Backstage with Paul McCartney ~ Activist, Musical Artist & Composer Extraordinaire

No Lies Radio Music – By Teri Perticone – June 29, 2019

Sir James Paul McCartney CH MBE (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of popular music. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written, or co-written, 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009 he had 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history.[2] After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.

More than 2,200 artists have covered McCartney’s Beatles song “Yesterday”, making it one of the most covered songs in popular music history. Wings’ 1977 release “Mull of Kintyre” is one of the all-time best-selling singles in the UK. McCartney has released an extensive catalogue of songs as a solo artist and has composed classical and electronic music. His most recent album, Egypt Station (2018), became his first album in 36 years to top the Billboard 200, and his first to debut at number one.[3]


Yesterday – Paul McCartney

A two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and as a solo artist in 1999) and an 18-time Grammy Award winner, McCartney, Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr all received appointment as Members of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and, in 1997, McCartney was knighted for services to music. He has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, seal hunting, land mines, vegetarianism, poverty, and music education. He has married three times and is the father of five children. McCartney is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$1.2 billion.

James Paul McCartney was born on 18 June 1942 in Walton Hospital, Liverpool, England, where his mother, Mary Patricia (née Mohin), had qualified to practise as a nurse. His father, James (“Jim”) McCartney, was absent from his son’s birth due to his work as a volunteer firefighter during World War II.[5] McCartney has one younger brother named Michael and a stepsister, Ruth. The children were baptised in their mother’s Catholic faith, even though their father was a former Protestant, who had turned agnostic. Religion was not emphasised in the household.[6]

McCartney attended Stockton Wood Road Primary School in Speke from 1947 until 1949, when he transferred to Joseph Williams Junior School in Belle Vale because of overcrowding at Stockton.[7] In 1953, with only three others out of ninety examinees, he passed the 11-Plus exam, meaning he could attend the Liverpool Institute, a grammar school rather than a secondary modern school.[8] In 1954, he met schoolmate George Harrison on the bus from his suburban home in Speke. The two quickly became friends; McCartney later admitted: “I tended to talk down to him because he was a year younger.”[9]

McCartney’s mother, Mary, was a midwife and the family’s primary wage earner; her earnings enabled them to move into 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, where they lived until 1964.[11] She rode a bicycle to her patients; McCartney described an early memory of her leaving at “about three in the morning [the] streets … thick with snow”.[12] On 31 October 1956, when McCartney was 14, his mother died of an embolism.[13] McCartney’s loss later became a point of connection with John Lennon, whose mother, Julia, had died when he was 17.[14]

McCartney’s father was a trumpet player and pianist, who had led Jim Mac’s Jazz Band in the 1920s. He kept an upright piano in the front room, encouraged his sons to be musical and advised McCartney to take piano lessons. However, McCartney preferred to learn by ear.[15][nb 1] When McCartney was 11, his father encouraged him to audition for the Liverpool Cathedral choir, but he was not accepted. McCartney then joined the choir at St Barnabas’ Church, Mossley Hill.[18] McCartney received a nickel-plated trumpet from his father for his fourteenth birthday, but when rock and roll became popular on Radio Luxembourg, McCartney traded it for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar, since he wanted to be able to sing while playing.[19] He found it difficult to play guitar right-handed, but after noticing a poster advertising a Slim Whitman concert and realising that Whitman played left-handed, he reversed the order of the strings.[20] McCartney wrote his first song, “I Lost My Little Girl”, on the Zenith, and composed another early tune that would become “When I’m Sixty-Four” on the piano. American rhythm and blues influenced him, and Little Richard was his schoolboy idol; “Long Tall Sally” was the first song McCartney performed in public, at a Butlin’s Filey holiday camp talent competition.[21]

1957–1960: The Quarrymen

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.[22] The Quarrymen played a mix of rock and roll and skiffle, a type of popular music with jazz, blues and folk influences.[23] 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.[24] By May 1960 the band had tried several names, including Johnny and the Moondogs, Beatals and the Silver Beetles.[25] They adopted the name the Beatles in August 1960 and recruited drummer Pete Best shortly before a five-engagement residency in Hamburg.[26]

