James Paul McCartney

portrait of Paul McCartney
Live concert at Barton, England, photo by Oli Gill (13 June 2010)

Born: 18 June 1942, Liverpool, England, UK

McCartney's father Jim was a pianist and trumpeter, his mother Mary a nurse and midwife. Paul attended the Stockton Wood Road Primary School and the Joseph Williams Junior School, he was one of four out of 90 students who passed the "11-plus" exam that took him to Liverpool Institute. He met George Harrison on the bus on the way to school. In 1956, Mary died following a mastectomy, an experience that later made him closer to John Lennon. In 1957, McCartney met Lennon and The Quarrymen at a church festival and was soon part of the group. In 1960 the group, now called The Beatles, started an intense two years of playing sometimes seven days a week, mostly in clubs at Hamburg, Germany. When Stu Sutcliffe left the band, McCartney reluctantly became the bass player. They met Brian Epstein and hired him as manager, he got them a record contract in May of 1962, national success followed in 1963 and in 1964 they swept into the US.

The band broke up in 1970, McCartney immediately released a solo album and, with his wife Linda, started the band Wings. In the 1990s he started composing symphonic work, including the Liverpool Oratorio which earned him positive reviews from the classical-music critics. McCartney had participated in charity concerts, notably Live Aid in 1985; he witnessed the attack on the World Trade Center from JFK airport and was part of the group that organized The Concert for New York City. He married Linda Eastman in 1969, they performed together, had three children together plus Linda's daughter, and were together until Linda's death from breast cancer in 1998. He married Heather Mills, a former model and opponent of land mines, in 2002, they had one child, separated in 2006, and had one of the messiest and most bitter divorces in 2008. He continues to write and record in both pop and classical styles and is an active advocate for animal rights and vegetarian diets and campaigns against the use of land mines. He was knighted twice, becoming a Member of the Order of the British Empire with the group in 1965 and a Knight Bachelor in 1997's New Year Honors. He has 60 gold albums, 188 charted records, 91 in the top ten and 33 at number one — if you want the full list of honors you'll have to go to the Wikipedia link.

Biography from Wikipedia and This Day in Rock

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