Paul McCartney

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File:Jk beatles paul.jpg
Paul McCartney, as photographed by John Kelley for the 1968 LP The Beatles (aka 'The White Album').

Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born June 18, 1942) is a British singer, musician and songwriter, who first came to prominence as a member of The Beatles.

Recognised as a top musical icon of the twentieth century, McCartney is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful composer in popular music history. He has a record twenty-nine US number one singles, twenty of them from the Beatles, the rest taken from Wings and his output as a solo artist. Combining his work with and without The Beatles, McCartney has written or co-written over 50 top ten hits, more than any other songwriter. McCartney has been an influential bassist as well as an accomplished singer, guitarist, pianist, and drummer.

McCartney and John Lennon were the main songwriters in The Beatles, and many of McCartney’s compositions of this period, including "Hey Jude", "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday" and "Let It Be", are frequently ranked among the best songs in popular music history. Another Beatles song written by McCartney was "Helter Skelter", regarded by some as the first heavy metal song.

McCartney’s post-Beatles career has also been successful. As a solo artist and with his 1970s-era band Wings, McCartney has scored 30 top ten singles in the United Kingdom and United States, including such songs as "Maybe I'm Amazed", "Live and Let Die", "Band on the Run", "Silly Love Songs", "Pipes of Peace" and a duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory".

In the British press especially, McCartney sometimes faces the perception that he is outdated. Still, he has maintained significant popular appeal and chart presence during the last thirty-five years and has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.

Aside from his musical work, McCartney is a painter (although until recently he kept his artwork private) and a strong advocate for animal rights, landmine action & vegetarianism.

Contents

Early years

James Paul McCartney was born at Walton Hospital, located in northern Liverpool, where his mother had worked as a nurse, and where his brother, Michael McCartney (also a musician, whose stage name is Mike McGear), was born a year later. He (and presumably his brother) were baptized Roman Catholic, but otherwise raised non-denominationally; his parents were a mixed-religion couple. His father, Jim McCartney, was a self-taught pianist, and dance-band leader who encouraged Paul to be musical. His father gave him a trumpet, which he largely abandoned when he learned it would put a callus on his upper lip and that he couldn't sing while playing. Later, when skiffle music became popular, and both boys were interested, Jim bought a guitar for Paul and a banjo for Mike. (Paul still occasionally returned to trumpet, but apparently never mastered it.)

On October 31, 1956 the early death of his mother Mary Mohin McCartney from breast cancer when he was 14 was a formative influence on his life; and it created an additional bond between him and John Lennon, whose mother died on July 15, 1958 when John was 17. Both Paul and John found some refuge in music.

Paul McCartney claims Irish heritage on both sides of his family. Paul's great-grandfather, James McCartney, was born in Ireland (some sources suggest his grandfather, James McCartney II, was as well). His mother's father, Owen Mohin, was born in 1880 in Tullynamalrow, County Monaghan in Ulster, and his mother's mother, Mary Theresa Danher, was a Glaswegian of Irish descent. Accordingly, Paul McCartney is five-eighths of Irish heritage.

Role in The Beatles

McCartney first rose to fame as a bassist, pianist, guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Beatles. He met John Lennon at a church picnic in 1957 and was invited to join Lennon's band The Quarrymen as a guitarist. McCartney's schoolmate, George Harrison joined soon after as a third guitarist, followed by the addition of Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Pete Best joined on drums, rounding out the original lineup of the band. McCartney took over bass guitar duties in the early 1960s, when Lennon and Harrison declined following the departure of Sutcliffe.

McCartney formed a close working relationship with Lennon and they collaborated on many songs, although mainly worked "eyeball to eyeball" (as McCartney has called it) only in the early years of the band. Out of all the Beatles compositions, it is claimed only 27 were composed by both of them equally. Typically, one of them would write most or part of a song and the other would finish it, incorporate it into another song or suggest useful changes. Due to an early agreement between the two, all Beatles songs written by either of them are credited to both - this came about because John Lennon liked the idea of "Lennon & McCartney" echoing the songwriting credit of "Leiber & Stoller", the songwriters whose names appeared on many of the records they owned from the 1950's. Very early copies of the Beatles first official single Love Me Do are credited to McCartney - Lennon.

One of McCartney's greatest songs, covered by a record number of artists, is "Yesterday". McCartney claims the melody came to him in a dream, and was not sure for some time that the melody was original. Paul says that the original, provisional lyrics were "Scrambled eggs / Oh my baby how I love your legs".

