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Paul McCartney

Paul McCartneyAKA James Paul McCartney

Born: 18-Jun-1942
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Musician

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Beatle

One of the most widely-known performers and songwriters of the past four decades, Paul McCartney was born into the modest Liverpool household of James McCartney (a salesman/amateur jazz musician) and his wife Mary (who worked as a nurse and a midwife). In his early teens, shortly after the premature death of his mother from breast cancer, McCartney's interest in music became more prominent and he began making his first attempts at songwriting; it was during this time that he became friends with George Harrison, a schoolmate and fellow aspiring musician who shared the same bus route. Not long afterwards, a mutual friend brought him to see John Lennon, who was performing the song Be Bop A Lula at the Woolton village fete with his band The Quarrymen. The two were mutually impressed by each other's musical skills, and a few days later Lennon invited McCartney to join the band as a guitarist. Eventually McCartney brought Harrison on board as well (despite some initial reluctance from Lennon), bringing the Quarrymen three-quarters of the way toward becoming The Beatles.

After some personnel problems in the Quarrymen line-up, the three performed for a while in a trio format as Johnny and The Moondogs, making their recording debut in 1958 with a version of Buddy Holly and the Crickets' tune That'll Be The Day and the McCartney original In Spite Of All The Danger. Non-musician art student Stuart Sutcliffe was then suckered into acting as bassist, and short stints as The Beatals, The Silver Beetles and various other variations on that theme preceeded their final christening as the Beatles in 1960. Some less-than-promising gigs around the UK were undertaken, but it was the opportunity to work in Hamburg that finally pushed the band's fortunes in a positive direction. A last-minute audition brought in drummer Pete Best, and the five young men made their way to the seedy Reeperbahn district, where nightly performing allowed them to develop a distinct musical identity. Upon returning to England after a second German excursion they found their status considerably improved and -- with the band's line-up finally resolved by the shedding of Sutcliffe and Best, the enlistment of Ringo Starr (who had shared their adventures in Hamburg as member of Rory and the Hurricanes) and the 'promotion' of McCartney from guitar to bass -- the Beatles' unprecedented rise to fame was underway.

Aided by the skills of manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, McCartney and his bandmates began their domination of the British and European charts with their first #1 single Please Please Me in 1963 (the extension of their influence to the U.S. arrived the following year with the release of I Want To Hold Your Hand). The Lennon/McCartney songwriting team were responsible for the bulk of the group's material, although most songs were primarily written by one or the other, rather than being full collaborations. McCartney was the first of the four to be given somewhat of a 'solo' spotlight, the single Yesterday featuring a backing orchestra and none of the other members of the band; this song would eventually become one of the most covered compositions in popular music. As the band's career progressed, he assumed a more dominant role in creative and business matters, instigating projects such as the conceptual format of the Sgt. Pepper album, the Magical Mystery Tour film, and the original, disastrous attempt at what became the Let It Be documentary. Towards the end of the 60s, McCartney was also the most active in working with outside artists, producing and/or performing on recordings (some of which were released through the Beatles' own Apple label) by performers such as McGough and McGear, James Taylor, The Steve Miller Band, Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, The Bonzo Dog Band, and Badfinger.

Internal and external pressures inevitably strained the relationships between the four Beatles, and in 1970 Paul McCartney announced the dissolution of the band. Later in the year, his home-recorded debut solo album was made available -- the first proper solo effort from the otherwise prolific musician outside of a soundtrack for the film The Family Way in 1966. Despite some backlash as a result of his 'Beatle-busting', McCartney climbed straight to the top of the American charts -- as did his first solo single Another Day, released at the start of 1971. A second self-produced album, Ram, followed in later in the year, this time billed as a collaboration with his wife Linda McCartney (formerly Eastman), an American photographer whom he had wed in 1969. Before the end of 1971, McCartney had assembled Wings: a band consisting of himself, Linda, drummer Denny Seiwell and former guitarist/vocalist for The Moody Blues Denny Laine. The band's first album Wild Life appeared soon afterward, but received a somewhat poor reception amongst both critics and the record-buying public.

