Paul McCartney

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Performers and composers

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney on stage in Prague, June 6 2004
Paul McCartney on stage in Prague, June 6 2004
Background information
Born June 18, 1942 (age 64)
Origin England Liverpool, England
Genre(s) Rock
Occupation(s) Singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, painter.
Instrument(s) Bass Guitar
Years active 1957 - Present
Label(s) Parlophone
The Beatles

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 most influential act of the rock era") and Wings. He has recorded as a solo artist, and has taken part in many other musical projects that were put together solely for the aim of financially assisting international charities. McCartney is the most successful popular-music composer ever, with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs.

As a Beatle, McCartney was one-half of the songwriting team credited as Lennon/McCartney, along with fellow band member John Lennon. Some 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". McCartney's song " Yesterday" is listed as the most covered song in history: more than 2,000 versions have been recorded, and it has been played more than 7,000,000 times on American TV and radio.

Following the announcement of his departure from The Beatles on 10 April 1970, 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.

McCartney is listed in The Guinness Book Of Records 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. Aside from his musical work, McCartney is a painter (although until recently he kept his artwork private) and a strong advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism, music education ( LIPA), and is against landmines.

Early years: 1942-1957

James Paul McCartney was born in the Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, England, where his mother, Mary, had worked as a nursing sister in the maternity ward. His brother, Michael, was born nearly two years later ( 7 January 1944). McCartney was baptized as a Roman Catholic, but was raised non-denominationally; his mother was a Roman Catholic and his father, James 'Jim' McCartney, was a Protestant. Like many in Liverpool, McCartney has some Irish heritage, 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.

In 1947, when Michael was three years old, Mary McCartney became a domiciliary midwife. forcing her to be on-call at all hours of any day or night. 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. They moved again shortly after, to 72 Western Avenue in Speke, and then to 12 Ardwick Road - also in Speke - which was part of a new estate in the suburbs of Liverpool. McCartney remembered lots of mud on the unfinished roads and the feeling of being "on the edge of the world, like Christopher Columbus". It was noted in those early days that McCartney, with his dark hair and expressive eyes, "could charm the skin off a snake"; meaning that he could talk and charm his way out of an uncomfortable situation when involved in any kind of mischief. It was while the McCartneys were living in Speke that the young Paul McCartney would often wander off to local woods and streams, and read "book after book".

Money was always a problem in the McCartney house, as Jim McCartney only earned up to £6.00 a week working for the A. Hannay cotton company - which was less than his wife, and because of this the McCartney family did not own a television until The Queen's coronation in 1953, and never owned a car.

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

After leaving the Stockton Wood Road Primary school,in All Saints Road, Speke, McCartney went to the Joseph Williams Junior School, in Naylorsfield Drive, Liverpool. Paul took the 11-plus exam in 1953, and passed. Of the 90 children from the Joseph Williams school that took the exam, only three others passed, earning them places at the Liverpool Institute in Mount Street, which was Liverpool's top grammar school. He befriended future bandmate George Harrison on the bus back home, as they lived only a block away from each other; Harrison was living at 24 Upton Green, Allerton. Passing the 11-plus exam meant that McCartney and Harrison would not have to go to a Secondary modern school, where most pupils only attended until they were eligible to work. It also meant that pupils who were offered a place at a grammar school lost all their friends - such was the division between the two school systems.

In 1955, the McCartney family moved again, to 20 Forthlin Road; a council house in Allerton. The house is now owned by The National Trust. Mary - who was a heavy smoker - had to ride a bicycle in all weathers 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. Mary McCartney died of an embolism - after a mastectomy operation that was carried out to try and and curb her breast cancer - on 31 October 1956, when McCartney 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.

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

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

1957-1960: The Quarrymen and The Silver Beetles

Ivan Vaughan introduced the fifteen-year-old Paul McCartney to John Lennon and The Quarrymen at the Woolton (St. Peter's 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 in the scout hut after the fête. According to Colin Hanton, there is no truth to the myth that Lennon - or any other members of the band - had been drinking alcohol that day, before meeting McCartney. A few days later McCartney was invited by Quarryman Pete Shotton to join the group as a guitarist, and McCartney's first gig with The Quarrymen was on October 18, 1957 for a Conservative Club social, at the New Clubmoor Hall in Norris Green, Liverpool.

