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Paul McCartney Biography

Home > Music > M > McCartney, Paul > Biography

Birth Name: James Paul McCartney
Born: 1942/06/18
Birth Place: Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
Years Active: 1957–present
Genres: Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Experimental Rock, Rock And Roll, Pop, Hard Rock, Classical Music

Sir Paul McCartney, MBE (born James Paul McCartney, June 18, 1942) is an English musician, singer-songwriter, composer and painter. Formerly of The Beatles (1960–1970) and Wings (1971–1981), McCartney is the most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music, according to “Guinness World Records.”

McCartney gained worldwide fame as a member of The Beatles, alongside John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. McCartney and Lennon formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships and wrote some of the most popular songs in the history of rock music. After leaving The Beatles, McCartney launched a successful solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda Eastman, and singer-songwriter Denny Laine.

In 1970 he released his first solo album, the self-titled “Paul McCartney.” “McCartney” shot to #1 in the United States for three weeks, eventually going double platinum. In the United Kingdom, it was the second highest-selling album of 1970 debuting at #2, where it remained for 3 weeks. One of the most notable songs on the album was “Maybe I'm Amazed,” which went on to reach #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart upon being released as a single on the 1976 album, “Wings over America.”

“Ram,” released in 1971, is the only album credited to Paul McCartney & Linda McCartney. The album reached #1 in the U.K. and #2 in the U.S., where it spent over five months in the Top 10 and went platinum. The album has sold over two million copies. The U.S. release of the ambitious “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” would prove successful, giving McCartney his first #1 single after The Beatles.

1971’s “Wild Life” was the debut album by the newly formed Wings. The album reached #11 in the U.K. and #10 in the U.S., where it went gold. “Dear Friend” and “Love Is Strange” were popular songs on the album.

Officially credited to “Paul McCartney & Wings” the album “Red Rose Speedway” was released in 1973. Engineered by Alan Parsons, it reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. In March 1973 “My Love,” the only single from the album, was released and became a U.K. Top 10 hit and McCartney's second solo U.S. #1.

The next Paul McCartney & Wings album, “Band on the Run,” was released in 1973 and became Wings' most successful album. Bolstered by the hits “Jet” and the title track, the album was a major success. It reached #1 in the U.S. on three separate occasions, and eventually went triple platinum. In the U.K., it spent seven weeks at the summit that summer, becoming the top selling British album of 1974. In early 1975, Paul McCartney & Wings won the Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus for “Band on the Run.”

McCartney’s string of #1 albums continued in 1975 with the release of the Wings album, “Venus and Mars.” Hits singles included “Listen to What the Man Said,” “Letting Go” and “Venus and Mars/Rock Show.”

The Wings album, “Wings at the Speed of Sound,” followed in 1976 and would be the last to reach #1 until 1982’s “Tug of War.” It became McCartney's most successful U.S. album, spending seven nonconsecutive weeks at #1 throughout the summer. Much of the album’s success came from the singles, “Silly Love Songs” and “Let 'Em In.”

Wings' 1977 single “Mull of Kintyre” became the first single to sell more than two million copies in the U.K., and remains the U.K.'s top selling non-charity single. The song was written in tribute to the picturesque Kintyre peninsula in Scotland, where McCartney has owned High Park Farm since 1966, and its headland or Mull of Kintyre.

Wings closed out the decade with two additional platinum selling albums, 1978’s “London Town” and what turned out to be Wings' final album, 1979’s “Back to the Egg.”

In 1980, McCartney released “McCartney II,” his first solo album since the formation of Wings. The experimental album reached #1 in the U.K. and #3 in the U.S. The single, “Waterfalls,” was a U.K. Top 10 hit, but failed to make an impact in the U.S.

He returned to the top of the charts with the 1982 solo album, “Tug of War.” McCartney's duet with Stevie Wonder, “Ebony and Ivory,” was released to broad acclaim. It reached #1 in many countries. “Tug of War” was an instantaneous worldwide #1, selling several million copies and was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy in 1983. The follow-up single, “Take It Away” was a U.S. Top 10 entry as well.

The rest of the decade saw the release of several more acclaimed albums including “Pipes of Peace” in 1982, “Give My Regards to Broad Street” in 1984, “Press to Play” in 1986 and “Flowers in the Dirt” in 1989.

“Off the Ground” was released in 1983 and the solo album hit #5 in the U.K. and reached #17 in the U.S., where it eventually went gold. 1997’s “Flaming Pie” debuted at #2 in the U.K. and U.S. Singles “Young Boy,” “The World Tonight” and “Beautiful Night” became U.K. hits, all making the Top 40. The only single in the U.S. from the album was, “The World Tonight,” a Top 30 entry on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

McCartney closed out the 1990s with “Run Devil Run” in 1999 and opened the new millennium with “Driving Rain” in 2001. He returned to the Top 10 in the U.K. and U.S. with 2005’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.”

In the U.S. 2007’s “Memory Almost Full” debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200, making it McCartney's highest-charting album there since 1997's “Flaming Pie.” The album has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide to date and has been certified gold by the RIAA.

“Kisses on the Bottom,” an album of covers of traditional pop music, was issued in 2012. It debuted at #3 on the U.K. Albums chart and #5 on the Billboard 200, 48 years to the month after the album “Meet The Beatles!” cracked the Billboard Top 10 in February 1964. “Kisses on the Bottom” was McCartney's 18 Top 10 charting album in the U.S. as a solo artist, giving him a Top 10 album in five consecutive decades as a solo artist, and six consecutive decades including his tenure with The Beatles.

Based on the 93 weeks his compositions have spent at the top spot of the U.K. chart, and 24 number one singles to his credit, McCartney is the most successful songwriter in U.K. singles chart history. As a performer or songwriter, McCartney was responsible for 32 #1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, and has sold 15.5 million RIAA certified albums in the U.S. alone. In 1999, McCartney was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist and in May 2000, he was awarded a Fellowship by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.