Paul McCartney: A Legend

Who would think that this lefty could change the world of music with his astonishing bass guitar, The Hofner 500/1 Viola Bass, brought in Hamburg for 45 pounds. He has changed the way people think about basses, considering about 30 years ago you could only see about 2 or 3 basses on the back of a music shop! He was part of the greatest band that there has been, The Beatles.

On June 18, 1942, James Paul McCartney was born at Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, England. His mother worked at the Hospital as a midwife. His brother, Peter Michael McCartney who later changed his name to Mike McGear, was born eighteen months later. His family moved a few times, but stayed near London all the time. When Paul was 13, they moved to 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, just across a golf course and a little over one mile away from where John lived with his Aunt Mimi.

Music was always a part of the McCartney household. Some years before the war, Paul's father was a salesman during the day, and a musician in a jazz band by night. Paul and his brother received piano lessons. His mother Mary died of breast cancer when Paul was fourteen, while he was in Boy Scout camp. Paul did very well in school.

When Lonnie Donnengan appeared in Liverpool and the Skiffle craze hit, Paul's father, Jim, scraped together 15 pounds for a guitar for Paul. Paul's friend Ivan Vaughan invited Paul to Woolton to see the Quarrymen play (John's band) on July 6 1957, but not really to hear the Quarrymen, it was because Vaughan had promised Paul it would be a great place to pick up girls, which Paul was really interested in at the age of 14. Later in the afternoon, after hearing the Quarrymen play, Paul borrowed a guitar and impressed the boys with all the chords and the words to "Twenty Flight Rock". Paul's first impression of John was that he was drunk. But Paul wrote down the words for "Twenty Flight Rock" and "Be Bop a Lula" for him so that John could learn them. A few days later Pete Shotten told Paul the others wanted him to join the band.

So that is the beginning of the most sophisticated band of the 60's, The band change the name and became smaller. At one time, there were 5 Beatles: Pete Best, John Lennon, Stu Sutcliffe, George Harrison and Paul McCartney. In mid 1961, Stu left the band and Paul had to take the bass job; none of the other Beatles wanted to, so he took the job. They decided to leave Pete Best and got Richard Starkey, or better known as "Ringo".

Since the Beatles, Paul has released 21 albums and staged three world tours, while evolving into classical composition, film-making and actively campaigning for ecology and animal rights. In the seventies, with releases such as "Band On The Run" and "Live and Let Die", he led his band, Wings, to great success both on the charts and on the tour around the globe. His solo period during the eighties culminated with charity performances at Live Aid and for the Prince of Wales Trust, leading him to get back on the road again.

Since 1990, Paul has traveled over 800,000 miles in concert through 22 countries. Along the way, he earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest stadium crowd in the history of Rock and Roll--184,000 in Rio de Janeiro. During the same time, he also established the "MTV Unplugged" vougue and then performed his acoustic show in clubs and pubs around Europe. In 1991, Paul staged the performance of his first classical work, "The Liverpool Oratorio", which has since been performed in more than 50 cities worldwide. In 1995-- the 30th anniversary of his most acclaimed song, "Yesterday"-- Paul's second classical work, "A Leaf", was performed at benefit concert he organized for the Royal College of Music at St. James Palace.

Aside from his music, Paul McCartney campaigns for Greenpeace, Friends of The Earth and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He is chief patron of the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, a new school similar to New York's High School of the Performing Arts, which opened in 1996. Paul has also developed his interest in film-making. His first production, "Daumier's Law," won the top prize in 1992 at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. His short feature, "Grateful Dead, A Photofilm", was entered in the London Film Festival at the invitiation of the British Film Institute.

When he is not working, Paul McCartney relaxes by painting, sailing and songwriting. This man has certainly changed the face of Rock music forever. But of course, he could only do it "with a little help from his friends".

Biography written by Alan Rodriguez.

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