At the start of their friendship Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of McCartney because he was, she said, " working class", and called McCartney, "John's little friend". McCartney's father told Paul that John would get him "into trouble", although he later allowed The Quarrymen to rehearse in the front room at 20 Forthlin Road. Jim McCartney's fears about Lennon's influence on Paul were realised when Lennon encouraged McCartney to shoplift/steal cigarettes, candy, or books from shops, although McCartney was never caught. They also both found a shared interest in playing pranks on band members, and teachers.

McCartney formed a close-working relationship with John Lennon and they collaborated on many songs - Lennon called it "writing eyeball-to-eyeball", or "playing into each other's noses". Lennon and McCartney's first compositions were written at 20 Forthlin Road, at Mimi's house at 251 Menlove Avenue, or at the Liverpool Institute. 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". Their first songs were heavily inspired by The Everly Brothers, and Buddy Holly. They often invited friends to Forthlin Road, such as George Harrison, Nigel Whalley, Barbara Baker, and Lennon's art school colleagues, to listen to their performances of new songs.

After Lennon's disagreement with McCartney that Harrison should join the Quarrymen (because of Harrison's young age) he was impressed with Harrison's playing after a rehearsal (specifically arranged by McCartney) on March 12 1958. Harrison joined later (after further pressure on Lennon by McCartney that Harrison should join the band) as lead guitarist. He was followed by the addition of Lennon's art school friend, Stuart Sutcliffe, on bass. By May 1960, they had tried several new names, including the "Silver Beetles", before changing it to The Beatles for their performances in Hamburg in August 1960.

1960-1970: The Beatles

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

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. They first started playing at the Indra club - sleeping in small, dirty rooms in the Bambi Kino - and then later moved (after the closure of the Indra) to the Kaiserkeller, which was much bigger. In October 1960, they left Koschmider's club and worked at the "Top Ten Club", which was run by Peter Eckhorn. When McCartney and Pete Best went back to the Bambi Kino to get their belongings they found it in almost total darkness. As a snub to Koschmider, they found a condom, attached it to a nail on the concrete wall of their room, and set fire to it. There was no 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, and Best and McCartney were also later deported.

Although they returned to Hamburg (when Harrison became 18-years-old) Sutcliffe had left the band, and Paul was coerced into playing bass. 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. He later bought a left-handed Hofner bass.

Upon their return from Hamburg to Liverpool, The Beatles played their first of many concerts at the Cavern club, on February 9, 1961. 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. It was at the Cavern that Brian Epstein first saw The Beatles playing live, 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. 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. McCartney knew what being gay meant, but he was never propositioned, and didn't see it as any problem at all. McCartney played at the Cavern Club again, in 1999, with David Gilmour and Ian Paice, in aid of the "Linda McCartney Centre", which is a specialist cancer unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The Beatles signed a record contract that Epstein had arranged on May 9, 1962, with Parlophone records, 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." " Love Me Do" was released on October 5, 1962, and featured McCartney singing solo on the chorus line.

All the Lennon-McCartney songs on the first pressing of Please Please Me album (recorded in one day on February 11, 1963) as well as the single " From Me to You", and its B-side, " Thank You Girl", are credited to "McCartney-Lennon", although this would later be changed to "Lennon-McCartney". For McCartney, the move to London, from Liverpool, was an exciting one, 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. McCartney and Lennon wrote their songs - during the sixties - in many places, when they had time to spare. 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, or at Kenwood (John Lennon's house). McCartney also wrote songs for other artists, such as Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, Badfinger, and Mary Hopkin.

After recording sessions, Lennon, Harrison and Starr retreated to secure country houses in the so-called ' stockbroker belt' 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. It was at Cavendish Avenue that McCartney bought his first Old English Sheepdog called "Martha" - which he later wrote about - and three cats called Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

McCartney often went to nightclubs alone, which offered 'dining and dancing until 4.00 a.m.', and featured cabaret acts. McCartney would get preferential treatment everywhere he went, which he readily accepted, - even once accepting an offer from a Policeman to be allowed to park McCartney's car. 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. 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. After the Ad Lib fell out of favour, McCartney moved on to the Scotch of St James, at 13 Masons yard. He also frequented The Bag o'Nails club at 8 Kingly Street in Soho, London, 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. The other three Beatles had often advocated the idea of stopping touring, but McCartney had resisted. 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.

