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Summary Article: McCartney, Sir (James) Paul from Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1942-

♦ English songwriter, vocalist and bass guitarist

Liverpool-born and a former member of the Beatles, he is one of the most distinctive lyricists in popular music. His song "Yesterday" has been covered over 3,000 times by other artists. Following his first solo album, McCartney (1970), and a second, Ram (1971), recorded with his wife, Linda Eastman (1941-98), he recruited guitarist Denny Laine (1944- ) to form Wings in 1971. Critics detected a lack of direction in the banned political single "Give Ireland Back to the Irish" (1972) and its sequel "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (1972), but the albums Band on the Run (1973) and Venus & Mars (1975) partially restored his reputation, while "Mull of Kintyre" (1977) was a huge hit. Wings disbanded in 1981. His autobiographical film Give My Regards to Broad Street appeared in 1984. He co-composed his Liverpool Oratorio with Carl Davis in 1991, and wrote a symphony, Standing Stone, in 1997. His albums Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005) and Memory Almost Full (2007) continued a latter-day creative renaissance, first evident in 1997's Flaming Pie, which has elsewhere seen him exploring classical and electronic forms as well as his more familiar pop. This culminated in Electric Arguments (2008), his acclaimed collaboration with writer/producer Youth (Martin Glover, 1960- ). In recent years he has also exhibited his paintings and has continued to campaign for a number of charitable and environmental causes. His second marriage, to the model Heather Mills (1968- ) lasted from 2002-06. He was knighted in 1997.

  • Miles, Barry, Many Years From Now (1997).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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