Happy Birthday Paul McCartney

Sir Paul turns 70 today so in honor of that day I present  70 fun facts.

1) Paul’s first name is not Paul but James

2) Paul was named after his father so Paul’s full name is James Paul McCartney Jr. I just call him Junior.

3) For his 14th birthday, Paul received a trumpet.  He soon traded it in for an acoustic guitar.  As Paul later quipped, “It’s hard to sing with a trumpet stuck in your mouth”

4) Lefty Paul learned how to string right handed guitars through a Slim Whitman poster who Paul observed strung his right-handed guitar the opposite way

5) The first song Paul ever wrote is “I Lost My Little Girl”

6) The first song he ever performed was Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally” at a camp talent competition

7) July 6, 1957 is the day Paul met John

8) Paul played with the Beatles in Hamburg for two years (August 1960 to December 1962).  He was 18 years old.

9) The Beatles  were paid £2.50 (about $3.50) each a day, seven days a week, playing from 8:30-9:30, 10 until 11, 11:30-12:30, and finishing the evening playing from one until two o’clock in the morning.

10) Paul describing life living in Hamburg “We lived backstage in the Bambi Kino (a cinema), next to the toilets, and you could always smell them. The room had been an old storeroom, and there were just concrete walls and nothing else. No heat, no wallpaper, not a lick of paint; and two sets of bunk beds, with not very much covers—Union Jack flags—we were frozen.”

11) Paul and drummer Pete Best were arrested and deported for arson by setting fire to a condom.

12) Allan Williams, the Beatles booker arranged a recording session for Lou Walters (of the band Rory & The Hurricanes).  Williams asked John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison to play and sing harmonies on the recording. Pete Best was in town buying drumsticks, so Starr, the Hurricanes’ drummer, played drums. This was the first time Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr recorded together.

13) They recorded three songs: “Fever”, “September Song” and “Summertime”.

14) Nine copies of Summertime were pressed onto acetate disc, though none are known to have survived.

15) During the Beatles 1960 auditions in Liverpool for a Gene Vincent concert, they were not selected to open or even play at this HUGE event. The Beatles, instead, went to Scotland, where they sang to crowds of 5-10 people, mostly, drunks, at various clubs and dance halls.

16) Although we’ve come to know Beatles songs as Lennon/McCartney, the songs from the first album Please, Please Me are credited to McCartney/Lennon

17) On Paul’s live solo album “Wings Over America” the credits for the Beatles songs read McCartney/Lennon.

18) Paul stole the bass line for “I Saw Her Standing There” from Chuck Berry’s I’m Talking About You”

Jane Asher and Paul McCartney19) Paul first met  his long time girlfriend Jane Asher on April 18, 1963 when a photographer asked them to pose together at a Beatles performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

20) The two began a relationship and he took up residence with Asher at her parents’ house at 57 Wimpole Street London, where he lived for nearly three years

21) He wrote several songs while at the Ashers’, including “Yesterday” and several inspired by Asher, among them “And I Love Her”, “You Won’t See Me”, and “I’m Looking Through You”

22) “Eyeball to eyeball” is how John Lennon described their writing process…”Like in I Want To Hold Your Hand”.  We were in Jane Asher’s house…playing on the piano at the same time….And we had ‘oh, you-u-u, got that something…And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, “That’s it!  Do that again!”  In those days we really used to absolutely write like that – both playing into each other’s noses.

23) Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon fame is Jane’s brother.  Paul wrote the first three songs for the group in 1964, “World Without Love” (A #1 hit), “Nobody I Know” (peaked at #12) and “I Don’t Want To See You Again” (peaking at #16).

24) Two years later Paul tried an experiment and wrote the song “Woman” for Peter and Gordon under the pseudonym of Bernard Webb.  It reached #14 on the charts.

