Mighty Mac: Paul McCartney
For this week’s mighty Mac, we could only nominate Paul McCartney, given that it’s the famous scouser’s birthday today
One of the most highly regarded musicians of all time, Paul was part of some small band called The Beatles (we’d never heard of them before either), but he will of course be best known for his work with Wings.
McCartney, who turns 71 today, was born in Liverpool and met John Lennon when he was 15 years old, with the two eventually playing together in a band called The Quarrymen. McCartney actually played rhythm guitar, before one of Lennon’s friends left the band and he became the bass player, all be it reluctantly.
From there, they added Ringo Starr, became known as The Beatles, and recorded ‘Love Me Do’ which was their first big hit.
He and Lennon were to become the most famous and influential song writing duo of the 20th century, although they started out as a pop group with their matching suits and haircuts and a whole array of catchy tunes. Having gotten great success in England, they embarked on a tour in the United States, and their first television appearance across the pond on the Ed Sullivan show has become an iconic moment not only in Beatles history, but in the history of popular music. The crowd seemed to like it anyway.
They continued to evolve musically from there, with ‘Yesterday’ on Help!, a McCartney song recorded in 1965, becoming the first of their songs that showed this development.
With Rubber Soul, McCartney continued to show his influence on the group’s musical direction, and by the time Revolver was released in 1966, the band had definitely shaken off the pop image that they had been landed with, and songs like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ really showing how they had begun to experiment with influences, instruments and sounds, producing something which was more akin to psychedelic rock.
That song featured recently on Mad Men, an it apparently cost the makers of the show $250,000 for the privilege. Not bad money if you can get it.
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an album which further pushed their limits, and proved to be so ground-breaking that it is often studied as part of courses on popular music. However, tension continued to grow as the band recorded The White Album, and finally, Abbey Road, which was to be their last album, was recorded in 1969.
By 1970, McCartney announced he was leaving The Beatles, and moved on to some solo albums, before eventually forming Wings. In 1973, he recorded one of our favourite Bond theme tunes ever, ‘Live and Let Die’. We’ve been singing this all day and doing the Bond pose with our fingers shaped like a pistol.
With Wings ending in the early 80s, he continued to be involved in music, working with acts as diverse as Michel Jackson, U2, Elvis Costello and Stevie Wonder, as well as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society.
McCartney’s influence on popular music is undoubted, his ability to craft a perfect pop tune unrivalled, and he remains to this day one of the most popular touring acts going. The sheer rate at which he produced hits with The Beatles is astonishing, and we could have filled this piece with a rake of hits, but there just wouldn’t be enough space to fit them all in.
Mighty Macs is brought to you in association with Supermac’s
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