Paul McCartney Biography
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, (born June 18, 1942) is an English rock and roll 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 greatest and most influential act of the rock era'), and Wings, is a solo artist, and has taken part in many other musical projects that were put together solely for the aim of financially assisting international charity. McCartney is the most successful popular-music composer and recording artist 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. 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 against landmines.
James Paul McCartney was born in the Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, England, where his mother, Mary, had worked as the nursing sister in the maternity ward. His brother, Michael, was born nearly two year later (7 January 1944). Paul was baptised as a 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. His maternal grandfather, Owen Mohin/Mohan was born in 1880, in Tullynamalrow, County Monaghan, Ireland, and married his maternal grandmother, Mary Theresa Danher (from Toxteth, Liverpool) in 1905.
In 1947, when Michael was three years old, Mary McCartney became a domiciliary midwife. She was on-call at all hours of any day or night, but her job 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. Paul remembered lots of mud on the unfinished roads and the feeling of being "on the edge of the world, like Christopher Columbus". Money was a problem in the McCartney house; Jim McCartney earned up to £6.00 a week working for the A. Hannay cotton company - less than his wife. The McCartneys did not own a television until The Queen's coronation in 1953, and never owned a car.
McCartney's solo career began in earnest in May 1980, with the release of McCartney II, his second solo album and the first since 1970's McCartney.
McCartney was the last Beatle to marry. However, 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, having three children along the way.
In 2002 McCartney married former model Heather Mills. The couple had one child but announced their separation in 2006.
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. 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.
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), which is where Lennon met Yoko Ono, who was showing an exhibition there.
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.
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 threashold had been reached. 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."
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). The band returned the favor with a track entitled "Mr. Apollo"; a song about an impossibly perfect body builder.
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."