Today is the 70th birthday of Sir Paul McCartney, a true rock ‘n roll icon whose importance to the music world is impossible to state in words. Therefore, we’re celebrating this milestone with music.
Sir Paul is, of course, best remembered for his time with the Beatles, but his work after the group disbanded in 1970 with Wings and as a solo artist is just as worthy of adoration and discussion. Below, I have selected one or two songs from each of the last four decades of Macca’s life. Before you say, “You missed [insert song title here],” let me state that this is in no way a definitive list and I welcome all Sir Paul fans to share their favorite tunes in the comments.
McCartney spent his 30s with Wings, a band he formed with wife Linda and Denny Laine. The group released seven albums, including “Band on the Run” and “Wings at the Speed of Sound.”
The same year Wings released its first record, “Wild Life,” McCartney also put out his second solo album, “Ram.” (Yes, “Ram” was released when McCartney was 28, so I’m cheating a little bit. I’m not sorry!)
A deluxe version of the album was reissued last month and McCartney talked to Pitchfork about why he thinks “Ram” still resonates with listeners, especially younger ones. “I think it’s because they connect with the liberty to engage, that early-20s kind of thing. It feels like you suddenly have a little bit of chance; you’re out of school, not yet in the big serious job. It’s a good period to cast around,” he said. “The album is certainly in tune with the freedom that a lot of people want these days in our strange world where bankers can rip the economy apart. It’s nice to have a little bit of art to fall back on”
Wings split in 1980 and McCartney’s solo career would resume with the release of “McCartney II.”
Listen to “Heart of the Country” and “Jet” below.
McCartney kicked off his 40s with “Tug of War,” which was followed by “Pipes of Peace.” On “Pipes,” he collaborated with Michael Jackson, who shortly thereafter would outbid McCartney for the Beatles’s back catalogue. Despite this unfortunate piece of history, their duet “Say Say Say” is still a very entertaining song.
In 1984, he directed, scored and voiced a wonderful animated feature called “Rupert and the Frog Song.” His musical film “Give My Regards to Broad Street,” released the same year, was not as well received.
Listen to “Say Say Say” below.
McCartney experienced a devastating blow in his 50s: the death of his wife Linda. He wrote the album “Flaming Pie” while she was sick with breast cancer and released it a year before she would succumb to the disease. The record, which focuses heavily on their relationship, was nominated for the album of the year Grammy.
By the end of his 50s, McCartney had found a new love in Heather Mills, which was very apparent on 2001’s “Driving Rain.”
Listen to “Calico Skies” and “From a Lover to a Friend” below.
In 2002, McCartney married Mills, a union that would become tabloid fodder, produce one child and end officially in 2008.
Between those years, he would release 2005’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard,” which was nominated for the album of the year Grammy. His follow-up “Memory Almost Full” won the Grammy for best pop vocal album.
Listen to “Jenny Wren” below.
Again, please share your favorite Sir Paul song(s) below.