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 was asked by Kenneth Tynan to write the songs for the National Theatre's production of As You Like It by William Shakespeare, starring Laurence Olivier, but declined. McCartney 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. The Beatles had had a tense meeting to sign a new contract with Capitol Records, and during the meeting McCartney suggested "going back to our roots", and performing on stage again, to which John Lennon replied, "I think you're mad!"

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, 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.

1970s: Paul McCartney & Wings

In the 1970s, McCartney released: McCartney, ( 1970 - solo) Ram, ( 1971 - with Linda McCartney). Albums with Wings: Wild Life, ( 1971 Red Rose Speedway, ( 1973) Band on the Run, ( 1973) Venus and Mars, ( 1975) Wings at the Speed of Sound, ( 1976) Wings over America, ( 1976 – live album) Thrillington, ( 1977 – instrumental cover of Ram) London Town, ( 1978) Wings Greatest, ( 1978 – hits compilation) London Town, ( 1978) and Back to the Egg, ( 1979)

As Phil Spector was putting the finishing touches to Let It Be and as The Beatles were breaking up in 1970, McCartney was working on his debut solo album, McCartney. He played all the instruments: bass, drums, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano, Mellotron, organ, toy xylophone, bow and arrow, and sang all the lead vocals. Backing vocals were provided by his 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", which was called "one of the best songs McCartney has ever written" and is #338 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is one of McCartney's many love songs for Linda. He followed his debut album with a solo single on February 19 1971, entitled " Another Day". McCartney's second solo album, Ram, was credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney.

Later that year the McCartneys formed a new band called 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.

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. 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. McCartney said,

Paul McCartney
"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".
Paul McCartney

Wings also embarked on the 26-date Wings Over Europe Tour, with added lead guitarist Henry McCullough.

In 1973, Wings released Red Rose Speedway, and during the same year, McCartney starred in a TV 'special' (a variety show) called James Paul McCartney. Later that year, the band released Band on the Run, which won two Grammy Awards and is 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". 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.

In late 1973, McCartney wrote the theme song for the James Bond film, Live and Let Die. On December 5, Wings released the single " Jet" (#7 in UK and US) and in 1974, " Band on the Run" and " Junior's Farm". In 1975, and 1976, the band embarked on the ambitious Wings Over the World tour, which was released on the album Wings over America. 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 1977, Wings released " Mull of Kintyre"; a song about McCartney's Scottish home. McCartney explained how the song came into being:

Paul McCartney
"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."
Paul McCartney

It reached and stayed at #1 in the UK for nine weeks, and for several years held the record as the highest-selling single in the UK.

In 1979, McCartney organised the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, McCartney's Rockestra theme - written especially for the project - won a Grammy award, and Wings toured again.

McCartney's relationship with John Lennon after The Beatles split in 1970 was troubled, although the pair reconciled before Lennon's death. Lennon took up residence with Yoko Ono in New York City's Dakota building in 1973, and McCartney would often call him, but was never sure what reception he would get, such as when McCartney once called Lennon and was told, "You're all pizza and fairytales!" McCartney realised that he couldn't phone Lennon and only talk about business, so they often talked about cats, baking bread, or babies. Lennon was taking care of Sean Lennon at the time, which gave rise to his own title for himself as "house-husband".

Before Christmas of 1979, McCartney released his Wonderful Christmastime single.


In Japan, there have been numerous attempts to ban " Wonderful Christmastime", to due the song being directly attributed to 143 separate cases of suicide. In 1987, one Osaka radio station reportedly played the track back-to-back for three days straight, in the lead up to Christmas. Tokyo Police Department reported 57 fatalities during the 1986-87 period alone. A Japanese government spokesman was popularly quoted as saying that "the syncopated synthesizer appears to send people scrambling for the fish knife."



McCartney released studio albums, a film soundtrack, and a compilation album in the 1980s: McCartney II, ( 1980 studio album) Tug of War, ( 1982) Pipes of Peace,( 1983) Give My Regards to Broad Street, ( 1998 film soundtrack) Press to Play ( 1986) All the Best ( 1987 hits compilation) Снова в СССР ( 1988 only released in Russia – World, 1991) and Flowers in the Dirt ( 1986)

Wings resumed activity in the autumn of 1980, but McCartney was arrested for being in possession of cannabis in Tokyo whilst on tour with Wings, and was held in custody for ten days before being deported to the UK.

