On this day, 70 years ago, one of the most influential singer-songwriters in history was born in Liverpool, England. Join us as we take a look back at the life and work of the iconic English musician in this installment of Today in History.
On June 18, 1941, James Paul McCartney was born in Walton Hospital in Liverpool, England to a midwife mother, Mary, and a volunteer firefighter father, James McCartney. He had a brother, Michael, who is two years younger. He went to Stockton Wood Primary School in 1947, Joseph Williams Junior School in 1952, and passed the 11-plus exam for admission to Liverpool Institute a year later. While in a bus on the way to the Institute in 1954, McCartney met George Harrison, who also passed the 11-plus exam.
McCartney gained an inclination for music through his father, who was a trumpet player and pianist for Jim Mac’s Jazz Band. “Jim,” as he was fondly called, took his sons Paul and Michael to local brass band concerts, and also gave the former a nickel-plated trumpet as a present for his 14th birthday. However, Paul traded it for an acoustic guitar, leaning towards the popular rock and roll music.
In early July 1957, 15-year-old McCartney met John Lennon and his band called the Quarrymen. He joined the skiffle band and worked closely with Lennon soon after. A year later, Harrison joined them as the lead guitarist, followed by Stuart Sutcliffe, Lennon’s friend, as the bassist. In 1960, they toyed with a couple of band names, including “The Silver Beetles” which they used as they toured Scotland. Later in August 1960, Pete Best joined the group as the drummer, and they finally settled with a name: The Beatles.
McCartney and his fellow Beatles first performed in Hamburg, Germany, where they also first made professional recordings as Tony Sheridan’s backing band. This later brought the upcoming band to the attention of Brian Epstein, who became their manager in January 1962. McCartney became the reluctant bassist when Sutcliffe left the band in 1961. Ringo Starr replaced Best as the drummer in 1962, and with it, this the final line-up of the iconic band was complete.
The Beatles were later on signed by Epstein for a record contract with Parlophone and released their first hit, Love Me Do in October 1962. And the rest, as they say, is history.
McCartney later on formed a successful songwriting partnership with Lennon, and the two worked to create many of The Beatles’ most popular hits, such as I Want to Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love, We Can Work It Out, Yesterday, Hey Jude, Let It Be, and The Long and Winding Road.
After The Beatles broke up in 1970, McCartney carried on with his musical career, first as a solo artist, then with a band called Wings, which he formed together with guitarist Denny Laine, drummer Denny Seiwell, and his wife, Linda. Paul and Linda had four children: Heather (whom he adopted), Mary, Stella, and James.
Now, it’s time for us to greet the legendary musician a happy birthday and listen to one of his best known and equally legendary songs:
Paul McCartney Week starts today, so stay tuned for more tribute articles on the famed English musician in the coming days!