1960–1970: The Beatles

The Beatles were informally represented by Allan Williams; in 1960, the group booked its first performance at a residency in Hamburg.[27][nb 2] In 1961, Sutcliffe left the band and McCartney reluctantly became their bass player.[29] 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”.[30] 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.[31] 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”.[32][nb 3][nb 4]

In August 1965, the Beatles released the McCartney composition “Yesterday”, featuring a string quartet. Included on the Help! LP, the song was the group’s first recorded use of classical music elements and their first recording that involved only a single band member.[35] “Yesterday” became one of the most covered songs in popular music history.[36] Later that year, during recording sessions for the album Rubber Soul, McCartney began to supplant Lennon as the dominant musical force in the band. Musicologist Ian MacDonald wrote, “from [1965] … [McCartney] would be in the ascendant not only as a songwriter, but also as instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and de facto musical director of the Beatles.”[37] Critics described Rubber Soul as a significant advance in the refinement and profundity of the band’s music and lyrics.[38] Considered a high point in the Beatles catalogue, both Lennon and McCartney said they had written the music for the song “In My Life”.[39] McCartney said of the album, “we’d had our cute period, and now it was time to expand.”[40] Recording engineer Norman Smith stated that the Rubber Soul sessions exposed indications of increasing contention within the band: “the clash between John and Paul was becoming obvious … [and] as far as Paul was concerned, George [Harrison] could do no right—Paul was absolutely finicky.”[41]

In 1966, the Beatles released the album Revolver. Featuring sophisticated lyrics, studio experimentation, and an expanded repertoire of musical genres ranging from innovative string arrangements to psychedelic rock, the album marked an artistic leap for the Beatles.[42] The first of three consecutive McCartney A-sides, the single “Paperback Writer” preceded the LP’s release.[43] The Beatles produced a short promotional film for the song, and another for its B-side, “Rain”. The films, described by Harrison as “the forerunner of videos”, aired on The Ed Sullivan Show and Top of the Pops in June 1966.[44] Revolver also included McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby”, which featured a string octet. According to Gould, the song is “a neoclassical tour de force … a true hybrid, conforming to no recognizable style or genre of song”.[45] Except for some backing vocals, the song included only McCartney’s lead vocal and the strings arranged by producer George Martin.[46][nb 5]


The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby (From “Yellow Submarine”)

The band gave their final commercial concert at the end of their 1966 US tour.[48] Later that year, McCartney completed his first musical project independently of the group—a film score for the UK production The Family Way. The score was a collaboration with Martin, who used two McCartney themes to write thirteen variations. The soundtrack failed to chart, but it won McCartney an Ivor Novello Award for Best Instrumental Theme.[49]

Upon the end of the Beatles’ performing career, McCartney sensed unease in the band and wanted them to maintain creative productivity. He pressed them to start a new project, which became Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, widely regarded as rock’s first concept album.[50] McCartney was inspired to create a new persona for the group, to serve as a vehicle for experimentation and to demonstrate to their fans that they had musically matured. He invented the fictional band of the album’s title track.[51] As McCartney explained, “We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that fucking four little mop-top approach. We were not boys we were men … and [we] thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers.”[52]

Starting in November 1966, the band adopted an experimental attitude during recording sessions for the album.[53] According to engineer Geoff Emerick, “the Beatles were looking to go out on a limb, both musically and sonically … we were utilising a lot of tape varispeeding and other manipulation techniques … limiters and … effects like flanging and ADT.”[54] Their recording of “A Day in the Life” required a forty-piece orchestra, which Martin and McCartney took turns conducting.[55] The sessions produced the double A-side single “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” in February 1967, and the LP followed in June.[33][nb 6] McCartney’s “She’s Leaving Home” was an orchestral pop song. MacDonald described the track as “[among] the finest work on Sgt. Pepper—imperishable popular art of its time”.[57] Based on an ink drawing by McCartney, the LP’s cover included a collage designed by pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, featuring the Beatles in costume as the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, standing with a host of celebrities.[58][nb 7] The heavy moustaches worn by the Beatles reflected the growing influence of hippie style trends on the band, while their clothing “spoofed the vogue in Britain for military fashions”, wrote Gould.[60] Scholar David Scott Kastan described Sgt. Pepper as “the most important and influential rock-and-roll album ever recorded”.[61]


