool. In August 1959, the club
later became a cellar club which showcased rock ‘n roll groups exclusively.
After going through a progression of names like Johnny and The Moondogs, The
Silver Beetles, they eventually landing at The Beatles. In 1960, manager Allan
Williams arranged a performance for them in clubs on the Reeperbahn in Hamburg,
Germany. Returning to England, The Beatles spent the next one and a half years
on various stages in Liverpool. In 1961, under new manager Brian Epstein, The
Beatles scored their first UK recording contract with EMI's Parlophone label. In
the next year, Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey in
1940) as the band’s drummer.
From 1962 to 1971, McCartney was a bassist, guitarist, singer and composer for
The Beatles. Along with the band, McCartney created a sensation in late 1963 in
the UK by releasing thirteen impressive albums in a mere seven years. McCartney
and John Lennon were the main songwriters for The Beatles and some of
McCartney’s compositions of this period included "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby,"
"Yesterday," "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road," as well as the first
heavy metal song "Helter Skelter." In the span of those years, McCartney made
his film-acting debut in A Hard Day's Night (1964, he also wrote songs and
performed them on the soundtrack) and co-wrote, directed and appeared in a TV
Beatles special, Magical Mystery Tour (1967). McCartney formed the recording
studio Apple Corps in 1968. In 1970, he executive produced, contributed songs
and acted in The Beatles film, Let It Be, in which he shared Academy Awards for
Best Adapted Score.
Following the break-up of The Beatles in 1970, McCartney launched a solo career
with his first solo album, McCartney, on April 17, 1970, under the Apple/EMI
label. A multi-instrumentalist, McCartney performed all the instruments and
voices on the album by himself, adding the occasional backing vocals from wife
Linda McCartney. It spawned the singles "That Would Be Something," "Every Night"
and "Maybe I'm Amazed." The album quickly shot to #1 in the US for three weeks
and eventually went double platinum.
After releasing the non-album singles "Another Day," and "Oh Woman Oh Why"
(became a worldwide Top 5 hit) in February 1971, McCartney's released his second
solo album, Ram. The album, released on May 28, 1971, and officially credited to
Paul and Linda McCartney, delivered the singles "Too Many People" (the content
arguably refers to John Lennon), "The Back Seat Of My Car" (#39 UK), "Eat At
Home" and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (#1 US). Ram reached #1 in the UK and #2
in the US, where it spent over five months in the Top 10 and went platinum.
In 1971, McCartney also formed a new band, Wings, along with wife Linda, drummer
Denny Seiwell and ex-Moody Blues guitarist and singer Denny Laine. They released
their debut album, Wild Life, in 1971, which spawned the singles "Mary Had a
Little Lamb" (#9 UK, #28 US), "Hi, Hi, Hi" (#5 UK , #10 US) and "Little Woman
Love" (#28 US). Despite the band's uneven start and many personnel changes,
Wings became one of the most successful 1970’s rock bands, hitting its artistic
apex in late 1973 with the album Band on the Run ("Helen Wheels," "Jet," "Band
on the Run," "Junior's Farm" and "Sally G.") and its commercial apex in 1976
with a wildly popular world tour. Their final album, Back To The Egg, released
on June 8, 1979, also became Paul McCartney's first album for Columbia Records
after leaving long-time US distributor Capitol Records in 1978, though he
remained with EMI for the rest of the world. Album Back To The Egg reached #6 in
the UK and #8 in the US with relatively short chart stays, although it went
platinum. It’s released singles "Old Siam, Sir," "Arrow Through Me" and "Getting
Closer" were also small hits.
During his stint with the band Wings, McCartney composed theme music for the
American feature "Live and Let Die" in 1973. He produced the feature Empty Hand
and created abstract percussion music for the concert film "Wings Over America"
(released in 1981). He also produced the animated film The Oriental Nightfish,
McCartney II is the first solo album by Paul McCartney since the formation of
Wings in 1971. It was released on May 16, 1980, a year before the band's
dissolution. It spawned the singles "Coming Up" (#2 UK, #1 US), "Waterfalls" (#9
UK) and "Temporary Secretary." The album itself went to #1 in the UK and #3 in
the US. After disbanding Wings in 1981, McCartney released his album Tug of War
on April 26, 1982. The album was a major success with the singles "Ebony and
Ivory" (with soul legend Stevie Wonder, #1 UK, #1 US), "Take It Away" (#15 UK,
#10 US), and "The Girl is Mine" (with emerging pop megastar Michael Jackson, #8
UK, #2 US).
More massive hits arrived in McCartney's next album, Pipes of Peace (released on
October 31, 1983), with singles "Say Say Say" (with Michael Jackson, #2 UK, #1
US), "Pipes of Peace" (#1 UK) and "So Bad" (#23 US). The album itself reached #4
in the UK, but surprisingly only went to #15 in the US, although it still went
platinum there. McCartney then scripted, acted, performed his songs, composed
and arranged music for the 1984 feature Give My Regards to Broad Street, which
included in the cast a young Tracey Ullman. The film and soundtrack featured the
US and UK top ten hit "No More Lonely Nights" and songs "We All Stand Together"
(with The Frog Chorus, #3 UK) and "Spies Like Us" (#13 UK, #7 US).
