Sir James Paul McCartney is one of, if not the most, successful composers and performers of all time, with over 60 gold records and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles of his work with the Beatles and as a solo artist. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in March 1999, McCartney has written, or co-written 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2014 he has sold more than 15.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. Composing everything from rock and pop, classical and electronic/ambient dance, he has a taste and a talent for trying anything. Since he began his solo career, he has been extremely prolific, averaging an album a year.
The Beatles disbanded in 1970, breaking fans’ hearts worldwide. McCartney had no intention of dropping out of the public eye. He was the first of the Beatles to release a solo album, McCartney, 1970 (a true one-man album), and though critics’ reactions were mixed, the album was a hit with the public. In ’71, he collaborated with wife Linda and drummer Denny Seiwell, to the apprehension of the public, on a second album, Ram, which ended up a U.K. number one and a U.S. top five.
With having the success of The Beatles to follow up on, McCartney decide to bring together a fairly stable group of sorts to go on with and formed Wings. Adding ex-Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and guitarist Henry McCullough, the group went on tour in ’72. In ’73 Wings got their first #1 with their 2nd LP Red Rose Speedway. Later that year Paul’s collaboration with Linda and former Beatles producer George Martin resulted in the song “Live and Let Die”, which was the theme song for the James Bond film of the same name, and earned Paul a Grammy.
After the departure of Seiwell in ’73, the McCartneys and Laine recorded Band on the Run, regarded as one of the best albums of all-time as well as the first of seven platinum Wings LPs. Following Band On The Run, Wings expanded to a five-piece band adding guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English for the chart-topping Venus and Mars in ’75 and Wings At The Speed Of Sound in ’76. 1977 saw the release of the song “Mull of Kintyre”, co-written with Laine, become the most successful single of McCartney’s solo career. ’78’s London Town was followed by ’79’s Back To The Egg, which was Paul’s collaboration with a rock super-group he dubbed The Rockestra. This included Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, Gary Brooker, John Paul Jones and John Bonham. In 1980 he came full circle with McCartney II, composed and performed alone, which peaked at number one in the UK and number three in the US. Wings disbanded in ’81 over royalties, salaries and the feeling that he had accomplished all he could with the group.
McCartney began anew in the 80’s reuniting with Beatles producer George Martin on ’82’s Tug of War, and was involved in numerous collaborations with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. Since then he’s released an enormous amount of different kinds of material including a run of solo albums (Pipes of Peace, Press to Play, Flowers in the Dirt, Off the Ground, ), live albums from world tours (Tripping the Live Fantastic, Paul Is Live, Back in the U.S. and Good Evening New York), an acoustic session for MTV (Unplugged: The Official Bootleg), an album of vintage rock and roll covers (Choba B CCCP, initially released only in the Soviet Union), and a pair of electronic albums put out under the alias “The Fireman.” McCartney also explored classical forms with his Liverpool Oratorio (1991), written with conductor Carl Davis, and the orchestral piece Standing Stone (1997), composed in celebration of the 100th anniversary of EMI, his record label. Also in 1997 came Flaming Pie, considered a modest masterpiece. Wide Prairie is an album of songs by his late wife Linda, and ’99’s Run Devil Run was a return to basic rock. Driving Rain, Chaos and Creation In The Backyard, Memory Almost Full, Kisses On The Bottom and most recently 2013’s New brought the extremely active musician into the present.
It appears that Paul McCartney’s imagination and inspiration will never let up, so here’s to many more years to come.
NE Ohio Concerts
- Wings-Richfield Coliseum-May 10, 1976
- Paul McCartney-Cleveland Stadium-July 20, 1990
- Paul McCartney-Gund Arena-April 29, 2002
- Paul McCartney-Gund Arena-October 4, 2002
- “Live and Let Die”
- “With A Little Luck”
- “Listen To What The Man Said”
- “The Girl Is Mine”
- “Band On The Run”
- “Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)”
- “My Love”
- “Ebony and Ivory”
- “Say Say Say”
- “Silly Love Songs”
- “Helen Wheels”
- “With A Little Luck”
- “Maybe I’m Amazed”
- “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”
- “Mull of Kintyre”
- “Another Day”