In 1972 McCartney made a return to touring for the first time since the Beatles had stopped in the mid 1960s. Playing primarily at different Universities around the UK with little or no advance promotion, he began to build up a new audience without any reference back to his earlier career. Difficulties in settling the line-up initially impeded his progress with Wings, but after the addition of former Joe Cocker/The Grease Band guitarist Henry McCullough the band released its second album Red Rose Speedway (1973), which climbed to the top of the U.S. charts and spawned the successful single My Love. Critical response still remained elusive, however, with many reviewers taking a dim view to the maudlin, love-themed nature of much of McCartney's new material. Perhaps as a response to such criticism, a second popular single was released that year in the form of McCartney's title theme to the James Bond film Live And Let Die, the lively orchestral backing for which was done in collaboration with his former Beatle producer George Martin. Both Seiwell and McCullough jumped ship just prior to the critical and commercial peak of Wings' career, 1974's African-recorded album Band On The Run and its singles Helen Wheels, Jet, Mamunia (U.S. only), Let Me Roll It, Band On The Run and Nineteen Hundred And Eighty-Five (also U.S. only).

Wings' popularity remained strong throughout the remainder of the 70s, the albums Venus And Mars (1975), Wings At The Speed Of Sound (1976), Wings Over America (1976) and London Town (1978) (as well as various non-album singles such as Junior's Farm (1974) and Mull Of Kintyre (1977)) making a consistently good showing in (at least) the American music charts, and the band's elaborately-staged world tours always attracting a substantial audience. This momentum was stalled at the end of the decade by a less enthusiastic reception to the 1979 album Back To The Egg, and then brought to a permanent halt early in 1980 when a planned tour of Japan was derailed by the bandleader's extremely public bust for marijuana possession. McCartney subsequently returned to his solo career, restoring his commercial standing with the electronics-heavy McCartney II and its freaky single Coming Up.

In the 1980s Paul McCartney kept his hat fluttering about the upper reaches of the pop music fray through best-selling records such as 1982's Tug Of War, and by recording high-profile duets other industry big shots like Stevie Wonder (Ebony And Ivory, 1982) and Michael Jackson (The Girl Is Mine, 1982, and Say Say Say, 1983). Jackson would later return the favor by outbidding his former musical collaborator for ownership of Northern Songs, the Beatles' publishing catalogue. In 1984 a return to the big screen was made in Give My Regards To Broad Street, a thinly-plotted musical written by and starring McCartney that also featured his old bandmate Ringo Starr and their respective partners Linda McCartney and Barbara Bach. The soundtrack album (which included updated versions of several McCartney-penned Beatle tunes) fared well, but the movie itself inspired far more head-scratching than applause. His next musical venture, Press To Play (1986), found him collaborating on half of the tracks with former 10 cc multi-instrumentalist Eric Stewart, a musican who had contributed to every McCartney offering since Tug Of War. After a collection of rock standards recorded for the Soviet market (whose title translates into Back In The USSR, 1988), a period of collaboration with Elvis Costello was undertaken; some of the results later appeared on McCartney's critically well-received release Flowers In The Dirt (1989), while others turned up on Costello's Spike.

In September of 1989 McCartney embarked on his first world tour in over a decade, beginning with a performance in Oslo and ending ten months later in Chicago; yet another such tour would be staged in 1993. The next decade saw him branching out in several different directions: composing the classical pieces Liverpool Oratorio (1991), Standing Stone (1997) and Working Classical (1999); composing a score for the animated short Daumier's Law (1992); creating two albums of ambient music (Strawberries, Oceans, Ships, Forest, 1994 and Rushes, 1998) with producer Youth under the pseudonym The Fireman; and putting together the first exhibition of his paintings in Germany in 1999. An extensive revisiting of his Beatle years took place starting in 1994 when he temporarily re-united with Harrison and Starr for the Anthology CD and documentary series -- the trio even created two 'new' Beatle songs for the project by elaborating on two demo recordings made by Lennon before his death. Despite this broadened range of endeavors, more typical projects were not entirely neglected, and after releasing Off The Ground and the live collection Paul Is Live in 1993 McCartney began collaborating with rabid Beatlemaniac and former frontman for The Electric Light Orchestra Jeff Lynne; their work together eventually materialized in 1997 as Flaming Pie, an album whose title referred to John Lennon's fanciful description about the origins of the Beatle name. Two months before its release, the highly visible musician would receive the honor of being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. Run Devil Run (1999), a second album of early rock and roll songs, followed two years later. This highly productive fourth decade of his career did not end without its trials, and in 1998 McCartney lost Linda, his partner of nearly 30 years, to breast cancer; A Garland For Linda, an album of choral music to benefit cancer patients (including one composition by Paul), was issued in 2000 to commemorate her life.

