By 1960, the group had settled on a new moniker, the Beatles, and George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best rounded out the group. The soon-to-be legendary “mod squad” started out in the 1960s in Hamburg, Germany, spending two years playing various nightclubs there. Sutcliffe soon left the band, leaving McCartney to pick up the slack as the group’s bass player. While in Hamburg, the Beatles recorded their first tracks, garnering the attention of Brian Epstein, who quickly signed on as the band’s manager. It wasn’t long before the Beatles headed back to their home country and began working their way into the popular consciousness there. And Best’s replacement by drummer Ringo Starr only helped the group gain popularity.
The impact that the Beatles would ultimately have on ’60s popular culture is hard to overstate. “Beatlemania” soon gripped the world, and when the group made their debut in America, the media dubbed the period of musical crossover between the two nations the “British Invasion.” This era would truly have a lasting impact on rock ‘n’ roll.
During a decade full of political and social strife, the Beatles expressed the broader hopes of their contemporaries for peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll. McCartney in particular would write more hits for the band than any other member. Songs like “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Hello, Goodbye” would provide the soundtrack for a generation. From 1962 to ’70, the group released 12 hit studio albums, touring almost constantly, before disbanding.
The Beatles disbanded in 1970, breaking fans’ hearts worldwide. However, McCartney had no intention of dropping out of the public eye. He was the first of the Beatles to release a solo album (McCartney, 1970), and though critics’ reactions were mixed, the album was a hit with the public. Encouraged, McCartney went on to form Wings, a band that would remain popular throughout the ’70s, winning two Grammy Awards and churning out multiple hit singles.
In 1969, McCartney married Linda Eastman, an American photographer who would serve as her husband’s muse for the next 30 years. The family had four children: Heather (Linda’s daughter from a previous marriage), Mary, Stella and James.
The 1980s proved a trying time for McCartney. An arrest for marijuana possession in Japan in 1980 was followed shortly by the devastating assassination of his longtime partner and friend, John Lennon. In the wake of Lennon’s death, McCartney stopped touring until 1989. He continued to play and record new music, however, collaborating with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. In the ’90s, McCartney worked with former bandmates Harrison and Starr on The Beatles Anthology documentary series.
In 2012, McCartney released Kisses on the Bottom, which featured renditions of some of his favorite songs from childhood, including classics like “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and “My Valentine.” McCartney made headlines later that year, after performing with fellow rocker Bruce Springsteen at London’s Hyde Park. The two legendary rock musicians even performed two Beatles hits together: “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout.” Unfortunately, this impressive live jam was cut short by the authorities: When the concert exceeded its scheduled end time, both Springsteen’s and McCartney’s microphones were turned off by event organizers.
McCartney signed on to headline the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, a four-day event held annually in Manchester, Tennessee. Other performers in the event’s lineup included Tom Petty, Billy Idol, John Oates of Hall & Oates, Jeff Tweedy and Björk. In 2013, he also released his album New, which was executive produced by Giles Martin, the son of longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin. The next year, McCartney collaborated with Kanye West on the hip hop artist’s single “Only One.” In 2015, they worked together again with singer Rihanna on the hit “FourFiveSeconds.” In March 2016, McCartney announced he would release Pure McCartney, a solo album spanning his legendary career, in June. The prolific superstar kicked off hisOne on One Tour in April 2016, and hinted on social media that he would also perform at a mega-concert in the Fall of 2016 with fellow rock legends including Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters.
McCartney is inarguably pop music royalty. For his contributions to global rock ‘n’ roll culture, he has been knighted, named a fellow at the Royal College of Music, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, among various other honors.
He will also appear on the big screen in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem.
Sourced by Biography.com
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