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Friday, 30 November, 2001, 08:41 GMT
Sir Paul McCartney: Rock royalty
Sir Paul McCartney with partner Heather Mills
McCartney has found new love with Heather Mills
The name McCartney will forever be associated with Lennon, Linda, mop tops, and the Frog Chorus.

The man who, with John Lennon, wrote some of the most popular songs in history has had the most successful solo musical career of The Beatles and is now treated as rock royalty.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon
Paul and John forged one of the most successful partnerships
Born in 1942 in Liverpool, McCartney was only 15 years old when he auditioned for John Lennon's skiffle band The Quarrymen at a local church fête.

Within three years, The Quarrymen became The Beatles, and within another four years the quartet became worldwide superstars.

While lead guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr played no small part, it was the fertile creative partnership of McCartney and Lennon that drove the band towards their success as arguably the most popular group ever.

Lennon and McCartney inspired, challenged, helped and rivalled each other with an ability to write simple, melodic, powerful and honest songs and a determination to succeed.

Their first chart success, Love Me Do, was said to have been written by Paul when he was 16 - but, being unable to finish it, he showed it to John who helped him complete it.

Sir Paul McCartney
McCartney had 15 top ten UK hits in the 1970s
The pair began writing together, but later tended to construct the songs individually, taking the first draft to the other bandmate for suggestions and amendments.

Among the enduring Beatles songs that McCartney is said to have been responsible for are Hey Jude, Let it Be, Yesterday, When I'm 64, I Saw Her Standing There and Eleanor Rigby.

The Beatles' influence was rewarded in 1965 - just two years after their first UK number one single - when the Queen made the whole band MBEs for their services to British industry.

The Beatles' changing styles and ground-breaking experimentation - from their mop top days to drug-influenced psychedelic tunes, and acclaimed films including A Hard Day's Night to Magical Mystery Tour, opened up a number of avenues for other artists to follow.

Sir Paul McCartney at the New Cavern Club in 1999
He played at the New Cavern Club in 1999
By 1970, Lennon and Harrison were increasingly frustrated with McCartney's attitude towards the band, as the public saw in the film Let It Be.

McCartney announced the band's split later that year against the wishes of his other bandmates.

His debut solo album, called McCartney, was released to coincide with the release of the Let It Be album - a move that meant it was not treated kindly by many fans and critics.

But it did include the track Maybe I'm Amazed, and the next album, Ram, was jointly credited to McCartney and his wife Linda, who he married in 1969.

Session drummer Denny Seiwell was invited to join the couple in a band, with former Moody Blues member Denny Laine and Grease Band guitarist Henry McCullough later being welcomed into what became known as Wings.

McCartney clearly enjoyed the freedom afforded by heading his own band, taking them on an impromptu tour of British universities and releasing commercially unpopular songs like Back Seat Of My Car and Give Ireland Back to the Irish - which was banned by the BBC.

Paul and Linda McCartney
Linda McCartney died in 1998
1973's Band on the Run proved he still had the popular instinct, though, and Wings continued to record together until the end of the decade.

In fact, 1977's Mull of Kintyre, became the most successful UK single ever at the time, selling 2.5 million copies.

But his music was not the only thing that hit headlines - the singer was arrested for marijuana possession at the start of a 1980 tour of Japan, where he was imprisoned for 10 days and released without charge.

But McCartney re-established his post-Wings career with the album McCartney II later that year, and had hit singles with Coming Up, Ebony and Ivory (with Stevie Wonder), Say Say Say, Pipes of Peace, No More Lonely Nights and We All Stand Together.

No More Lonely Nights was taken from the soundtrack of the film Give My Regards to Broad Street - for which McCartney wrote the script.

The film, though, was panned by critics.

McCartney's commercial success with his music began to wane, but he continued to record, tour and embark on a number of diverse side-projects.

In 1990, he broke world record for the biggest live crowd for a solo artist when 184,000 people saw him in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sir Paul at his art exhibition at the Kunstforum Lyz Museum in Siegen
McCartney has exhibited his artwork
The next year's Liverpool Oratorio album was commissioned by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra to mark its 150th anniversary, and marked a foray into classical composing.

He also released two techno albums, in 1994 and 1998, under the name The Fireman alongside respected dance producer Youth.

Turning his attention from music to art, McCartney has exhibited a selection of his 500 paintings and had a book about his art published.

Linda died in 1998, leading McCartney to continue her campaigning for animal rights and to release a Wings retrospective to remind the public how good the couple's music was.

He has dedicated a book of poetry and lyrics, Blackbird Singing, to Linda.

McCartney, who received a knighthood in 1997's new year's honours, is now committed to his new relationship with model Heather Mills.

And he seems eager to keep up his involvement in creative projects of all descriptions.

See also:

20 Apr 01 | Showbiz
McCartney pushes for landmine ban
02 May 01 | Music
McCartney backs Eminem
22 Nov 00 | Entertainment
McCartney richest man in rock
29 Sep 00 | Entertainment
McCartney art makes UK debut
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
McCartney bares soul in US film
17 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Paul McCartney joins breast cancer calls
08 May 98 | Obituaries
Linda McCartney dead
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