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." 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 - in May 1976 - 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 as a joke, but were too tired.

The Dakota's entrance
The Dakota's entrance

On the morning of 9 December 1980, McCartney woke to the news that Lennon had been murdered outside his Dakota building home. Lennon's death caused an outpouring of grief around the world and a media frenzy around the surviving members of The Beatles. On the evening of 9 December, when McCartney was outside an Oxford Street recording studio, he was surrounded by dozens of reporters and was 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 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?" When publicised, his "drag" remark was criticised, and even McCartney himself regretted the remark. 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.

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 - and had 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!" which referred to Lennon's "house-husband" years, whilst he was looking after Sean Lennon. McCartney carried on recording after the death of Lennon, but did not play any live concerts for some time. He claimed this was because he was nervous that he was "the next" to be murdered. This led to a disagreement with Denny Laine who wanted to continue touring, and subsequently left Wings. Wings later disbanded in 1981.

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. The accompanying single, " Coming Up", hit #2 in the British chart and (in a live version) #1 in the USA.

McCartney's next album reunited him with Beatles producer George Martin. 1982's Tug of War (UK #1), and McCartney sang a duet, " Ebony and Ivory", with Stevie Wonder (UK #1). Two further duets followed, this time with Michael Jackson: " The Girl is Mine" (1982; US #2 UK #8) and " Say Say Say" ( 1983; US #1 UK #2). 1983's " Pipes of Peace" (from the album of the same name).

McCartney wrote and starred in the 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. The film and soundtrack featured the US and UK Top 10 hit " No More Lonely Nights", but the film did not do well commercially 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".

In the second half of the decade McCartney would find new collaborators. Eric Stewart had appeared on McCartney's Pipes of Peace album; he co-wrote most of McCartney's 1986 album, Press to Play. McCartney returned the favour by co-writing two songs for Stewart's band, 10cc - "Don't Break the Promises" ( ...Meanwhile, 1992), and "Yvonne's the One" ( Mirror Mirror, 1995).

McCartney released All The Best in 1987 (UK #2 - US #62) which was a compilation album of McCartney's and Wings' hits. In 1998 McCartney released Снова в СССР, which was a collection of old rock and roll hits - written by others - that McCartney had admired over the years. It was originally released in 1988 only in the USSR, but with the addition of one extra track, the album had an international release in 1991.

McCartney also began a musical partnership with singer-songwriter Elvis Costello (Declan Macmanus). The resulting songs would appear on several singles and albums by both artists, notably " Veronica" from Costello's album Spike, and " My Brave Face" from McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt, both released in 1989. 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:

Paul McCartney
When we sat down together he wouldn't have any sloppy bits in there (meaning the songs). That was interesting. The ironic part is, if it sounds like he wrote it, I probably did and vice versa. He wanted to do all the ones with lots of words and all on one note, and I'm the one trying to work in the ' Please Please Me' harmony all over the place.
Paul McCartney


McCartney released live and studio albums in the 1990s: Tripping the Live Fantastic, ( 1990 Live album) Unplugged (The Official Bootleg), ( 1991) Off the Ground,( 1993), Paul is Live, ( 1993 Live album) 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).

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society celebrated its 150th year in existence, and in 1991 they commisioned a musical piece by McCartney. McCartney collaborated with Carl Davis to release a latin-language musical piece named Liverpool Oratorio. EMI Classics recorded the premiere of the oratorio and released it on a 2-CD album.

In 1994, McCartney worked with Youth, a former member of Killing Joke, to write ambient music. Under the name of The Fireman, they released an album named Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest, in 1993. His interest in writing classical music was still high just a few years after the release of the oratorio and under the label EMI, he released The Leaf (1995), which is was a solo piano piece played by Royal College of Music gold-medal winner, Anya Alexeyev. Subsequently, the Prince of Wales honoured McCartney with the prestigious title of Fellow of The Royal College of Music.

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.

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. The tape has never been officially released.


In the 2000s, McCartney released: Wingspan: Hits and History, ( 2001 (compilation of hits album) Driving Rain, ( 2001) Back in the U.S.,( 2003) Back in the World, ( 2003 (Live album) Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, ( 2005), and the 2006 classical album, Ecce Cor Meum.

