Paul McCartney at 80: How his mother’s death when he was 14 inspired some of his greatest works


By the mid-1960s, his face was one of the most recognizable on the planet. Only Jesus, Mickey Mouse, and Muhammad Ali have the same level of popularity as The Beatles, and not all of them are as widely loved as Paul McCartney.

Never before has a group of musicians sold so many records, awakened an entire generation, or caused such hysteria.

In one week in 1964, they held all five of the top spots of the US Billboard 100, a feat no other performer has come close to since.

By 1966, the frenzy they inspired whenever they went live had become so wild and dangerous that they had to stop touring.

The Fab Four would go on to sell 600 million albums worldwide, with 20 No1 singles in the United States, and are widely considered to be the greatest pop groups of all time.

McCartney would form Wings, one of the best-selling bands of the 1970s, and launch a long solo career that took him back to No.1 just before the pandemic with the album McCartney III.

Paul, left, with his mother Mary and brother Michael


Daily record)

And he’s still going to be strong, I’ll be playing at Glastonbury next Saturday as the longest-ever headliner, a week after he turns 80.

Imagine you become famous and loved for a long time.

Imagine when Bob Dylan said of you: “I’m just scared of him. He is the only person that I admire. ”

Imagine having serious music critics poring over your entire piece and comparing its melodious beauty to Mozart.

Not bad for a kid whom John Lennon’s aunt Mimi warned her nephew to stay away from, because he was “just a brusque from Speke”.

James Paul McCartney was born on 18 June 1942 at Walton Hospital, Liverpool, where his mother, Mary, was a midwife. Paul later bragged that because his mother was a nurse, he was “the only boy in school who could spell ‘sputum’.”

Paul, left, with his father Jim and brother Mike in 1960


Hulton Archives)

Paul McCartney hugs his wife Linda Eastman in 1989


Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

His father, Jim, missed the birth of his son while World War II was underway and he was working as a volunteer firefighter.

He was a trumpeter and pianist who led Jim Mac’s Jazz Band and kept a piano at their council home in Speke, encouraging Paul, and
His younger brother, Mike, who achieved fame as a singer with The Scaffold, to study piano.

But Paul likes to learn by ear.

Two pivotal moments in one year changed young McCartney forever.

In October 1956, when he was 14 years old, his mother died of an embolism, a complication of breast cancer surgery. It devastated the family and his father sank into depression.

Paul said: “It was the worst thing for me, watching my dad cry. “But I was determined not to let it affect me. I learned to put a shell around me”. Her death inspired some of his greatest work. Let It Be is written about her appearing in a dream and her loss being the “unconsciousness” behind Yesterday, the world’s most recorded song with over 3,000 covers, Written by him when he was only 21 years old.

Paul plays guitar in Liverpool in 1962



Nine months after her death, Paul met John Lennon and his skiffle band, the Quarrymen, at the St Peter’s Church Hall festival in Woolton.

After a brief audition, Lennon invited the 15-year-old to join as a rhythm guitarist, and they formed a close, working relationship over a year later. when John’s mother died in a road accident.

The orphaned teenagers shared a strong affection and began to write songs together in the front room of the Paul family council house in Forthlin Road, Allerton, while each played the guitar.

Paul said: “The joy of that is I’m left-handed and he’s right-handed, so I’m looking in the mirror and he’s looking in the mirror.

John later admitted: “Even in the early days, we used to write everything separately because Paul was always better than me.”

Paul McCartney makes his public debut with The Quarrymen



Paul’s young school friend, George Harrison, joined The Quarrymen in 1958 and in 1960 they changed their name to The Beatles and honed their craft during their residency in Hamburg.

When they returned to Liverpool, with Ringo Starr now playing the drums, they played daily gigs at the Cavern Club, attracting a large following, and a manager, Brian Epstein, who repackaged the goodies. leather Teds into neat clothes and wrap them up. a record deal.

The rest, as they say, is Beatlemania.

They destroyed America and the wider world, releasing 63 singles and 27 albums that revolutionized pop music and influenced almost every musical group that followed. Some, like Oasis, are almost tribute bands. But The Beatles did more than that. They turned black and white England into color and helped liberate the youth of the working class.

Before them, people from the provinces had to lose their accent to succeed in London. The Beatles attacked the barriers of the classroom.

Paul with Jane Asher in 1966


Daily Herald)

They say, dress and grow your hair the way you want, never worrying about how you’ll be seen.

Their confidence, wit, originality, and attitude are unmatched among young workers. McCartney’s contribution was enormous. Not only because of his looks have stolen the hearts of women, one of them is actress Jane Asher, another photographer is Linda Eastman, whom he married in 1969 and has 4 children – Mary , Stella, James, and daughter Linda Heather, whom he legally adopted.

But his composing abilities are unmatched. Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird, All My Loving, Hey Jude, Let It Be, The Long and Winding Road, She’s Without Home, and Here, There And Everywhere are just a few of his songs that have become all-time classics.

However, when Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose in 1967, the band was shocked. Lennon by this point had grown bored with the entire Fab Four circus so McCartney, as he did when his mother died, stepped onto the plate and assumed the leadership role of the group.

It led to frustration and resentment within the group, which came to life vividly in the recent Get Back documentary, about the recording of the 1969 album of the same name.

John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison are welcomed in New York in 1964



In it, Paul argues with others, urging them to achieve perfection while they seem disillusioned.

They disbanded a year later due to creative disagreements, business controversies, and personality conflicts.

Paul was unfairly blamed for the split as he desperately wanted to keep The Beatles together. But the film also shows that they haven’t stopped being four boys from Liverpool who love each other’s company.

And it shows McCartney’s great songwriting as he writes Get Back on his guitar from scratch, the melody and words pouring out of him in a trance-like state.

Another great musician, James Taylor, said: “Paul was like an impressionist painter. His tracks are simple but overall very sophisticated.”

The film also reminds viewers that McCartney is a musical genius.

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