The Beatles

Epstein’s death at age 32 in August 1967 created a void, which left the Beatles perplexed and concerned about their future.[63] McCartney stepped in to fill that void and gradually became the de facto leader and business manager of the group that Lennon had once led.[64] In his first creative suggestion after this change of leadership, McCartney proposed that the band move forward on their plans to produce a film for television, which was to become Magical Mystery Tour. According to Beatles’ historian Mark Lewisohn, the project was “an administrative nightmare throughout”.[65] McCartney largely directed the film, which brought the group their first unfavourable critical response.[66] However, the film’s soundtrack was more successful. It was released in the UK as a six-track double extended play disc (EP), and as an identically titled LP in the US, filled out with five songs from the band’s recent singles.[33] The only Capitol compilation later included in the group’s official canon of studio albums, the Magical Mystery Tour LP achieved $8 million in sales within three weeks of its release, higher initial sales than any other Capitol LP up to that point.[67]

The Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine, loosely based on the imaginary world evoked by McCartney’s 1966 composition, premiered in July 1968. Though critics admired the film for its visual style, humour and music, the soundtrack album issued six months later received a less enthusiastic response.[68] By late 1968, relations within the band were deteriorating. The tension grew during the recording of their eponymous double album, also known as the “White Album”.[69][nb 8] Matters worsened the following year during the Let It Be sessions, when a camera crew filmed McCartney lecturing the group: “We’ve been very negative since Mr. Epstein passed away … we were always fighting [his] discipline a bit, but it’s silly to fight that discipline if it’s our own”.[71]

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.[72] Abbey Road was the band’s last recorded album, and Martin suggested “a continuously moving piece of music”, urging the group to think symphonically.[73] 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.[73] 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”.[74]

McCartney was in the midst of business disagreements with his bandmates when he announced his departure from the group on 10 April 1970.[75] He filed a suit for the band’s formal dissolution on 31 December 1970. More legal disputes followed as McCartney’s attorneys– his in-laws John and Lee Eastman–fought the three remaining Beatles’ business manager, Allen Klein, over royalties and creative control. An English court legally dissolved the Beatles on 9 January 1975, though sporadic lawsuits against their record company EMI, Klein, and each other persisted until 1989.[64][nb 9][nb 10]

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.”[80][81]


Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

1970–1981: Wings

After the Beatles broke up in 1970, McCartney continued his musical career with his first solo release, McCartney, a US number-one album. Apart from some vocal contributions from Linda, McCartney is a one-man album, with McCartney providing compositions, instrumentation and vocals.[83][nb 11] In 1971, he collaborated with Linda and drummer Denny Seiwell on a second album, Ram. A UK number one and a US top five, Ram included the co-written US number-one hit single “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”.[85] Later that year, ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine joined the McCartneys and Seiwell to form the band Wings.

1982–1990

In 1982, McCartney collaborated with Stevie Wonder on the Martin-produced number-one hit “Ebony and Ivory”, included on McCartney’s Tug of War LP, and with Michael Jackson on “The Girl Is Mine” from Thriller.[119][nb 22] “Ebony and Ivory” was McCartney’s record 28th single to hit number one on the Billboard 100.[121] The following year, he and Jackson worked on “Say Say Say”, McCartney’s most recent US number one as of 2014. McCartney earned his latest UK number one as of 2014 with the title track of his LP release that year, “Pipes of Peace”.[122][nb 23]


Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton & Rod Stewart – All You Need Is Love (LIVE) HD

Paul McCartney still performs to this day.


