THE BLOG

Happy Birthday Mr McCartney

18/06/2014 13:47 BST | Updated 18/08/2014 10:59 BST

Where to start! What can we say about Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM that hasn't been said before. Maybe start with this - Paul McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100 million singles in the United Kingdom alone.

Sir Paul has written and co-written 188 charted records, of which 91 reached the Top 10 and 33 made it to No.1 totaling 1,662 weeks on the chart.

His song Yesterday has been recorded by over 2,000 artists, (the original version we all know and love was recorded in just two takes!), and since its 1965 release it has been played more than 7 million times on American radio.

Wings' 1977 single Mull of Kintyre became the first single to sell more than two million copies in the United Kingdom and remains the UK's top selling non-charity single.

Not bad for a self-taught musician!

Paul was born in Walton Hospital in Liverpool, England on 18 June 1942, where his mother, Mary worked as a nurse in the maternity ward.

On 6 July 1957, 15 year-old McCartney met 16 year-old John Lennon who was appearing with The Quarrymen at the St. Peter's Church Hall fête in Woolton. Paul impressed the leader of The Quarry Men by not only showing him how to tune a guitar, but also by performing a version of Eddie Cochran's Twenty Flight Rock. McCartney was offered a job with the band (playing guitar), and after a few practices debuted at the New Clubmoor Hall, Norris Green, Liverpool on 18 October 1957.

McCartney invited his friend George Harrison to watch the group. The fourteen-year-old auditioned for Lennon on the upper deck of a bus, playing Raunchy by Bill Justis. Lennon thought Harrison was too young for the band, but after about a month of persistence he joined as lead guitarist.

Rory Storm and the Hurricanes drummer Ringo Starr joined The Beatles in 1962 and the fab-four we all know and love where on their way to become the most successful group on the planet.

It's hard to imagine now in this modern world just how famous The Beatles became. Before their first hit record, The Beatles had well and truly paid their dues, playing hundreds of gigs, not just in and around Liverpool, but their 8-hour long daily shows in Hamburg Germany taught these young men not only stage craft but how to play to an unresponsive and sometimes aggressive audience.

The Beatles introduced more innovations into popular music than any other rock band of the 20th century. Relentlessly imaginative and experimental, from their first hit Love Me Do, in 1962, the songwriting partnership of Lennon and McCartney was unbeatable. A Hard Day's Night, Ticket To Ride, Help!, Paperback Writer, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Hey Jude, and these were just the singles.

The Beatles also created some of the first music videos, having filmed promotional films in 1965 for broadcasters to show across the US and Europe (rather than have to appear live). Their 1967 promos for Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane have even more similarity to modern music videos, with each one created for just the individual song.

With estimated sales of over one billion units. The Beatles have had more No.1 albums on the UK charts and have held the top spot longer than any other musical act. In the short space of just eight years, The Beatles prolific output changed not just pop music but modern culture, their songs became the soundtrack to millions of peoples lives, and the fab-four became figureheads of the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s.

In 1969, the Northern Star newspaper of Northern Illinois University ran a story claiming that Paul McCartney had been killed in a car crash in 1966 and had been replaced by a look-alike. Russell Gibb of WKNR-FM in Detroit picked up on the claim and the story went worldwide. By late October 1969, the hoax was so well entrenched that McCartney came out of seclusion at his Scottish farm to deny the story. When McCartney was asked to comment by a reporter visiting Macca's farm, he replied, "Do I look dead? I'm as fit as a fiddle."

After leaving The Beatles, McCartney launched a successful solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda Eastman, and singer-songwriter Denny Laine.

Out of all the former Beatles, McCartney by far has enjoyed the most successful solo career, maintaining a constant presence in the British and American charts during the '70s and '80s. In America alone, he had nine No.1 singles from his first chart topper Another Day in 1971 and scored seven No.1 albums during the first 12 years of his solo career. In 1973, Band on the Run was simultaneously McCartney's best-reviewed album and his most successful, spending four weeks at the top of the US charts and eventually going triple platinum.

In 1983, McCartney sang on The Girl Is Mine, the first single from Michael Jackson's blockbuster album Thriller. In return, Jackson duetted with McCartney on Say Say Say, the first single from McCartney's 1983 album Pipes of Peace and the last No.1 single of his career.

In 1988, he recorded a collection of rock & roll oldies called Choba B CCCP for release in the U.S.S.R.; it was given official release in the US and UK in 1991. For 1989's Flowers in the Dirt, McCartney co-wrote several songs with Elvis Costello; Early in 1991, McCartney released another live album in the form of Unplugged, which was taken from his appearance on MTV's acoustic concert program of the same name; it was the first Unplugged album to be released.

On 20 June 2004, Paul played his 3,000 concert when he appeared in St Petersburg, Russia. Over his career, Paul played 2,523 gigs with The Beatles, 140 with Wings, and over 400 as a solo artist.

Happy birthday Paul!