His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. A self-taught musician, McCartney is proficient on bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums. He is known for his melodic approach to bass-playing mainly playing with a plectrum , his versatile and wide tenor vocal range spanning over four octaves , and his eclecticism exploring styles ranging from pre-rock and roll pop to classical and electronica.
McCartney began his career as a member of the Quarrymen in , which evolved into the Beatles in Starting with the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , he gradually became the Beatles' de facto leader, providing the creative impetus for most of their music and film projects.
In , McCartney debuted as a solo artist with the album McCartney. Throughout the s, he led Wings, one of the most successful bands of the decade, with more than a dozen international top 10 singles and albums.
McCartney resumed his solo career in Since , he has toured consistently as a solo artist. In , he formed the music duo the Fireman with Youth of Killing Joke.
Beyond music, he has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights , seal hunting , land mines , vegetarianism , poverty , and music education. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. His honours include two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Beatles in and as a solo artist in , 18 Grammy Awards , an appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in , and a knighthood in for services to music.
The children were baptised in their mother's Catholic faith, even though their father was a former Protestant who had turned agnostic.
Religion was not emphasised in the household. The two quickly became friends; McCartney later admitted: "I tended to talk down to him because he was a year younger. He kept an upright piano in the front room, encouraged his sons to be musical and advised McCartney to take piano lessons. However, McCartney preferred to learn by ear. American rhythm and blues influenced him, and Little Richard was his schoolboy idol; " Long Tall Sally " was the first song McCartney performed in public, at a Butlin's Filey holiday camp talent competition.
Harrison joined in as lead guitarist, followed by Lennon's art school friend Stuart Sutcliffe on bass, in In , Sutcliffe left the band and McCartney reluctantly became their bass player. He became their manager in January The fan hysteria became known as " Beatlemania ", and the press sometimes referred to McCartney as the "cute Beatle". In August , the Beatles released the McCartney composition " Yesterday ", featuring a string quartet. Included on the Help! LP, the song was the group's first recorded use of classical music elements and their first recording that involved only a single band member.
Musicologist Ian MacDonald wrote, "from  In , the Beatles released the album Revolver. Featuring sophisticated lyrics, studio experimentation, and an expanded repertoire of musical genres ranging from innovative string arrangements to psychedelic rock , the album marked an artistic leap for the Beatles. According to Gould, the song is "a neoclassical tour de force The band gave their final commercial concert at the end of their US tour. The score was a collaboration with Martin, who used two McCartney themes to write thirteen variations.
Upon the end of the Beatles' performing career, McCartney sensed unease in the band and wanted them to maintain creative productivity. He pressed them to start a new project, which became Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , widely regarded as rock's first concept album.
He invented the fictional band of the album's title track. We really hated that fucking four little mop-top approach. We were not boys we were men Starting in November , the band adopted an experimental attitude during recording sessions for the album.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , standing with a host of celebrities. Epstein's death in August created a void, which left the Beatles perplexed and concerned about their future. According to Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn , the project was "an administrative nightmare throughout". It was released in the UK as a six-track double extended play disc EP , and as an identically titled LP in the US, filled out with five songs from the band's recent singles.
The Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine , loosely based on the imaginary world evoked by McCartney's composition , premiered in July Though critics admired the film for its visual style, humour and music, the soundtrack album issued six months later received a less enthusiastic response.
The tension grew during the recording of their eponymous double album, also known as the " White Album ". Epstein passed away In March , McCartney married his first wife, Linda Eastman , and in August, the couple had their first child, Mary , named after his late mother. They eventually compromised, agreeing to McCartney's suggestion: an LP featuring individual songs on side one, and a long medley on side two. McCartney was in the midst of business disagreements with his bandmates when he announced his departure from the group on 10 April An English court legally dissolved the Beatles' partnership on 9 January , though sporadic lawsuits against their record company EMI , Klein, and each other persisted until As the Beatles were breaking up in —70, McCartney fell into a depression.