During the early years of the Beatles' recording career, McCartney developed rapidly as a musician, singer and songwriter. He was heavily influenced by Buddy Holly and Little Richard and Little Richard's trademark high-pitched 'wooo', which he used prominently as a musical punctuation on early songs like "From Me To You".

The left-handed McCartney also became probably one of the most creative and influential rock bassists of his time, elevating the electric bass from back-row obscurity to prominence, inspiring many to take up the instrument. By 1965 McCartney was pressuring the engineers at EMI to get a better bass sound on Beatles recordings, frustrated by the relatively weak sound on their earlier records. His bass playing and writing during the Beatles' most creative phase in 1965-67 was heavily influenced by the work of American producer-composer Brian Wilson, leader of The Beach Boys, whose classic album Pet Sounds set new standards for recording and featured bass parts unprecedented in pop music. As a result of hearing Wilson's work, McCartney began to pay increasing attention to both the sound and arrangement of his bass lines, often taking advantage of Abbey Road's new multi-track tape decks to re-record more complex parts after the basic tracks had been laid down. In fact, Pet Sounds was a direct response to Rubber Soul and Revolver (or at least McCartney's contributions). Today the two have worked together both at a live concert and in the studio.

During the years of the Beatles' greatest popularity, Paul was generally regarded as the best-looking and aroused most interest in female audiences. Ironically, he was the last to marry and the only one never to divorce. Toward the end of his relationship with actress Jane Asher, McCartney met Linda Eastman, an American photographer at a Georgie Fame concert in the Bag O' Nails nightclub in Kingly Street, London in May 1967. They met again a couple of weeks later at the June 1, 1967 launch party for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the relationship blossomed over the next two years. He and Linda married at a small civil ceremony at Marylebone Registry Office in 1969, while he was still a member of the Beatles. He adopted Linda's daughter from her first marriage, Heather (born 1962), and they went on to have three other children together: Mary (born 1969, and named after Paul's late mother), Stella (born 1971), and James (born 1977, and named after Paul's late father, who died in 1976). Paul and Linda would remain married and devoted to each other until Linda's death from breast cancer in 1998; the couple reportedly spent less than a week apart during their entire marriage.

In the latter part of the Beatles' reign over pop culture, Lennon's interest in the band waned whilst McCartney's pop ear was never more finely tuned. He wrote such pop classics as "Hey Jude", "Let It Be", and "The Long and Winding Road".

It is now generally accepted that McCartney was the motivator for much of The Beatles' later work. After they retired from touring in mid-1966, Lennon and Harrison retreated to secure country estates in the so-called 'stockbroker belt', well outside London. But McCartney continued to live in the city, first in a house in the centre of town, then at a larger property in St John's Wood, a short distance from Abbey Road Studios. He was often seen at major cultural events such as the International Times launch party at The Roundhouse (he attended in disguise). He also avidly delved into the visual arts, becoming a close friend of leading art dealer and gallery owners; explored experimental film; and regularly attended movie, theatrical and classical music performances. He has also released albums under the name The Fireman, and other experimental music albums under his own name, such as Liverpool Sound Collage.

Although he was not the first in the group to take LSD, McCartney was the first British pop star to openly admit to using it, and his frank revelation during a newspaper interview in early summer 1967 made headlines around the world. In a famous BBC TV interview broadcast nationally on June 19, 1967, McCartney was again asked about his LSD use and his answer was impressive for its clarity:

"I was asked a question by a newspaper, and the decision was whether to tell a lie or tell him the truth. I decided to tell him the truth ... but I really didn't want to say anything, you know, because if I had my way I wouldn't have told anyone. I'm not trying to spread the word about this. But the man from the newspaper is the man from the mass medium. I'll keep it a personal thing if he does too you know ... if he keeps it quiet. But he wanted to spread it so it's his responsibility, you know, for spreading it, not mine."

In spite of his statements then, and later admissions that he also used cocaine regularly at that time, McCartney was fortunate to be one of the few leading British pop stars who did not fall foul of the (later found to be corrupt) Drug Squad, as did Lennon, Harrison and many other friends including The Rolling Stones and Donovan.

On the musical side, McCartney was the first Beatle to record an outside project, composing (with George Martin) a fine score for the 1966 feature film The Family Way, for which he won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme. He also wrote and produced several successful recordings for other artists and on some of these outside productions he worked under a pseudonym, reflecting his enduring fascination with disguises and aliases.