Paul McCartney – Blackbird (Live)

Vegetarianism and activism

Since 1975, McCartney has been a vegetarian;[344][345] he and his wife Linda were vegetarians for most of their 29-year marriage. They decided to stop consuming meat after Paul saw lambs in a field as they were eating a meal of lamb. Soon after, the couple became outspoken animal rights activists.[346] In his first interview after Linda’s death, he promised to continue working for animal rights, and in 1999 he spent £3,000,000 to ensure Linda McCartney Foods remained free of genetically engineered ingredients.[347] In 1995, he narrated the documentary Devour the Earth, written by Tony Wardle.[348] McCartney is a supporter of the animal-rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.[349] He has appeared in the group’s campaigns, and in 2009 McCartney narrated a video for them titled “Glass Walls”, which was harshly critical of slaughterhouses, the meat industry, and their effect on animal welfare.[350][351][352][353] McCartney has also supported campaigns headed by the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, World Animal Protection, and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.[354][355]


Paul McCartney performs George Harrison’s “Something” with Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne and Ringo Starr during the “Concert for George” in 2002 at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

Following McCartney’s marriage to Mills, he joined her in a campaign against land mines, becoming a patron of Adopt-A-Minefield.[356] In 2003 in a meeting at the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin, ahead of a concert in Red Square, McCartney and Mills urged Russia to join the anti-landmine campaign.[357] In 2006, the McCartneys travelled to Prince Edward Island to raise international awareness of seal hunting. The couple debated with Danny Williams, Newfoundland’s then Premier, on Larry King Live, stating that fishermen should stop hunting seals and start seal-watching businesses instead.[358] McCartney also supports the Make Poverty History campaign.[359]


Paul McCartney – Back In The USSR (Live – Reprise)


All My Loving- Paul McCartney in Red Square Moscow

McCartney has participated in several charity recordings and performances, including the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea, Ferry Aid, Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8, and the recording of “Ferry Cross the Mersey”.[360] In 2004, he donated a song to an album to aid the “US Campaign for Burma”, in support of Burmese Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2008, he donated a song to Aid Still Required’s CD, organised as an effort to raise funds to assist with the recovery from the devastation caused in Southeast Asia by the 2004 tsunami.[361]

In 2009, McCartney wrote to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, asking him why he was not a vegetarian. As McCartney explained, “He wrote back very kindly, saying, ‘my doctors tell me that I must eat meat’. And I wrote back again, saying, you know, I don’t think that’s right … I think he’s now being told … that he can get his protein somewhere else … It just doesn’t seem right—the Dalai Lama, on the one hand, saying, ‘Hey guys, don’t harm sentient beings … Oh, and by the way, I’m having a steak.'”[362]

In 2012, McCartney joined the anti-fracking campaign Artists Against Fracking.[363]

Save the Arctic is a campaign to protect the Arctic and an international outcry and a renewed focus concern on oil development in the Arctic, attracting the support of more than five million people. This includes McCartney, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners.[364][365]

In 2015, following British prime minister David Cameron’s decision to give Members of Parliament a free vote on amending the law against fox hunting, McCartney was quoted: “The people of Britain are behind this Tory government on many things but the vast majority of us will be against them if hunting is reintroduced. It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself.”[366]


Paul McCartney – Fool On The Hill Live

Meditation

In August 1967, McCartney met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton and later went to Bangor in North Wales to attend a weekend initiation conference, where he and the other Beatles learned the basics of Transcendental Meditation.[367] He said, “The whole meditation experience was very good and I still use the mantra … I find it soothing.”[368] In 2009, McCartney and Starr headlined a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall, raising three million dollars for the David Lynch Foundation to fund instruction in Transcendental Meditation for at-risk youth.[369]


Paul McCartney Live – Let It Be – Good Evening New York City Tour (HD)

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