Wingspan: An Intimate Portrait (2001) 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. 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.

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. 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 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.

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.

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.

In June 2004, McCartney headlined the Glastonbury Festival - which was his first ever appearance at a British music festival. McCartney and festival organiser Michael Eavis picked up the NME Award on behalf of the Festival which won 'Best Live Event' in the 2005 awards. McCartney performed at the main Live 8 concert on 2 July 2005, playing "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with U2 to open the Hyde Park event (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.

On 18 June 2006, McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday, an event prefigured in his song, " When I'm Sixty-Four". It was a widely celebrated event for, as the cultural commentator Paul Vallely noted in The Independent:

Paul McCartney
"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."
Paul McCartney

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, but, in the 1960s, he enjoyed a five-year relationship and a long engagement with actress Jane Asher. 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, after having had three children during their marriage. In 2002 McCartney married former model Heather Mills. The couple had one child but announced their separation in 2006.

Relationship with 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. 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. She was asked to do an interview with The Beatles by the BBC, and was photographed screaming at them like a fan. 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. McCartney then pursued Asher as much as he could in an effort to persuade her to become his girlfriend.

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, and Jane's father, Richard, was a physician. Jane's brother, Peter, was a member of Peter and Gordon, and Jane's younger sister, Clare, was also an actress. According to Cynthia Lennon, Paul was "as proud as a peacock" to have Jane as a girlfriend, and saw her as "a great prize".

McCartney eventually took up residence at the Ashers' house at 57 Wimpole Street, London, and lived there for two and a half years. The Ashers' house was a place of intellectual stimulation for McCartney, 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. 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. McCartney later gave " A World Without Love", one of his early songs, to Peter and Gordon.

It was during his time at the Asher's house that McCartney met writers such as Bertrand Russell, Harold Pinter and Len Deighton. 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. On 13 April 1965, McCartney bought a three-storey Regency house, in Cavendish Avenue, London, for £40,000, and then spent a further £20,000 renovating it. It was on the top floor of the house that McCartney created a music room, where he wrote alone, and with John Lennon. As a thank-you to the Ashers, he paid for the decoration of the front of their house in Wimpole Street.

On 15 May 1967, McCartney met American photographer Linda Eastman at a Georgie Fame concert at the Bag O'Nails club in London; Eastman was in the UK on an assignment to take photographs of musicians in what Time magazine called " swinging London". McCartney, Linda and members of the The Animals went on to The Speakeasy, a club on Margaret Street, and Eastman later accompanied McCartney back to his house in Cavendish Avenue. 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. On 25 December 1967, McCartney and Asher announced their engagement, although 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. McCartney didn't stop having sexual relationships - one-night stands - with other women during his time with Asher, because he felt that as they were not married, it was allowed. 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 that part of her life.

Marriage to Linda Eastman

In September of 1968, McCartney phoned Linda Eastman, the woman he said that "gave me the strength and courage to work again", 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. As they lived on a farm in East Sussex, 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, 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. In 1973, he wrote My Love - a song to commemorate that he loved his wife and which became Wings' first number one single hit in England.

Ordinary life went on at the farm as Linda made the beds, and local kids were invited to dance at parties in the couple's barn. When she was interviewed on National Public Radio, she stated that the couple weren't together for the press or the public and at that time, Paul McCartney felt pressure in the band, so she was there to relieve that pressure. 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. 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. Linda McCartney died in Tucson, Arizona, on April 17 1998, and McCartney later denied rumours that her death was an assisted suicide. Linda left her entire fortune to McCartney which is almost totally free from taxation because of a special trust fund she set up before her death. McCartney will have access to any royalties from books, records and any financial renumeration for the use of his wife's photographs. Paul pledged to continue her line of vegetarian food, and to keep it free from genetically modified organisms. 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).

In 2006, tapes recorded by Peter Cox - with whom Linda wrote a vegetarian cookery book before her death - were offered for sale. The tapes were conversations about Linda's marriage problems with McCartney. McCartney reportedly paid £200,000 to Cox for the tapes in November 2006, after he met Cox in a London café. When McCartney met Cox in the café, he was not unduly bothered about other people overhearing his conversation with Cox, even though he had made attempts to avoid the Media following him there.

Marriage to Heather Mills

After having sparked the tabloids with questions about his appearance with Miss Mills at different events, McCartney first appeared publicly beside Miss Mills at a party in January of 2000 to celebrate her 32nd birthday. 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.