25) Paul and Jane vacationed in Greece with Ringo and his girlfriend, Maureen in 1963.  Greece has not yet been hit with Beatlemania so they were fairly anonymous.     This vacation inspired the Zorba-like ending to the song “Girl”.  “We just did it on acoustic guitars instead of bouzoukis”

26) When they finished the song “She Love You”, Paul brought it to his dad who had this observation, “It’s very nice, son but there’s enough of these Americanisms around.  Couldn’t you sing, ‘She love you. Yes! Yes! Yes!”?

27) “I’ll Get You” (the B-side to “She Loves You”) was inspired by author Lewis Carroll.  Paul says, “To me words like ‘imagine’ and ‘picture’ were from Lewis Carroll. The idea of asking your listener to imagine, ‘Come with me if you will’, ‘Enter please into my…’, ‘Picture youself in a boat….’ It drew you in….we were fascinated by his surreal world.

28) In the movie “A Hard Day’s Night”, Paul’s comment to the mirror  in the dressing room “That this too too solid flesh would melt” is from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Act 1 Scene 2.

29) The album “A Hard Day’s Night” is the only Beatles record to feature only Lennon/McCartney compositions

30) Paul claimed to have named the song “Eleanor Rigby” after  “Help!” co-star Eleanor Bron.

31) In the movie Help!  Paul has a selection of Superman comic books atop his organ

32) It was during the filming of Help! that Paul came up with the melody for “Yesterday”, which he first thought must have been written by someone else.   “It took me a little while to allow myself to claim it, but then like a prospector I finally staked my claim; stuck a little sign on it and said, “Okay, it’s mine!”

33) Most people know “Yesterday” was originally went along the lines of “Scrambled Eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs.  Paul and Jimmy Fallon recorded another version with more lyrics to that song here.

34)  “Yesterday” has been covered by over 2,200 artists

35) Paul is the only Beatle performing on the song.  Producer George Martin asked manager “Brian Epstein if they should label it a Paul McCartney song instead of Beatles and Brian replied, “‘No, whatever we do we are not splitting up the Beatles”

36) Paul came up with the name Sergeant Pepper but playing off the names Salt and Pepper.

37) Commenting on the full name of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul remarked, “I just strung those together rather in the way that you might string together  Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show.  All that culture of the sixties going back to those travelling medicine men, Gypsies, it echoed back to the previous century really. …That’d be crazy enough because why would a Lonely Hearts Club have a band?”

38)  The song “Lady Madonna” came about when Paul was impersonating Fats Domino at the piano.

39) Paul mentions every day of the week in “Lady Madonna” except for Saturda

40) “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” contains the only known lyric using the word pataphysical

41) Paul met Linda Eastman on May 15, 1967 at the Bag o’Nails club in London.  Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames were playing a set that night

42) Four days later Linda was at the Sgt. Peppers release party and took this picture.  Paul, Ringo, George and John Sergeant Pepper party.  Photo by Linda Eastman

43) The Beatles first release on their Apple Records label was “Hey Jude”.  The second was a song he produced for Mary Hopkin entitled “Those Were The Days”

44) Paul originally thought “Those Were The Days” we be a good song for The Moody Blues  and also suggested it for Donovan.

45) Those Were The Days was the #2 song for 3 weeks in 1968.  The song keeping it from #1 was “Hey Jude

46) Paul indulged in his love of brass band music by signing the Black Dyke Mills Band.   They recorded a McCartney composition called “Thingumybob” a TV theme song starring Stanley Holloway.

47) Paul produced and played drums on Jackie Lomax’s “Thumbin’ A Ride” released on Apple Records.

48) Paul also produced “I Am The Urban Spaceman” by the Bonzo Dog Band.  Paul used the pseudonym Apollo C. Vermouth for this one.

49) “The End” the last song from Abbey Road ends with a rhyming couplet.  Shakespeare ended his acts with a rhyming couplet so that the audience would know they were over.  Paul says, “I wanted it to end with a little meaningful couplet, so I followed the Bard and wrote a couplet”

50) Paul starting recording his first solo record under the pseudonym Billy Martin

51) McCartney publicly announced his departure from The Beatles in the form of a Q & A package included in advance copies of the album sent to the press.