After the box office flop of the pleasant film Give My Regards to Broad Street,
McCartney, with producer Hugh Padgham, released the album Press To Play
(September 1, 1986). It spawned the poor-charted singles "Press" (#25 UK, #21
US), "Pretty Little Head" (#76 UK), "Stranglehold" (#81 US) and "Only Love
Remains" (#34 UK). The album peaked at #8 briefly in the UK. In the US, Press to
Play failed to go gold, cresting at an under-whelming #30. The next year, All
the Best, the second official compilation album of Paul McCartney music (after
1978's Wings Greatest), was released in 1987. It consisted of tracks from the
beginning of his solo career in 1970 to a newly recorded song and the new single
"Once Upon a Long Ago" (#10 UK). All the Best was a big success, reaching #2 in
the UK, and although it only peaked at #62 in the US, it eventually went double
McCartney rock 'n' roll oldies album, CHOBA B CCCP (translates from Russian to
English as "Back In The USSR," a famous McCartney song from The Beatles' 1968
double album The Beatles), was originally released on October 31, 1988,
exclusively in the USSR. He followed it up with Flowers in the Dirt, on June 5,
1989. It delivered the lead single "My Brave Face" and minor hits "This One,"
"Figure of Eight," "Party Party," "Ou Est Le Soleil," "We Got Married" and "Put
It There." The album entered the UK charts at #1 and #21 in the US, stayed on
the charts for a year and went gold.
On November 5, 1990, McCartney released his first official live album and his
first release of concert material since Wings' 1976 Wings Over America live
package. Tripping the Live Fantastic encompassed McCartney's entire musical
career from his famed Beatles hits to his recent hit album, Flowers in the Dirt,
while also including some unique covers. It reached #16 in the UK and #26 in the
US. The album was also simultaneously released in an abridged form, entitled
Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights. He also released the classical album,
Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, on October 11, 1991.
Three years later, on February 1, 1993, McCartney released the album Off the
Ground. The lead single, "Hope of Deliverance," went to #18 in UK and #83 in US.
The subsequent singles became minor hits, "C'mon People," "Off the Ground" and
"Biker like an Icon." The album itself hit #5 in the UK and reached #17 in the
US, where it went gold. That same year, Paul McCartney released Paul Is Live, a
live album from his New World Tour in support of Off the Ground. The album's
title and cover was a paradox of the infamous "Paul Is Dead" rumors that arose
in 1969 after the release of The Beatles' last recorded album, Abbey Road.
During a noticeable break from his solo career, McCartney began the enormous
Beatles Anthology project in early 1994 with George Harrison, Ringo Starr and
George Martin, which would consume much of his time for the next two years.
McCartney finally returned with album Flaming Pie in 1997, which spawned the
singles "Young Boy" (#19 UK), "The World Tonight" (#23 UK, #64 US) and
"Beautiful Night" (#25 UK). It debuted at #2 in the UK and US, giving McCartney
his first US Top 10 album since Tug of War. Album Flaming Pie received a
nomination for "Album of the Year" at the Grammys in 1998.
Another full-length release of original classical music, Paul McCartney's
Standing Stone, was released on September 29, 1997. It reached #1 on the
classical charts and managed a one week stand at #194 on the US pop album
listing. He then recorded the album Run Devil Run and released it on October 4,
1999, with the single "No Other Baby/Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (#42 UK). The
album itself reached #12 in UK and #27 in US. McCartney also released another
classical album, Paul McCartney's Working Classical, on November 1, 1999.
2001 saw McCartney write the title song for the feature Vanilla Sky and garner a
Best Original Song Academy Award nomination. He also released the next studio
album, Driving Rain, on November 12, 2001. It spawned the singles "From A Lover
To A Friend" (#45 UK), "Freedom" (#97 US), "Tropic Island Hum/We All Stand
Together" (#21 UK) and "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (with U2, #48
US). The album went to #46 in UK and #26 in US. McCartney then released the live
album Back in the U.S. on November 26, 2002 (US #8) and Back in the World on
March 17, 2003 (UK #5).
In 2004, McCartney received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with
Eric Clapton. McCartney’s latest studio album, Chaos and Creation in the
Backyard, hit the music stores on September 12, 2005. It delivered the hit
singles "Fine Line" (August 29, 2005, #20 UK) and "Jenny Wren" (November 21,
2005, #22 UK). The album peaked the UK charts at #10 and #6 in the US.
A prolific writer, McCartney has written such books as All You Need Is Love
(1968) and Paul McCartney In His Own Words (1976). He reportedly released a
children's book, High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail, in October 2005. He is
also a painter and exhibited his paintings in Liverpool in 2002.
"Somebody said to me, 'But the Beatles were anti-materialistic.' That's a huge
myth. John and I literally used to sit down and say, 'Now, let's write a
swimming pool.’” Paul McCartney
Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Song, Vanilla Sky, 2002
BMI Film & TV: BMI TV Music Award, Providence, 2000
BMI Film & TV: BMI TV Music Award, Providence, 1999
BMI Film & TV: BMI TV Music Award, Grace Under Fire, 1996
BMI Film & TV: BMI TV Music Award, Grace Under Fire, 1994
International Rock Award: Tour of the Year, 1991
BPI: Best British Male Artist, Outstanding British contribution to
music, Tug of War, 1982
Ivor Novello: Best-selling Single Ever in UK, Mull of Kintyre, 1977
Grammy: Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus, Band on
the Run, 1973
Grammy: Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television
Special, Let It Be, 1971
Grammy: Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s), Uncle Albert, 1970
Grammy: Song of the Year, Michelle; award shared with John Lennon, 1966
Grammy: Best Contemporary (Rock and Roll) Solo Vocal Performance, Male
or Female, Eleanor Rigby, 1966