McCartney's diversification into new media continued in 2001 with the publication of Blackbird Singing, a collection of his lyrics and poems; the previous year, a book of his paintings had been published in association with exhibitions in Bristol and New York. His exploration of new audio territory also broadened to include a collage-based piece -- created in association with Youth and Super Furry Animals -- which was used as a soundtrack for an exhibit by artist Peter Blake at London's Tate Museum. In addition to the usual routine of awards and charity events, the lazy man managed to keep himself busy over the next few years by releasing his 36th album Driving Rain (2001), headlining the Concert For New York (also 2001), debuting his second oratorio Ecce Cor Meum, performing the Driving USA tour in 2002, re-marrying, touring again in 2003 and documenting it with the live album Back In The USA. Work on an animated feature, a children's book (High In The Clouds), the album Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (2005) and the remix project Twin Freaks was also somehow accomplished.

[1] Baptized Roman Catholic, though not practicing.

Father: James McCartney (salesman/musician)
Mother: Mary Mohin (midwife, d. breast cancer)
Brother: Peter Michael McCartney (musician, b. 1943)
Girlfriend: Jane Asher (actress, engaged 1967-68)
Linda McCartney (m. 12-Mar-1969, d. 17-Apr-1998, breast cancer)
Daughter: Mary McCartney (photographer, b. 1969)
Daughter: Stella McCartney (fashion designer, b. 13-Sep-1971)
Son: James Louis McCartney (b. 1977, musician)
Daughter: Heather McCartney (adopted, potter, b. 1963)
Wife: Heather Mills (model/activist, m. 11-Jun-2002, div. 12-May-2008, one daughter)
Daughter: Beatrice Milly McCartney (b. 28-Oct-2003)
Wife: Nancy Shevell (New York MTA commissioner, together since mid-2000s, m. 9-Oct-2011)

    High School: Liverpool Institute, Livepool, England

    Paul McCartney
    The Quarrymen Guitarist/Vocalist (1957-70)
    The Beatles Multi-instrumentalist/Vocalist (1960-70)
    Wings Multi-instrumentalist/Vocalist (1971-80)
    The Fireman (1994 and 1998)
    Smokin' Mojo Filters (1996)
    Twin Freaks (2005)
    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
    United Nations Association of the USA Goodwill Ambassador, Adopt-A-Minefield campaign
    Kennedy Center Honor 2010
    French Legion of Honor 2012
    Grammy Best New Artist (with The Beatles) (1964)
    Grammy Best Performance By A Vocal Group for A Hard Day's Night (with The Beatles) (1964)
    Grammy Best Contemporary (R&R) Solo Vocal Performance - Male Or Female for Eleanor Rigby (1966)
    Grammy Song Of The Year for Michelle (with John Lennon) (1966)
    Grammy Best Contemporary Album for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (with The Beatles) (1967)
    Grammy Album of the Year for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (with The Beatles) (1967)
    Grammy Best Original Score Written For A Motion Picture Or A Television Special for Let It Be (with The Beatles) (1970)
    Grammy Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (1971)
    Grammy Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for Band On The Run (with Wings) (1974)
    Grammy Best Rock Instrumental Performance for Rockestra Theme (with Wings) (1979)
    Grammy Best Music Video, Long Form for The Beatles Anthology (with The Beatles) (1996)
    Grammy Best Music Video, Short Form for Free As A Bird (with The Beatles) (1996)
    Grammy Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for Free As A Bird (with The Beatles) (1996)
    Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1990)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (with The Beatles) (1993)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Abbey Road (with The Beatles) (1995)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Yesterday (with The Beatles) (1997)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for I Want To Hold Your Hand (with The Beatles) (1998)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Revolver (with The Beatles) (1999)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Strawberry Fields Forever (with The Beatles) (1999)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for The Beatles ('The White Album') (with The Beatles) (2000)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for A Hard Day's Night (with The Beatles) (2000)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Rubber Soul (with The Beatles) (2000)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Hey Jude (with The Beatles) (2001)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Meet The Beatles! (with The Beatles) (2001)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Eleanor Rigby (with The Beatles) (2002)
    Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Let It Be (with The Beatles) (2004)
    Oscar Original Song Score (for Let It Be with The Beatles) (1970)
    Golden Globe Original Song (for No More Lonely Nights) (1984)
    Golden Globe Original Song (for Vanilla Sky) (2001)
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1988 (with The Beatles)
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1999 (solo)
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 2012 (1750 Vine St.)
    Songwriters Hall of Fame
    Member of the British Empire 1965
    Knight of the British Empire 11-Mar-1997
    Irish Ancestry
    Asteroid Namesake 4148 McCartney
    Deported from Germany to England (30-Nov-1960)
    Drug Possession: Marijuana Sweden (1972)
    Drug Possession: Marijuana Scotland (1973)
    Drug Possession: Marijuana Tokyo, Japan (16-Jan-1980)
    Paternity Test (1983)
    Drug Possession: Marijuana Barbados (1984)
    Wedding: Paul McCartney and Heather Mills (2002)
    Ordained by the Universal Life Church Minister
    Transcendental Meditation
    Risk Factors: Cocaine, LSD, Marijuana, Smoking, Vegetarian, Yoga