On October 28, 2003, Mills McCartney gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice Milly McCartney. The baby was reportedly named after Heather's late mother Beatrice and Sir Paul's Aunt Milly. The problems in their relationship were brought to the attention of the media when Mrs McCartney threw both the diamond and sapphire engagement rings from a hotel balcony in Florida, following a fight.

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

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

A 2004 article reported "widespread animosity towards Paul McCartney and his wives", 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."

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, and at The Roundhouse (January 28 and February 4 1967). 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. Before the filming of A Hard Day's Night began, it was McCartney who suggested to producer Walter Shenson that Alun Owen, a Liverpudlian Welshman who had previously written dramas for television, be asked to write the script.

His first contact to the London avant-garde scene in London was through John Dunbar, who introduced him to the art dealer Robert Fraser, who then introduced Paul to an array of writers and artists. McCartney later became involved in the renovation and publicising of the Indica Gallery, which was in Mason's Yard - off Duke Street, London. John Lennon met Yoko Ono at the same venue when she had an exhibition there. The Indica Gallery brought McCartney into contact with Barry Miles, whose underground newspaper - The International Times - McCartney helped to start. Miles would become de facto label manager for The Beatles' shortlived Zapple Records label, and wrote McCartney's official biography, Many Years From Now ( 1998).

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. He has also written and released several pieces of modern classical music and ambient electronica, besides writing poetry and painting.

Animated films

McCartney has been interested in animated films since he was a child, and later in his life he had the financial resources to fulfill his wish to be involved in the making of some. In 1981, McCartney teamed up with Geoff Dunbar, and asked him to direct a short, animated film called the Rupert and the Frog Song. McCartney wrote the music, the script, and was the producer, as well as adding some of the characters voices, with Windsor Davies and June Whitfield. Dustin Hoffman narrated the film. The single from the film - "We All Stand Together" - reached UK #3 in 1984. 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. McCartney worked again with Dunbar in 1997, and produced Tropic Island Hum, and "Tuesday", in 2001.

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 Oratorio had its North American premiere in Carnegie Hall in New York on 18 November 1991, with Davis conducting. In 1997, McCartney made his second venture into classical music with Standing Stone, and in 1999, he released Working Classical.

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. 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.

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.. 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.


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. Even though he visited them and proposed the idea, he never followed it up.

Before visiting John Dunbar's flat at 29 Lennox Gardens, London, McCartney would take along tapes he had compiled at Jane Asher's house. The tapes were mixes of various songs, musical pieces and comments made by McCartney that he later had Dick James make into a demo record for him. He later made tape loops by recording voices, guitars and bongos on a Brenell tape machine, and gluing together the various loops by himself with a bottle of EMI glue. 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. McCartney referred to them as electronic symphonies. McCartney was heavily influenced by John Cage at the time.

In the spring of 1966, McCartney rented a ground floor and basement flat from Ringo Starr which was at 34 Montagu Square, and which was used by McCartney as a small demo studio for poets and avant-garde musicians to record in. The flat could only be reached by going down the steps from the street to the basement door. The idea of a small recording studio for artists later later led to Apple Records creating their own Zapple sub-label. Ian Sommerville installed two Revox reel-to-reel machines in there, and worked extensively with William Burroughs. Sommerville had the idea that he was working exclusively for McCartney, so he often put off people who wanted to record there. McCartney later gave up the flat and it remained empty until Ringo rented it to Jimi Hendrix, in December of 1966.

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

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, 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.


Don Andrew - McCartney's school friend - remembered that McCartney showed an early talent for painting and drawing when at the Liverpool Institute - even making his own Christmas cards. His love of painting would only surface much later after watching his friend, Willem de Kooning, painting in Kooning's Long Island barn.

McCartney met Robert Fraser in the spring of 1966, and Fraser had an art gallery - at 69 Duke Street - near his home at 20 Mount Street, which was an 'open-house', and was frequented by many well-known artists. It was at Fraser's flat that McCartney met Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Peter Blake, and Richard Hamilton, and learned about art appreciation. It was around that time that McCartney started buying paintings by Magritte. He used Margritte's painting of an apple as the inspiration for the Apple Records logo, and he now owns Magritte's original easel, and his spectacles.

