Paul McCartney

0 Conversations

This is a work in progress, although I note it's just been linked to from the funky new Stevie Wonder article. Whoops, eh? Normally this would spur me into doing some more work on this, but right this precise moment, ich have nicht the time.

Singer, songwriter, musician, poet, activist generally associated with the birth of the transformation of 1950s rock and roll into the modern rock and pop genres, in particular through his work with 1960s band The Beatles, usually considered the most influential band of all time, if not also the best.

Paul McCartney developed from being often the most popular member of The Beatles, due to his baby-faced looks and strong popular instinct, through some derision in the 1970s arguably stemming from being, ostensibly, the man who broke up The Beatles, but also through some poor musical choices, to the quintessential elder statesman of rock by the start of the 21st Century.

Born James Paul McCartney on 18 June, 1942, and grew up in Liverpool, England. Mother Mary died early, wrote three songs about her - Yesterday*, Here, There and Everywhere and Let It Be*.

Musical beginnings

Dad's musical past (Jim Mac's Jazz Band) - buying trumpet, realised he'd not be able to sing while playing it, swapped for guitar, found it very difficult to learn so he turned it upside down and discovered, for the first time, that he was left-handed.

At school with George Harrison. Wotton village fete - meeting John Lennon.

Hamburg - Sutcliffe stays, McCartney least bolshy and so reluctantly switches to bass (no one else would do it).

Changed their name to, simply, The Beatles.

With The Beatles

Don't name all the albums, although no one's done an article cataloguing them yet; just the McCartney side. Some songs, some things he did at the time, Beach Boys stuff, Pet Sounds to Pepper, helping on Smile sessions - celery on Vegetables. Magical Mystery Tour*, Get Back/Let It Be.

Also don't do too much about Lennon/McCartney; that should be a separate article.

Ringo Starr*Paul is dead

The Break-Up

Klein, solo album, threatening Ringo, ordered to move release date back

Relationships with former Beatles

John Lennon

McCartney and Lennon were close from the first time they met; often going round each others' homes (Forthlin Road and Menlove Avenue respectively) to write songs. Most of their early songs were written 'eyeball to eyeball', as they described it, and they would often take their later Beatles compositions to each other for approval or completion. They appeared as 'The Nerk Twins' on April 23 and 24, 1960, at the Fox And Hounds, Caversham, Berkshire*. With a similar sense of humour, they recorded the Beatles B-side You Know My Name, a mock-cabaret track featuring Goon Show-style vocals and a sax solo from Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones.

A great many people think the two were never reconciled after the break-up of The Beatles, or that, at best, it happened at the end of the 1970s. However, this is not the case.

McCartney's album Ram* contained a song Too Many People, arguably a thinly-veiled attack on what McCartney certainly saw as Lennon's pontification. Lennon responded with not only a parody of the album's cover - McCartney had been holding a ram by the ears, Lennon substituted himself and a pig - but a very obvious assault on McCartney personally and artistically in the song How Do You Sleep?*. McCartney responded with the conciliatory Dear Friend.

By 1973 relations had softened - Lennon reviewed McCartney's album Band On The Run saying, "It says 'Wings' but it's Paul McCartney music - which is great stuff." Furthermore, the two played and sang together in a March 1974 jam session. Lennon later spoke of how proud he was to have been associated with an artist of McCartney's calibre and there were strong suspicions in his final year that the two of them were planning to collaborate once more*.

One final story worth mentioning: On April 24, 1976, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels jokingly offered $3,000 to the Beatles to appear on the show. It so happened McCartney and Lennon were watching the broadcast from Lennon's appartment and briefly considered going down to the NBC studios and taking Michaels up on the offer - they then decided they couldn't be bothered.

George Harrison

harrison wedding, harrison hospital bed. Harrison later retracted early comments about McCartney's bass-playing; particularly on his song Something, which he'd first thought McCartney had been fussy on, but later thanked him for the thought he'd put into the bassline.

Ringo Starr

starr drumming, songwriting

Without The Beatles

Early Solo
Live and Let Die*


Getting better all the time. Band on the run cover


Fallow years in 1980s, not helped by a general disinterest in The Beatles' music in that decade. Does however do Ebony And Ivory with (link coming up, folks) Stevie Wonder, whom he'd known for years*.

Rupert and the Frog Song: Douglas Adams, John Lloyd and Terry Jones. However,

Resurgence in 1990s with the renewed interest in guitar rock; helped also by The Beatles Anthology (talk about this).

Flaming Pie, post-Anth album big hit.

Run Devil Run, Freedom, Driving Rain, World Tour.


Despite being unable to read music*, McCartney is considered one of the most talented members of the rock scene; self-taught on a wide variety of instruments and often cited as the finest exponent of bass-playing. In particular, his mid and late 1960s and early 1970s basslines, initially inspired by Brian Wilson's work on the Pet Sounds album, venture out of the stereotypical root bass-playing standard and often act as a counter-melody in their own right - occasionally challenging the lead guitar work - and have influenced countless musicians. Some basslines to this date are referred to as McCartney-esque.

Hofner violin bass, fender bassman, rickenbacker


Immortalised through his songs with The Beatles and from his later career such as Live and Let Die, Mull of Kintyre, and Ebony and Ivory.

McCartney essentially developed and perfected the classic 'three minute pop song' but also wrote one of the proto-Heavy Metal songs in Helter Skelter*

Other Shiznit

Animal rights etc.

Liverpool Oratorio, choral work Standing Stone, the fireman




Bookmark on your Personal Space

Conversations About This Entry

There are no Conversations for this Entry



Infinite Improbability Drive

Infinite Improbability Drive

Read a random Edited Entry

Written and Edited by


h2g2 is created by h2g2's users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the Not Panicking Ltd. Unlike Edited Entries, Entries have not been checked by an Editor. If you consider any Entry to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please register a complaint. For any other comments, please visit the Feedback page.

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more