    Magical Mystery Tour (26-Dec-1967)

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (11-May-2017)
    The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years (15-Sep-2016) · Himself
    Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me (19-Apr-2014)
    Finding Fela! (17-Jan-2014) · Himself
    12-12-12 (1-Nov-2013) · Himself
    Under African Skies (22-Jan-2012) · Himself
    George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2-Sep-2011) · Himself
    Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of "Smile" (5-Oct-2004) · Himself
    Concert for George (3-Oct-2003) · Himself
    Mayor of the Sunset Strip (17-Jun-2003) · Himself
    Paul McCartney: Back in the US (2002)
    The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit (1994) · Himself
    Get Back (20-Dec-1991)
    Eat the Rich (22-Apr-1988)
    Live Aid (13-Jul-1985) · Himself
    Give My Regards to Broad Street (23-Oct-1984)
    Rockshow (26-Nov-1980) · Himself
    Let It Be (13-May-1970) · Himself
    Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee (21-Nov-1969) · Himself
    Magical Mystery Tour (26-Dec-1967) · Himself
    The Beatles at Shea Stadium (1-May-1966) · Himself
    Help! (29-Jul-1965)
    Go Go Mania (4-Jan-1965) · Himself
    A Hard Day's Night (6-Jul-1964)

Official Website:

Is the subject of books:
Blackbird: the Life and Times of Paul McCartney, 1991, BY: Geoffrey Giuliano
Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, 1997, BY: Barry Miles
Two of Us: The Passionate Partnership of Lennon & McCartney, 1997, BY: Geoffrey Giuliano
The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues, 1998, BY: R. Gary Patterson
Paul McCartney: I Saw Him Standing There, 2000, BY: Jorie B. Gracen
Paul McCartney: An Unauthorized Biography, 2001, BY: Paul Dowswell
The Unknown Paul McCartney: McCartney and the Avant Garde, 2002, BY: Ian Peel
The Paul McCartney Encyclopedia, 2003, BY: Bill Harry
Band on the Run: A History of Paul McCartney and Wings, 2003, BY: Garry McGee
Paul McCartney: Now and Then, 2004, BY: Tony Barrow and Robin Bextor

Author of books:
Paul McCartney: Paintings (2000)
Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics, 1965-2001 (2001)
Each One Believing: Paul McCartney; On Stage, Off Stage, and Backstage (2004, with Bill Bernstein and Caroline Grimshaw)
High in the Clouds (2005, with Geoff Dunbar and Philip Ardagh)

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