McCartney devised many of the Beatles' late 1960s projects including the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band concept, the Magical Mystery Tour film and record, and the suite of songs that closes the Abbey Road album.

File:Pm6.jpg
Paul McCartney marries Linda

In 1969, despite obvious signs that the band was falling apart, he attempted to convince The Beatles to return to the stage, suggesting the Get Back project, which evolved into their valedictory film and album Let It Be. Although McCartney hoped it might revive them, the film made it obvious that the band was done as a creative force and that bickering, jealousy and the pressures of being The Beatles had driven the four musicians apart. Regardless of the internal strife, the band retained their popularity, and the public's interest in them was only intensified in late 1969 when an urban legend was started that McCartney died and was secretly replaced in 1966 by one Billy Shears. It was believed Brian Epstein was replaced too, but the whole conspiracy turned out to be false. This hoax is still a popular topic throughout cyberspace, and has been the subject of no less than five books, the best and most definitive tome being Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles and the "Paul-Is-Dead" Hoax by Andru J. Reeve [1]

Although Starr had briefly quit in 1968, and Harrison had done likewise in 1969, it was Lennon who was the first to leave and not return in August/September 1969. McCartney publicly announced the break-up on April 10, 1970, a week before releasing his first solo album. The album McCartney featured a press release inside with a fake interview with himself explaining the end of the Beatles. The band was legally dissolved after he filed a lawsuit on December 31, 1970.

By this time Lennon and McCartney's friendship had been eroded by years of friction and rivalry; they were reconciled to some extent before Lennon's death on December 8, 1980.

Early solo career

As the Beatles broke up in 1970, Paul launched a solo career with his album McCartney, which featured him playing all the instruments and singing all vocals except for some backing vocals from his wife Linda. While some found this record underwhelming (including Lennon in an interview), it did contain "Maybe I'm Amazed", which has remained a centerpiece of McCartney's concerts ever since. Another successful track was "Every Night", which was later a hit for singer Phoebe Snow. The simplicity of the album later became a touchstone for the lo-fi movement of the 1990s. Unfortunately it was released close to the release of the Beatles' Let It Be, contributing to some discord among the group members.

McCartney followed this in 1971 with the stand-alone single "Another Day/Oh Woman, Oh Why", the former of which to some recalled the observational style of his mid-period Beatles work. The album Ram, later in 1971, was credited to both Paul and Linda, and featured back-up from, for the most part, studio musicians. While both single and album were commercially popular, detractors viewed them as largely insubstantial. The album's artwork included a picture of two beetles copulating - a possible hint at McCartney's feelings toward his previous group. The album also contained some apparent references towards Lennon, notably in the song "Too Many People" ("Too many people preaching practices, don't let 'em tell you what you wanna be"); later that year, Lennon responded with the famously scathing "How Do You Sleep?"; then followed the McCartneys' song "Dear Friend", on Wild Life, the first album released by Wings.

McCartney famously insisted that his wife should be involved with his music — and later tour in his bands so they did not have to be apart while he travelled — in spite of her protests that she was not talented enough. After hearing Linda sing, many seconded her opinion, but Paul's move was clearly a deliberate act, intended to help dispel some of the lingering Beatles mystique and prove his assertion that "anyone can do it". Despite persistent attacks on her ability (including one notorious 1990s bootleg concert tape in which her out-of-tune vocals were deliberately mixed to the fore), Linda became a valuable member of McCartney's bands and an inspiring musician throughout the remainder of her life. (In many ways this paralleled the role that Yoko Ono played in Lennon's post-Beatles musical life, just as there would be organisational similarities between Wings and Lennon's Plastic Ono Band).

Wings

Main article: Wings

File:Pm3.jpg
Paul McCartney, on tour with Wings, c. 1976.

Briefly, after an uneven start and despite many personnel changes, Wings became one of the most successful 1970s rock bands, hitting its artistic apex in late 1973 with the Band on the Run album and its commercial apex in 1976 with a wildly popular world tour.

Solo again: 1980s

In 1980, as Wings came to an end, McCartney made international headlines when he was arrested for possession of marijuana in Japan and he spent nine days in prison there before being deported. Since that time, he has reportedly stopped using all drugs, although it is generally believed that he used marijuana consistently throughout the late 1960s and 1970s. He was quoted in the 2000s as saying that he had recently given up marijuana at the behest of his second wife.

