Paul McCartney BIO
At the age of fifteen on 6 July 1957, McCartney met John Lennon and his band, the Quarrymen, at the St Peter’s Church Hall fête in Woolton. The Quarrymen played a mix of rock and roll and skiffle, a type of popular music with jazz, blues and folk influences. Soon afterwards, the members of the band invited McCartney to join as a rhythm guitarist, and he formed a close working relationship with Lennon. Harrison joined in 1958 as lead guitarist, followed by Lennon’s art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe on bass, in 1960. By May 1960 the band had tried several names, including Johnny and the Moondogs, Beatals and the Silver Beetles. They adopted the name the Beatles in August 1960 and recruited drummer Pete Best shortly before a five-engagement residency in Hamburg.
The Beatles were informally represented by Allan Williams; in 1960, the group booked its first performance at a residency in Hamburg. In 1961, Sutcliffe left the band and McCartney reluctantly became their bass player. While in Hamburg, they recorded professionally for the first time and were credited as the Beat Brothers, who were the backing band for English singer Tony Sheridan on the single “My Bonnie”. This resulted in attention from Brian Epstein, who was a key figure in their subsequent development and success. He became their manager in January 1962. Ringo Starr replaced Best in August, and the band had their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in October, becoming popular in the UK in 1963, and in the US a year later. The fan hysteria became known as “Beatlemania”, and the press sometimes referred to McCartney as the “cute Beatle”.
In March 1969, McCartney married his first wife, Linda Eastman, and in August, the couple had their first child, Mary, named after his late mother. Abbey Road was the band’s last recorded album, and Martin suggested “a continuously moving piece of music”, urging the group to think symphonically. McCartney agreed, but Lennon did not. They eventually compromised, agreeing to McCartney’s suggestion: an LP featuring individual songs on side one, and a long medley on side two. In October 1969, a rumour surfaced that McCartney had died in a car crash in 1966 and been replaced by a lookalike, but this was quickly refuted when a November Life magazine cover featured him and his family, accompanied by the caption “Paul is still with us”.
McCartney was depressed after the group disbanded. His wife helped him pull out of that condition by praising his work as a songwriter and convincing him to continue writing and recording. In her honour, he wrote “Maybe I’m Amazed”, explaining that with the Beatles breaking up, “that was my feeling: Maybe I’m amazed at what’s going on… Maybe I’m a man and maybe you’re the only woman who could ever help me; Baby won’t you help me understand… Maybe I’m amazed at the way you pulled me out of time, hung me on the line, Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.” He added that “every love song I write is for Linda.”
In 1980, McCartney released his second solo LP, the self-produced McCartney II, which peaked at number one in the UK and number three in the US. As with his first album, he composed and performed it alone. The album contained the song “Coming Up”, the live version of which, recorded in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1979 by Wings, became the group’s last number-one hit. By 1981, McCartney felt he had accomplished all he could creatively with Wings and decided he needed a change. The group disbanded in April 1981 after Laine quit following disagreements over royalties and salaries.
In July 2005, he performed at the Live 8 event in Hyde Park, London, opening the show with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (with U2) and closing it with “Drive My Car” (with George Michael), “Helter Skelter”, and “The Long and Winding Road”. In September, he released the rock album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, for which he provided most of the instrumentation. In 2006, McCartney released the classical work Ecce Cor Meum. The rock album Memory Almost Full followed in 2007. In 2008, he released his third Fireman album, Electric Arguments. Also in 2008, he performed at a concert in Liverpool to celebrate the city’s year as European Capital of Culture. In 2009, after a four-year break, he returned to touring and has since performed over 80 shows. More than forty-five years after the Beatles first appeared on American television during The Ed Sullivan Show, he returned to the same New York theatre to perform on Late Show with David Letterman. On 9 September 2009, EMI reissued the Beatles catalogue following a four-year digital remastering effort, releasing a music video game called The Beatles: Rock Band the same day.
In 2010, McCartney opened the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In July 2011, McCartney performed at two sold-out concerts at the new Yankee Stadium. A New York Times review of the first concert reported that McCartney was “not saying goodbye but touring stadiums and playing marathon concerts.” McCartney was commissioned by the New York City Ballet, and In September 2011 he released his first score for dance, a collaboration with Peter Martins called Ocean’s Kingdom. Also in 2011, McCartney married Nancy Shevell. He released Kisses on the Bottom, a collection of standards, in February 2012; that same month the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honoured him as the MusiCares Person of the Year, two days prior to his performance at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
In January 2017, McCartney filed a suit in United States district court against Sony/ATV Music Publishing seeking to reclaim ownership of his share of the Lennon–McCartney song catalogue beginning in 2018. Under US copyright law, for works published before 1978 the author can reclaim copyrights assigned to a publisher after 56 years. McCartney and Sony agreed to a confidential settlement in June 2017.
On 20 June 2018, McCartney released two songs, “I Don’t Know” and “Come On to Me”, from his album Egypt Station, which was released on 7 September through Capitol Records. Egypt Station became McCartney’s first album in 36 years to top the Billboard 200, and his first to debut at number one.