9 Little-Known Facts About Paul McCartney
This week marks the 72nd birthday of one of the most successful musicians in history, Beatle Paul McCartney. Being a Beatle bestows a level of fame that only four people in history could fully appreciate. As songwriting mate John Lennon once half-kiddingly proclaimed, “We’re more popular than Jesus.”
The lads from Liverpool burst upon the music scene in the mid 1960s as part of the “British Invasion,” and changed popular culture forever. Known as “the cute Beatle,” Sir Paul has written some of the most enduringly romantic songs ever recorded.
There are many unforgettable events we associate with the band: their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and at Shea Stadium, John and Yoko’s “Bed-In,” George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh. Here, in honor of his birthday, we highlight a few not-so-well-known facts surrounding Paul McCartney, a septuagenarian who still can rock an arena.
1. On October 31st, 1956, Paul’s mother, Mary, died. She was the inspiration (along with Jesus’ mother) for the line, “Mother Mary comes to me,” in his song “Let It Be.” The deaths of their mothers later served as a bond between Paul and John Lennon.
2. On Paul’s 14th birthday, his father, Jim, gave him a nickel-plated trumpet. But Paul was born to rock; he traded it in for a £15 Framus Zenith acoustic guitar.
3. McCartney met Lennon on July 6th, 1957. Lennon was playing with his band, the Quarrymen, at the St. Peter’s Church hall.
4. It was Bob Dylan who first set the Beatles on the long and winding road of drug abuse, turning them on to pot in 1964. McCartney recalls “giggling uncontrollably.”
5. In August 1965, McCartney released “Yesterday,” a song that would be covered by more than 2,200 artists—one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music.
6. McCartney invented the name—and thus the song and album title—of the fabled Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Said Paul, “We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that f**king four little mop-top approach. We were not boys; we were men…and (we) thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers.” In late 1966, McCartney had his first LSD experience. His second occurred the next year, after a session recording Sgt. Pepper’s, thus eternally cementing the bond between the drug and that album. “It opened my eyes,” he said, “(and) made me a better, more honest, more tolerant member of society.”
7. McCartney played the drums on the recordings of “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Dear Prudence,” “Martha My Dear,” “Wild Honey Pie” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”
8. McCartney continued performing long after the Beatles broke up. He fronted Wings, which in March 1973 had their first number-one single in the U.S., “My Love,” an ode to wife Linda.
9. Rock ’n’ roll has its benefits. Sir Paul has a net worth estimated at $1.2 billion.