Despite the devastating blow of the murder of John Lennon in December 1980, McCartney enjoyed continued success in the early 1980s. A live version of his song "Coming Up" hit #1 in the US, while the UK sent his album McCartney II to the top of the charts. McCartney II was an intriguing update of the recording approach he used ten years earlier for his eponymous debut, playing every instrument himself, with an emphasis on synthesizers this time instead of acoustic guitars. His 1982 album Tug of War was a major success and in the same year he scored two huge hits with duet singles: "Ebony and Ivory", recorded with soul legend Stevie Wonder; and "The Girl Is Mine", recorded with emerging pop megastar Michael Jackson. Tug of War also included his moving eulogy to Lennon, "Here Today". Another successful McCartney-Jackson duet, "Say Say Say" was released in 1983 from the Pipes of Peace album. The title song made the top of the charts in Britain. He then wrote and starred in the 1984 film Give My Regards To Broad Street, which included a role for a young actress named Tracey Ullman. The film and soundtrack featured the US and UK top ten hit "No More Lonely Nights".

McCartney's friendship with Jackson was short-lived. Not long afterward, Jackson paid a huge sum to acquire the Northern Songs catalogue, which included the publishing rights to most of the Beatles' songs. McCartney has made it clear that he does not wish to have the catalogue back. According to Contact Music [2], McCartney 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."

In the mid-1980s, while making a home movie reminiscing about his days as a schoolboy, McCartney discovered the 1837 building which had once been his old school was derelict. He purchased it, and pursued a dream he had always had of helping his home town of Liverpool in some way. January 1996 saw the dedication of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, of which Paul is the lead patron. On June 7 1996, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the building.

In the late 1980s McCartney began a songwriting partnership with Elvis Costello, with the resulting songs appearing on several albums by both artists. The best known of these are the 1989 hit "Veronica", from Costello's album Spike, and "My Brave Face", a modest hit from McCartney's album Flowers in the Dirt.

During 1989-1990 McCartney staged a major, year-long world tour, in which for the first time he included a substantial number of Beatles songs in the set list. The Paul McCartney World Tour was a huge success, filling arenas and stadiums at each stop, and was documented by the album Tripping the Live Fantastic. Costello had also gotten McCartney to unearth his iconic Höfner violin-shaped bass guitar from Beatles days; besides being used on records again, it became a familiar sight on stage, a visual link to the past.

1990s

Following the release of the album Off the Ground, the similarly-scaled New World Tour took place in 1993. The live album capturing this tour, Paul Is Live, parodied the famous Paul Is Dead conspiracy of the late '60s - in both the title, and in the cover art which showed McCartney walking across the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing on his own - once again showing his willingness to acknowledge his Beatles past. (The dog with him is a descendant of Martha, his pet sheepdog from the Beatles years and inspiration for the song "Martha, My Dear" on The Beatles' White Album.)

McCartney and his wife became outspoken vegetarians and animal-rights activists. McCartney tells the story of how their vegetarian instincts were realised when they happened to see lambs frolicking in a field as they ate a meal of lamb. In 1991, Linda introduced her own line of vegetarian meals to the general market. After Linda's death in 1998, Paul pledged to continue her line of food and keep it free from genetically modified organisms.

In 1991 McCartney made his first complete foray into classical music, collaborating with Carl Davis to compose the quasi-autobiographical Liverpool Oratorio. This was received well in general, although many commented that the music lacked the complexity normally associated with the genre. Liverpool Oratorio had its North American premiere in Carnegie Hall in New York on 18 November 1991 with Davis conducting and both McCartneys in attendance.

In 1994, McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr reunited to release the first of the Beatles' Anthology albums, consisting of alternative takes and live recordings of Beatles songs; volumes two and three were released the next year. They also created two new Beatles songs by layering new music on unfinished tracks Lennon had made before his death fourteen years earlier.

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Sir Paul McCartney's coat of arms.

In the late 1990s McCartney was involved in a feud with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Their dispute centered on the writing credits for a number of Beatles songs. He had wanted to change the credits from the traditional 'Lennon-McCartney' to 'Paul McCartney and John Lennon' for songs McCartney had primarily composed. Ono was offended by this move, which she felt broke an agreement that the two had made while Lennon was still alive to credit songs as a team. However, McCartney has stated, to the contrary, that he and Lennon agreed the credits could be inverted, if so desired, in future endeavours. The two other Beatles agreed that the credits should remain as they always had been and McCartney withdrew his request.

