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(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

In celebration of Paul McCartney’s birthday, here’s a look back at his amazing life:


  • Born: John Paul McCartney on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool, England
  • Age: 75
  • Paul was originally the lead guitar player for The Quarrymen, and only began playing bass guitar after Stuart Sutcliffe quit the group
  • Paul met John Lennon at a performance at a local church event; a few years later, the Beatles were formed
  • McCartney became the lead vocalist for the Beatles, but also played a variety of instruments, including bass guitar, acoustic and electric guitar, and the piano
  • Paul wrote many of the Beatles’ hit songs with John Lennon
  • “Yesterday” is the most famous song ever written, with over 3,000 cover versions recorded since it was first published
  • In 1967, each Beatles member began to follow their own individual ambitions and started to branch away from the group
  • It was Paul who finalized the breakup of the Beatles, saying he was quitting the band because of “musical differences”
  • Outside of the Beatles, McCartney had the best solo career, with nine #1 singles and seven #1 albums in the U.S alone during his first 12 years as a solo act
  • Paul released his first solo album McCartney in April 1970
  • He released the album Ram in 1971, which features contributions from his ex-wife, Linda McCartney
  • Shortly after his breakup with the Beatles, McCartney formed Wings in 1971 with his wife Linda; the band was active for 10 years
  • Wings included Denny Laine, formerly from Moody Blues, and Denny Seiwell, with Henry McCullough to come later; intended to be an all-out recording and touring band
  • The groups’ first album Wild Life was released in December of 1971; it had poor reviews and was deemed unsuccessful
  • Red Rose Speedway became McCartney’s second #1 album in America
  • Band on the Run was McCartney’s most successful record, eventually going triple platinum and winning 2 Grammys
  • Paul wrote the theme to the James Bond movie Live and Let Die; the song became a Top 10 hit in both the U.S and U.K.
  • The Wings’ single, “Mull of Kintyre” became the best-selling British single of all time; it sold over 2 million copies
  • Paul was awarded with another platinum album with London Town in 1978
  • After the breakup of Wings, McCartney went on to record more solo albums; Tug of War received the best reviews since Band on the Run
  • The single “Ebony and Ivory”, a duet with Stevie Wonder, went #1; it became McCartney’s biggest American hit
  • 1983, Paul contributed to Michael Jackson’s Thriller album with the song “The Girl is Mine”; Michael Jackson in turn recorded a duet with McCartney, “Say Say Say”
  • His last #1 album, Press to Play (1986), was the theme to the comedy movie, Spies Like Us, which featured Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd
  • Paul paired up with Elvis Costello on his album Flowers in the Dirt; the record received strong reviews and was supported by an international tour
  • Liverpool Oratorio is Paul’s first classical album, which he released in 1991
  • Flaming Pie (1997), which was largely acoustic-based, was awarded strong review and debuted at #2 on both U.S and U.K charts; highest chart placing since he left the Beatles
  • In 1999, Paul released Run Devil Run, which was a primarily a collection of cover songs
  • He received a Grammy in 2009 for his live version of “Helter Skleter”, performed on his live album Good Evening New York City
  • Paul was honored by US President Barack Obama in 2010 for his contributions to popular music
  • In 2011, Paul composed his first ballet, Oceans Kingdom


  • Paul is a vegetarian and has famously said he would “Never eat anything with a face.”
  • The “Paul is Dead” hoax from 1966 is an urban legend that Paul McCartney died in a car crash and had been secretly replaced with a lookalike. Many claim that clues to McCartney’s death can be found among the lyrics and artwork of the Beatles’ recordings
  • Paul is left-handed and couldn’t play the first guitar he bought – he had it altered when he realized the problem
  • McCartney admitted the neither him nor John knew how to read sheet music
  • Paul wrote “Hey Jude” for Julian Lennon after John’s divorce from Cynthia. The original title was “Hey Julian”
  • Paul directed his first feature film, Give My Regards to Broadway (1984); earned terrible reviews, but spawned the hit single “No More Lonely Nights”
  • He received an honorary Doctorate in music from Yale University in 2008
  • Named Musicares Person of the Year in 2012
  • The Guinness Book of Records recognizes McCartney as the most successful musician and composer in popular music history


  • Paul is of Irish decent and at one time actually spoke with a French accent
  • Paul has one younger brother named Peter Michael; he’s a British performing artist and goes by the name Mike McGear
  • Married Linda Eastman March 12, 1969; had 4 children together
  • Arrested for marijuana possession in 1980 during his Japanese tour; in jail for 10 days but released without any charges
  • Received on Knighthood in 1997
  • Lost his wife Linda in 1998 to breast cancer
  • Married Heather Mills in 2002, had one child together; split in 2005
  • Married Nancy Shevell in 2011