McCartney later started painting in 1983. 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. He chose the obscure gallery to show his paintings because he believed that Wolfgang Suttner (local events organiser) was genuinely interested in his art. The positive reaction to this first exhibition led to McCartney showing his work in galleries across the UK. The first UK exhibition of Sir Paul McCartney's art work was opened in Bristol, England with more than 500 paintings on display. McCartney had previously believed that "only people that had been to Art school were allowed to paint", (as John Lennon had) but when he reached the age of 40, he realised that this was not true.

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

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

Writing and poetry

Alan Durband in 1946
Alan Durband in 1946

When McCartney was young, his mother (Mary McCartney) used to read poems to him, and encouraged him to read as much as he could. McCartney's father was interested in crosswords, and always invited the two young McCartneys (Paul and Michael) to solve them with him, and to increase their "word power". McCartney was later inspired - in his school years - by Alan Durband, who was McCartney's English literature teacher at the Liverpool Institute. Durband was a co-founder and fund-raiser at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, when Willy Russell also worked there. Durband introduced the young McCartney to Geoffrey Chaucer, and the The Miller's Tale. McCartney later took his A-level exams, but only passed in English.

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'. Lennon had already started writing his Lewis Carroll-inspired verses, and McCartney had previously written poems, such as "The Worm Chain Drags Slowly". 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 sax player left, and then burst into laughter.

In 2001 McCartney published 'Blackbird Singing', a volume of poems, some of which were lyrics to his songs, and gave readings in Liverpool and New York - the selections being serious ("Here Today" - about John Lennon) and humorous (" Maxwell's Silver Hammer"). 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. 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":

Paul McCartney
Old loves return,

To kiss the lips,

In case the empty gallery,

Should fill with whispering strangers,

Like a flood.

Paul McCartney

In October 2005, McCartney released a children's book called "High In The Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail", which tells the story of a frog and a squirrel who save the lives of other animals. McCartney said - in a press report about the release of the (High In The Clouds) book - that he had loved reading for as long as he could remember. McCartney collaborated with veteran children's book author Philip Ardagh, and animator Geoff Dunbar, to write the book.


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, 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. James Trevor Isherwood (who worked for Epstein) was shocked that Epstein's percentage was larger than the normal ten per cent that agents normally charged. 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. Nevertheless, McCartney is today one of Britain's wealthiest men, with an estimated fortune of £760 million. 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. This had risen to £48.5 million by 2005. In the same year he joined the top American talent agency Grabow Associates, who arrange private performances for their richest clients. McCartney reportedly demands at least £1m for a two-hour performance. 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."

The Beatles catalogue

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, and 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."

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.

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, 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.

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


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. '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"). 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.

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).

In 1974, McCartney recorded an instrumental, "Walking in the Park with Eloise", 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.

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. The British tabloid press often refer to McCartney as "Macca", or ""Mr Thumbs-aloft".

Achievements and critical reception

Critical reception

When Stella McCartney was once out riding with her father, she asked him if he was the same famous Paul McCartney that she had heard about at school, and McCartney said that there is a difference between the McCartney that is seen in public, and the private McCartney, who he thinks is just, "This kid from Liverpool".

McCartney wrote - in the concert programme for his 1989 World Tour - that John Lennon received all the credit for being the avant-garde Beatle, and McCartney was known as 'baby-faced', which he disagreed with. People also assumed that Lennon was the 'hard-edged one', and McCartney was the 'soft-edged' Beatle, although McCartney admitted to often 'bossing Lennon around', by saying hurtful things like, "Where's yer dad, you bastard?" and talking about Julia Lennon - the mother of Lennon - ' living in sin' with another man. Linda McCartney told Paul that he had a hard-edge, and that it was not just on the surface - which she knew about, after all the years she had spent living with him. McCartney sometimes meditates, which he said is better than, "sleeping, eating, or shouting at someone".

In June 1983, McCartney wrote We All Stand Together for an animated film, which was successful, but was widely ridiculed as being one of the worst songs in recent years.


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

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).

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 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.

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


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. In 1997, McCartney was knighted ( Knight Bachelor) for his services to music, meaning that he would thereafter be titled as Sir Paul McCartney, MBE.

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 February 1990, McCartney was awarded a Grammy as lifetime-achievement award.

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 honour of Sir Paul.

Retrieved from ""