On March 11, 1997, McCartney was knighted (Knight Bachelor) by Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1998, McCartney's wife Linda died after a prolonged bout with breast cancer, the same illness that, decades before, had claimed McCartney's mother.

Run Devil Run was released in 1999 to positive reviews. In the same year, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist (he was inducted with the rest of the Beatles in 1988).

In 1997 he had made his second venture into classical music with Standing Stone, a work that received a mixed response. In 1999 he released Working Classical, a collection of shorter pieces and pop songs redone for string quartet or orchestra.

McCartney is also a visual artist. For more than 17 years he has been a committed painter, finding in his work on canvas both a respite from the world and another outlet for his drive to create. His painting has generally been a private endeavour. In April 1999, however, he exhibited his work for the first time in Siegen, Germany, where it met with acclaim. That led to his decision to share the work in galleries across the UK. He is also a fan of animation, having released Tropic Island Hum, a CD compilation of various animation music that he has done over the years.

2000s

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DVD cover of Wingspan:An Intimate Portrait (2001)

In 2001, McCartney released Wingspan: Hits and History, an updated best-hits collection of music from his band Wings, accompanied by a DVD Wingspan:An Intimate Portrait, a visual history of the band released later in the year.

In 2001 McCartney published Blackbird Singing, a volume of poetry, some of which were lyrics to his songs, giving readings at Liverpool and New York; the selections being serious (Here Today, about John Lennon) and humorous (Maxwell's Silver Hammer). In the same year he contributed to an album titled "Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records" that included a version of the Elvis Presley hit That's All Right Mama recorded with Presley musicians Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana.

On 20 October 2001 McCartney took a lead role in organising the Concert for New York City, a celebration of the resilience, and pride of New York and America in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The concert was held at Madison Square Garden and featured performances by The Who, the Backstreet Boys, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Destiny's Child, Eric Clapton, Adam Sandler, Bon Jovi, Elton John, James Taylor and many more. McCartney was the final performer and debuted his song "Freedom."

McCartney continues to release pop albums (Run Devil Run, Wingspan: Hits and History, Flaming Pie, Driving Rain,Chaos and Creation in the Backyard), as well as campaign for the groups Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among others.

In June 2002 McCartney married Heather Mills, a former model and anti-landmines campaigner, in a highly elaborate ceremony at Castle Leslie in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland. He has joined with her to campaign against landmines, and he has donated substantial sums to the cause. In early 2003, for example, he held a personal concert for the wife of banker Ralph Whitworth and donated one million dollars to Adopt-a-Landmine. Paul and Heather's first child, Beatrice Milly, was born on October 28, 2003.

Of Paul and Linda's children, James can be heard playing guitar in McCartney's latest albums; Mary is the baby inside McCartney's jacket in the back cover photograph of his first solo album, and was one of the producers of the Wingspan:An Intimate Portrait documentary; Heather is a potter, and can be seen as a young girl in the Let It Be film; and Stella is a famous, award-winning fashion designer and animal rights activist. Paul's nephew, Josh McCartney, is the drummer of the Wirral band The Famous Last Words.

In 2002 McCartney launched another major American tour, garnering strong notices for an energetic and tight supporting band and an evocative and varied show that appealed to fans of all generations. This leg became the top-grossing U.S. tour of the year, taking in over $126 million. The tour has subsequently continued around the rest of the world in 2003 and 2004.

McCartney performed during the pre-game ceremonies at the NFL's Super Bowl XXXVI on 3 February 2002 and was the halftime performer at Super Bowl XXXIX on 6 February 2005. Unlike in many previous years, he was the only performer in the entire halftime show. His set consisted of "Drive My Car", "Get Back", "Live and Let Die" and "Hey Jude." It featured an interesting stage design, fireworks, and fan-held placards.

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".

