The most famous musician in the world turned 80-years-old on June 18th, 2022. Fans are happy for Paul McCartney, and are also celebrating all the excellent songs he has given us. Personally, no artist has had a greater effect on my love of music. He may even have had something to do with our son being named Paul.
Here’s a quick summary of what the above photos represent. In 1957 Paul McCartney joined John Lennon in The Quarrymen. They added George Harrison to the band, and eventually changed their name to The Beatles. In 1962 The Beatles’ classic lineup became complete with Ringo Starr, and the music they made in the 1960’s still resonates with audiences.
In 1970, McCartney started his solo career, and then he added various musicians under the band name Wings throughout the decade. From 1980 on, Paul McCartney has been solo, although he has worked with other artists from time to time.
McCartney might be the richest musician in the world, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to create more music and to tour. Most people his age have retired.
The 80 milestone for Paul McCartney generated quite a bit of attention, and one article with an interesting angle was published by Stereogum.
They asked 80 musicians to each select their favorite song from any part of Paul McCartney’s career. Since the question asked for their “favorite”, and not “the best”, there was a wide range of songs. The article included comments from the artists explaining their selections. It’s worth checking out. There was no ranking of the songs, but here’s an analysis.
The most selected song was chosen by five of the artists. That song is “Blackbird”, and we can all agree that it’s great. I don’t think anyone could have guessed the song that came in second. It was selected by four of the artists…“Martha My Dear”. Singer-songwriter Michael McDonald said “I always loved the melodic structure and the chord progression, the overall harmonic sensibility.”
Since McCartney’s sheep dog was named Martha, the lyrics are considered light, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the melody and the performance. The 2018 remix of “Martha My Dear” sounds fantastic, especially the brass arrangement.
The songs that were the third most mentioned (by three artists each) were also surprises… “You Won’t See Me” from 1965’s Rubber Soul album, and “Waterfalls” from the 1980 solo album McCartney II. The songs that were selected by two artists included “Let It Be”, “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Junk”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here There And Everywhere”, “Temporary Secretary”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Arrow Through Me”, and “The Long And Winding Road”.
The two parts of McCartney’s Beatles career that had the most songs selected were the Revolver sessions from 1966, and The White Album sessions from 1968.. Those songs are “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here There And Everywhere”, “For No One”, “Paperback Writer”, “Hey Jude”, “Blackbird”, “Martha My Dear”, “I Will”, “Rocky Raccoon”, and even “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”. It was also interesting that the choices were fairly equally divided between Paul’s Beatles career and his solo career…43 selected Beatles songs and 37 chose solo songs.
Paul McCartney has been making music for over 65 years. His career is unequalled. He wrote four of the Top-10 most recorded songs of all time (and more that have at one time been in the Top-10). He was a key part of the world’s most popular band. According to Billboard Magazine, he was the top artist of the 1970’s, and has had #1 albums spread over six decades. Impressively, he is still doing 2-and-a-half-hour shows to packed arenas. And, it’s his birthday too!
When Paul headlined the Glastonbury Festival on June 25th, 2022, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Happy Birthday Paul McCartney, and thank you for all the great music! And Happy Birthday Ringo Starr, who turned 82 on July 7th, 2022.
Bonus: On August 5th, 2022 a new box set was released with the three solo albums McCartney I, II & III.
The set is available in Vinyl & CD formats. Apple provided this triple photo of Paul McCartney from the years the albums were released…1970, 1980, and 2020: