Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images


Paul McCartney
Music: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Rock Musician
Born James Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, United Kingdom

Paul McCartney could claim that he’s written music that has been and continues to be hummed by more people on the planet than any other composer in history, and it would be hard to argue. Aside from the quick-and-easy tag given to him in the early days of the Beatles as “the cute one,” McCartney’s contribution to pop culture could more accurately be shorthanded as “the melodic one” for the ineffably beautiful quality of hundreds of songs that have poured from his pen for more than half a century.

"Yesterday," "Eleanor Rigby," "The Fool on the Hill," "Can’t Buy Me Love," "We Can Work It Out," "Day Tripper," "Hey Jude," "Penny Lane," "And I Love Her," "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" barely scratch the surface of his body of work.

His place in history was secure when the Beatles decided in 1970 to go their separate ways, and yet McCartney immediately went to work establishing a solo career that would have assured him a spot in the pop music pantheon even without considering everything he’d created with the Fab Four. He became one of the most successful pop musicians of the 1970s with a string of hits created on his own and with his band, Wings, including "Band on the Run," "Maybe I’m Amazed," "My Love," "Live and Let Die," "Jet," "Silly Love Songs" and "Hi, Hi, Hi" among 50 charted singles after the Beatles disbanded. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 with the Beatles and in 1999 as a solo artist.

Along the way he’s branched out to compose music for films ("Give My Regards to Broad Street"), orchestra ("Standing Stone," "Working Classical"), choir ("Liverpool Oratorio," "Ecce Cor Meum") and, most recently, ballet ("Ocean’s Kingdom"). And stepping away from his persona as a member of rock’s royal family, he went undercover as the Fireman to collaborate with U.K. producer Youth in some electronic music experiments.

He remains one of the world’s biggest draws as a concert performer, when not busy attending to the various philanthropic activities he’s long supported and which helped land him the Recording Academy’s 2012 honor as the MusiCares Person of the Year. For his role in revolutionizing pop music, Queen Elizabeth II made him a knight of the realm in 1997.

The man who once sang "Will you still need me ... when I’m 64?" surpassed that life milestone several years ago; the answer from fans around the world has been a resounding, "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"

— Randy Lewis for the Los Angeles Times

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1970 Best Original Song Score Let It Be Win*
    1973 Best Song Live and Let Die Nomination*
    2001 Best Original Song Vanilla Sky Nomination
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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