McCartney's album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard was released in September 2005, coinciding with the start of another successful U.S. tour. Longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich, suggested to McCartney by George Martin, produced the album, recorded in London and Los Angeles over the prior two years. McCartney was to use his concert backing band in the studio but later decided to play almost all the instruments himself, including drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, block flute, harmonium, and flugelhorn. The album included both up-tempo and introspective numbers, and included "Follow Me", which McCartney had debuted at the Glastonbury Festival in 2004. "Fine Line" was released as the first single on August 29, 2005, with "Jenny Wren" selected as the follow-up single. The album reached #10 and #6 at UK and US charts, respectively, and also achieved success in other countries' pop charts, such as France (#2) and Italy (#3). The album has been nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

He released a children's book in October 2005. The book is called High in the Clouds: An Urban Furry Tail and tells the story of a frog and a squirrel who save the lives of other animals. McCartney teamed up with veteran children's book author Philip Ardagh and animator Geoff Dunbar. The picture book is to be released with a first print of 500,000 copies.

McCartney, currently 63, says he hopes to keep playing even after he is 64, a reference to the Beatles song, "When I'm Sixty-Four".

His voice remains fresh live and on record, compared with other, still-active artists from the 1960s. On Chaos and Creation in the Backyard we hear vocals similar to those found on the Beatles albums.

Pseudonyms

Over the years McCartney has released work under a number of alter egos. This has generally been for more experimental and less commercial material. In 1967 he produced the song "I'm the Urban Spaceman" by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, but McCartney was credited as "Apollo C. Vermouth".

In 1977 he released an orchestral version of the Ram album under the name Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington. In the 1990s he collaborated with Youth of Killing Joke under the name The Fireman and 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 the 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.

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 his credited name as guest performer (drums and backing vocals) on the Steve Miller Band song "My Dark Hour".

Discography

For a detailed discography, see: Paul McCartney discography

Achievements, World Records, and Misc. Trivia

  • Appears in the Guinness Book of Records several times.
    • "Yesterday" listed as the most covered song in history with over 3000 existing versions
    • The most successful popular-music composer and recording artist ever with sales of 100 million singles and 60 gold discs
    • Honoured by Guinness in 1979 with a unique rhodium disc, recognising this achievement
    • The largest stadium audience in history when 184,000 paid to see him perform at Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in April 1990
    • The fastest ticket sales in history, which took place in 1993 when 20,000 tickets for 2 shows in Sydney, Australia sold out in eight minutes
    • Was involved with the fastest-released single in history; on July 2, 2005 his performance of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" with U2 at Live 8 was released 45 minutes after the performance took place. (The single reached #6 on the Billboard charts just hours after the single release, and hit #1 on numerous online download charts across the world.)
  • The only artist to have UK number one singles as a soloist ("Pipes of Peace"), and part of a duo ("Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder), trio ("Mull of Kintyre" with Wings), quartet ("She Loves You", among many others, with The Beatles), quintet ("Get Back" The Beatles with Billy Preston) and sextet ("Let It Be" with Ferry Aid). He was also a member of charity ensemble Band Aid which had a UK number one with Do They Know It's Christmas?
  • "Yesterday" was confirmed as world's most popular song with over 6,000,000 airplays in the USA alone.
  • Received an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex.
  • The first rock musician ever to receive the Order of Merit of Chile for "services to music, peace, and human understanding."
  • First recipient of the Swedish Polar Music Prize ("Nobel Prize for music").
  • 1998 Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award. From People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), according to another website.
  • Between his work with the Beatles and as a solo artist and leader of Wings, McCartney has written or co-written more than 50 Top Ten singles. When combined with the Beatles' 49 Top 40 U.S. singles, Paul McCartney is the most successful pop-music composer ever and the second greatest hitmaker, behind Elvis Presley.
  • Is the richest rock star in the world, with an estimated personal fortune of £762 million in 2004.
  • Was the only Beatle to achieve any qualifications at secondary school, doing particularly well in Art.
  • Made an honorary detective by the NYPD.
  • The only Beatle to ever have been nominated for an Academy Award in his own right.
  • In 1997 he was knighted (Knight Bachelor) for his services to music. He dedicated his knighthood to fellow Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and the people of Liverpool. Aides commented that he won't be calling himself "Sir Paul"; "He's always been a modest chap and he won't be getting us all bowing and scraping," one aide said. (Harrison joked at the time that he and Starr were "already calling him 'His Lordship'".)
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 (as a solo artist).
  • Along with many other famous artists, for instance Ringo Starr and Mozart, Paul McCartney is left-handed.
  • Has never been able to read musical notation; instead, writes and plays by ear.

See also

References

Spitz, Bob. The Beatles: The Biography, Little, Brown, and Company: New York, 2005.

External links

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