Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Macca

Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool, England in 1942. Throughout Paul's childhood, his musical father, Jim, had taught him bits of trumpet, piano, and guitar. Paul had difficulties with guitar, being left handed, but figured out to play in in what looks like a backwards, upside down fashion. He wanted to play guitar because of his love for skiffle, rhythm and blues, American rock 'n' roll and artists like Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry. At age 12, he met fellow future Beatle George Harrison, who lived nearby and attended the same school as him. The next year, Paul's mother, Mary, died of cancer, which has affected him all his life. He wrote his first song, "I Lost My Little Girl," when he was 14. When he was 15, he met John Lennon and joined his band, the Quarrymen, which then consisted of John and five other schoolmates. Paul introduced George to the group in 1958, when George was only 14. They eventually lost the rest of the group down to John on guitar, Paul on bass, George on lead guitar, and Pete Best on drums in 1960. They toured Hamburg, where they became truly phenomenal rock 'n' roll performers. With that rock 'n' roll, the Beatles also first did drugs. Pete was sacked when the Beatles got a record contract and manager (Brian Epstein) for Ringo Starr, a more experienced drummer, and the rest is practically history. In 1964, after a few good singles in Britain, they conquered America with hits like "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You", and they were icons to the young generation for years. With Paul's fame, he began to date a sophisticated London actress, Jane Asher. Bob Dylan introduced all the Beatles to more drugs in 1964, at which point it became a constant in their lives. They were all given honors by the British Empire in '65, the same year when Paul penned the most covered song of all time, the glorious "Yesterday". In 1966, the Beatles stopped touring altogether and became more creative in the studio, with the help of psychedelics. Paul's songs reflecting this can be heard especially on Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's. On Christmas 1967, Paul proposed to Jane Asher. In 1968, the Beatles traveled to India to meditate with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a practice that Paul still believes in and that spawned The White Album. Later that year, Jane broke off their engagement due to infidelity. Tensions grew within the group over the death of their Brian Epstein, their failing business venture (Apple), creative differences, and their marriages and children, which you can see in the movie Let It Be. Paul wanted his girlfriend, Linda Eastman's father to manage, but the others disagreed. They came together for one last album, Abbey Road, in 1969, and effectively disbanded soon after. Paul married Linda and adopted her 6-year-old daughter, Heather that year. Linda was a profound influence on him-- she introduced him to vegetarianism and animal rights, and pushed him to make music after the Beatles' breakup. He released two solo albums working with Linda in '70-'71, McCartney and Ram. They formed Wings, a band that would last until 1981, with ever-changing members. The core was Paul, Linda, and Denny Laine. They had many hits, like "My Love," "Live and Let Die," "Band on the Run," "Jet," "Silly Love Songs," and "The Mull of Kintyre." During the '70s, Linda and Paul had three kids-- two girls (Mary and Stella) and one boy (James). After Wings split up, Paul had (and has!) a successful solo career recording with artists like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Costello. He was shocked and saddened by John Lennon's tragic death in 1980. They had just been getting back to being good friends. In '86 he made an ill-fated movie, Give My Regards To Broad Street. He wrote an opera, the Liverpool Oratorio in 1991. He continued to release an album every couple years, one under the moniker, "The Fireman". Paul reunited with George and Ringo for the Beatles Anthology in '96. He was knighted in 1997. Sadly, Linda McCartney passed away in 1998, the second woman in his life to die of cancer. In 2001, another friend and bandmate, George Harrison passed away from cancer, and Paul performed in the Concert for George. He devoted much of his time to humanitarian work and music after that, and met second wife and anti-landmine activist Heather Mills. They married in 2002, and had one daughter, Beatrice the following year. They separated in 2006. He met his current girlfriend, Nancy Shevell in 2007. He released his first album in 3 years in 2008 under The Fireman. He was honored in the White House in 2010, the first time he had visited a president. Paul still tours today.
I have found that Paul is the most common favorite of Beatle enthusiasts (examples being my friends Jordan Tippins and Jessi Garcia, my mom, my sister, my grandma, and my great-grandma. Wow, that's kind of a lot.) He was the most commercial, and sentimental, though not completely soft, as he is apt to point out. He is one of the best songwriters of all time, and how can you not love Paulie?

I hereby dedicate this post to Jordan Tippins, who openly calls Paul her "love."

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