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Sir Paul McCartney marks 80th birthday

Sir Paul McCartney (MJ KIM/MPL Communications/PA)
Sir Paul McCartney (MJ KIM/MPL Communications/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney celebrates his 80th birthday on Saturday and will take to the stage next week as Glastonbury’s oldest solo headliner.

The singer, songwriter and Beatles legend has had a career spanning more than 60 years as one of the most famous stars the UK music industry has produced.

His achievements include being part of the most influential pop group of all time, having penned one of the most covered songs, Yesterday, which has been re-done by more than 2,000 artists, and winning a trophy cabinet full of awards.

Born in Liverpool in 1942, Sir Paul met George Harrison at school and, when he was 15, met John Lennon and his skiffle band The Quarrymen at a church fete and was invited to join.

Sir Paul and Lennon later branched off on their own, with Harrison joining them along with Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.

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The Beatles in 1963, with Sir Paul on the left (PA)

The group called themselves The Beatles – the name intended to be a homage to Buddy Holly’s backing band The Crickets  – and when Sutcliffe left the band in 1961 Sir Paul took over on bass.

In 1962, Sir Ringo Starr replaced Best as drummer.

Brian Epstein signed The Beatles in 1962 and they had their first hit with Love Me Do later that year.

Over the next seven years, The Beatles had hits with songs including Hey Jude, She Loves You, Twist And Shout, and All You Need Is Love until splitting in 1970.

Sir Paul later formed a new group, Wings, with his wife Linda as one of the members.

Music – Paul McCartney – Wings – ‘Band on the Run’ photo shoot
The cover of Wings’ acclaimed 1973 album Band On The Run (Clive Arrowsmith/PA)

Wings went on to have hits with songs including Live And Let Die and Mull Of Kintyre before disbanding in 1981.

The singer’s solo career has included some high-profile collaborations, including Ebony And Ivory with Stevie Wonder, The Girl Is Mine with Michael Jackson, and more recently, FourFive Seconds in 2015 with Kanye West and Rihanna.

In 2018, Sir Paul claimed his first US number one album on the Billboard chart for 36 years, with his 18th solo studio album Egypt Station powering past rapper Eminem’s Kamikaze.

And in the UK, 2020’s McCartney III gave him his first UK number since 1989’s Flowers in the Dirt.

He has also found success as an author.

In 2018, he wrote the children’s book Hey Grandude! together with illustrator Kathryn Durst, about a grandfather and his three grandchildren with a magic compass on an adventure.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell after he was made a Companion of Honour (Steve Parsons/PA)

His two volume anthology, The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present, was named Waterstones Book of the Year in 2021.

During his career, Sir Paul’s awards have included 18 competitive Grammys, an OBE, and being inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice.

In 2017, he was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour – a special award granted to those who have made a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government.

Sir Paul will headline Glastonbury next Saturday night.

His first wife Linda died in 1998 and he went on to marry Heather Mills in 2002. They split in 2006 and divorced in 2008.

He has been married to Nancy Shevell since 2011. He is a father of five.

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