52) “Too Many People” from McCartney’s 2nd solo record takes aim at John Lennon. “[John had] been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit,” I wrote, ‘Too many people preaching practices,’ I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko…there was ‘You took your lucky break and broke it in two.’

53) The name Wings is said to have come to McCartney as he was praying in the hospital while Linda was giving birth to their second child together, Stella McCartney, in September 1971.  Stella was “a bit of a drama”; there were complications at the birth and that both Linda and the baby almost died. He was praying fervently and the image of wings came to his mind. He decided to name his new band “Wings.

54) “Mull Of Kintyre” was Wings’ biggest hit in the United Kingdom where it became the 1977 Christmas number one, and was the first single to sell over two million copies in the UK.

55) “Mull Of Kintyre” was a flop in the US.  Radio started playing the B-side “Girls School” which made it to #33 on the Billboard Charts.  It’s also one of Paul’s creepiest songs

56) Band On The Run was the best selling Wings album and the last to have the Apple Records imprint.

57) During the recording of Band On The Run in the country of Lagos, Paul was laying down a vocal track when he began gasping for air. According to Geoff Emerick, Sound Engineer for the album: “Within seconds, [Paul] turned as white as a sheet, explaining to us in a croaking voice that he couldn’t catch his breath. We decided to take him outside for some fresh air…[but] once he was exposed to the blazing heat he felt even worse and began keeling over, finally fainting dead away at our feet. Linda began screaming hysterically; she was convinced that he was having a heart attack…The official diagnosis was that he had suffered a bronchial spasm brought on by too much smoking.

Paul McCartney & Wings-Band on the Run album cover58) The cover of Band On The Run is of Paul, Linda, band member Denny Laine and the following people:

  • Michael Parkinson (chat-show host and journalist)
  • Kenny Lynch (actor, comedian and singer)
  • James Coburn (actor)
  • Clement Freud (columnist, gourmet, raconteur, Member of Parliament, Just a Minute panellist and grandson of Sigmund)
  • Christopher Lee (actor)
  • John Conteh (Liverpool boxer who later became World Light-Heavyweight champion)

59) “Wings Over America” marked the 5th straight #1 album for the band

60) Suzy and The Red Stripes was a pseudonym for the band Wings for the song “Seaside Woman” written and produced by Linda McCartney.

61) According to Homer J. Simpson. Paul McCartney was the most talented one in the band Wings.

62) Paul McCartney agreed to be on The Simpsons only after the creators of the show ensured that Lisa Simpson would remain a vegetarian for the entire life of the program.

63) The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society commissioned a musical piece by Paul McCartney to celebrate its sesquicentennial. He collaborated with Carl Davis to release Liverpool Oratorio; involving opera singers Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sally Burgess, Jerry Hadley and Willard White, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the choir of Liverpool Cathedral

64) John Lennon on “When I’m 64”: “Paul wrote it in the Cavern days (Paul was 19 at the time). We just stuck a few more words on it like ‘grandchildren on your knee’ and ‘Vera, Chuck and Dave’ … this was just one that was quite a hit with us.” In his 1980 interview for Playboy he said, “I would never even dream of writing a song like that.

65) Paul can make mashed potatoes

66) In 2005 McCartney released the electronica offering, Twin Freaks; a collaborative project with bootleg producer and remixer Freelance Hellraiser, consisting of remixed versions of songs from throughout his solo career

67) He’s an awesome interview

68) It’s fun to impersonate him

69) A tribute album is coming up in honor of Paul’s birthday.  Artists slated to participate are Billy Joel, Brian Wilson, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, Jeff Lynne, Heart, Wanda Jackson, Kiss, Alice Cooper, Ronnie Spector, The Cure and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Paul Weller Paul McCartney70) Paul Weller is releasing a cover of “Birthday” on iTunes in honor of Paul’s birthday. All proceeds from the song will go to the War Child charity.

Thanks to Wikipedia and the tremendous book “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles to help me compile all this information.


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