His wife helped him pull out of that condition by praising his work as a songwriter and convincing him to continue writing and recording. In her honour, he wrote " Maybe I'm Amazed ", explaining that with the Beatles breaking up, "that was my feeling: Maybe I'm amazed at what's going on Maybe I'm a man and maybe you're the only woman who could ever help me; Baby won't you help me understand Maybe I'm amazed at the way you pulled me out of time, hung me on the line, Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you.
Apart from some vocal contributions from Linda, McCartney is a one-man album, with McCartney providing compositions, instrumentation and vocals. McCartney had this to say on the group's formation: "Wings were always a difficult idea I found myself in that very position. However, it was a choice between going on or finishing, and I loved music too much to think of stopping.
Following the addition of guitarist Henry McCullough , Wings' first concert tour began in with a debut performance in front of an audience of seven hundred at the University of Nottingham. Ten more gigs followed as they travelled across the UK in a van during an unannounced tour of universities , during which the band stayed in modest accommodation and received pay in coinage collected from students, while avoiding Beatles songs during their performances.
McCartney wanted the tour to avoid large venues; most of the small halls they played had capacities of fewer than 3, people. It also earned Martin a Grammy for his orchestral arrangement.
The album was the first of seven platinum Wings LPs. One of the best-selling releases of the decade, it remained on the UK charts for weeks. In September , the McCartneys had a third child, a son they named James. In November, the Wings song " Mull of Kintyre ", co-written with Laine, was quickly becoming one of the best-selling singles in UK chart history.
Critical reception was unfavourable, and McCartney expressed disappointment with the album. Though certified platinum, critics panned the album. As with his first album, he composed and performed it alone. The group discontinued in April after Laine quit following disagreements over royalties and salaries. In , McCartney starred in the musical Give My Regards to Broad Street , a feature film he also wrote and produced which included Starr in an acting role.
It was disparaged by critics: Variety described the film as "characterless, bloodless, and pointless";  while Roger Ebert awarded it a single star, writing, "you can safely skip the movie and proceed directly to the soundtrack ". He composed and recorded the track in four days, with Phil Ramone co-producing. McCartney ventured into orchestral music in when the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society commissioned a musical piece by him to celebrate its sesquicentennial. He collaborated with composer Carl Davis , producing Liverpool Oratorio.
The Guardian was especially critical, describing the music as "afraid of anything approaching a fast tempo", and adding that the piece has "little awareness of the need for recurrent ideas that will bind the work into a whole". The two released their first electronica album together, Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest , in He recorded a radio series called Oobu Joobu in for the American network Westwood One , which he described as "widescreen radio".
In , McCartney released the rock album Flaming Pie. Starr appeared on drums and backing vocals in " Beautiful Night ". He had been planning such an album for years, having been previously encouraged to do so by Linda, who had died of cancer in April McCartney did an unannounced performance at the benefit tribute, " Concert for Linda ," his wife of 29 years who died a year earlier.
Also during , he continued his experimentation with orchestral music on Working Classical. His studio album release in November that year, Driving Rain , included the song " Freedom ", written in response to the attacks. The tour resulted in the double live album Back in the US , released internationally in as Back in the World. His crest, featuring a Liver bird holding an acoustic guitar in its claw, reflects his background in Liverpool and his musical career.
The shield includes four curved emblems which resemble beetles ' backs. In , after a four-year break, he returned to touring and has since performed over 80 shows. McCartney's enduring fame has made him a popular choice to open new venues. In , he played to three sold-out concerts at the newly built Citi Field , a venue constructed to replace Shea Stadium in Queens , New York.
A New York Times review of the first concert reported that McCartney was "not saying goodbye but touring stadiums and playing marathon concerts". McCartney remains one of the world's top draws. On 19 May , it was reported that McCartney was bedridden on doctor's orders due to an unspecified virus, which forced him to cancel a sold-out concert tour of Japan that was scheduled to begin later in the week.
The tour would have included a stop at the famed Budokan Hall. McCartney also had to move his June US dates to October, as part of his doctor's order to rest to make a full recovery.