Happy Birthday Sir Paul McCartney!

June 18, 2019
Paul McCartney performs in 2017

© Ron Elkman/USA TODAY NETWORK

Happy Birthday to Paul McCartney, who turns 77 today (June 18th). To date, McCartney is the most successful songwriter in history, having written or co-written 30 U.S. Number One hits. McCartney met his original songwriting partner John Lennon on July 6th, 1957 at a church social where Lennon was performing. After joining Lennon's band, the Quarrymen, McCartney persuaded Lennon to add his friend George Harrison in 1958, and the seeds of the Beatles were born. Ringo Starr joined the group in 1962.

Last September, Paul McCartney scored his first Number One album on the Billboard 200 albums chart since 1982 with his latest release, Egypt Station. Egypt Station, which is the former-Beatle's eighth solo chart-topper, marked his first album to enter the Billboard 200 at the top spot. The album entered the UK charts at Number Three. The album's success can be attributed in part to McCartney's now iconic appearance with James Corden on "Carpool Karaoke."

2018 saw the release of the long lost live Wings album Wings Over Europe. The set was issued as part of the sprawling Paul McCartney And Wings - 1971-73Limited Edition Box Set, which features both the new Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway "Archival Series" collections combined, Wings Over Europe spotlights the earliest live incarnation of Wings, featuring Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Henry McCullough, and Denny Seiwell. All but one of the disc's 20 songs is from the band's summer '72 European trek, with the album's opening number "Big Barn Bed" coming from July 10th, 1973 at the lineup's final gig in Newcastle, England.

In May 2017, McCartney made a rare big screen appearance as the old pirate "Uncle Jack" in the latest installment of The Pirates Of The Caribbean saga, titled,Dead Men Tell No Tales.

June 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of McCartney's 1989 comeback album, Flowers In The Dirt, which featured four collaborations with Elvis Costello. McCartney was asked about the advantages of him and Costello writing together: "We enjoyed each other's skills, I think. Y'know, I could say to him, 'No, it's a little bit rambling where you're going there with the melody, y'know, pull it in a little bit -- let's not go there. You don't need to go that far.' And he was interested in those kind of things I had to say. And he'd nearly always say, 'Okay, we'll try it.' And then he would help me in certain things, like, words, particularly -- which he's full of. Y'know, he's very wordy. He's got a bag, y'know, with a lot of books in it and they're all things he's heard in pubs or little things that've occurred to him, little sayings, little titles. He's got a lot of stuff."

In 2016, Paul McCartney released his latest solo compilation called, Pure McCartney. The album, featuring a vintage 1971 photo of the former-Beatle, has been issued in single, double, and four-disc editions. The four-disc version features a whopping 64 tracks spanning the past 46 years.

In May 2015, McCartney spoke about his recent pop chart success with Kanye West and Rihanna on the hits "Only One" and the Top Five smash, "FourFiveSeconds," telling The Standard, "It’s good to connect with different artists. The secret is I keep myself very open to suggestions -- I still feel like I’m about 30. I’m lucky that someone like Kanye would go, ‘Yes I would like to work with Paul McCartney.' I was quite flattered -- I thought, ‘Why does he want to work with me?’ It was a few months later when I was starting to think, ‘should I ring him and ask him did anything come of the stuff we did?’ But then I thought ‘I can’t do that -- that’s too soppy!’ I’ll just leave it and try and act cool. And suddenly he sends me 'Only One,' and then Rihanna’s on the other record.”

Nearly 60 years since starting his musical career, and having written some of the most beloved music of the 20th century, McCartney is still unable to read or write a note of music: "I can think songs up, I can think arrangements, I can structure things, but I can't physically write stuff down on a page. I always had a kind of dyslexia when I was a kid. I was taking piano lessons -- I took them at a few points in me life. Whenever I did, it always seemed boring, it always seemed like homework -- I don't wanna put any students off who are learning properly. I always had great difficulties with it."

McCartney admitted that his past figures in quite heavily when working up new material: "Y'know, you reference most things you do either to, 'Would that work with the Beatles? Would this be a good Wings song? Would John (Lennon) like this?' Y'know, 'What would George play on this?' -- and stuff. I think you do that. I often think of John."

Paul McCartney admitted that once an album hits the streets a bit of panic always seems to creep up on him: "You write the stuff and then you have a lot of fun recording it, and then you get ready to release it and I always forget, it's like sitting an exam -- and this is the oral. I always thing, 'I'm just doing this for me, for a bit of fun, I'm doing it for my family and stuff.' Then when you put it out, you realize, you're putting it out. So it's kind of, it's a little bit mixed feelings releasing something. But I say, it's like, you suddenly realize you've entered yourself for an exam, that you didn't mean to enter yourself for."

In January 2014, Paul McCartney won all four Grammy's he was nominated for that year: Best Rock Song for his collaboration with Nirvana's Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear on the Sound City track "Cut Me Some Slack"; Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package for massive 1976 Wings Over America - Deluxe Edition, along with Best Music Film and Best Surround Sound Album for his Live Kisses DVD from his live standards performance at L.A.'s Capitol Studios.

In 2012, McCartney released the pop-jazz collection, Kisses On The Bottom, which peaked at Number Five. McCartney told us that it was nice to work outside the confines of the rock world, which can seem to be pretty cut and dried once you hit the studio: "So it was nice, it was a good way to work. There was no preconceived ideas and I think we all feel like we contributed. And then we'd throw John Pizzarelli or one of the guys the solo; 'Hey John, you wanna take a solo?' -- and y'know, you can do that in the jazz world, 'cause they're used to doing that -- and they just go, 'Yeah, OK' and they take a solo.' And so nobody's ever heard that solo before. It was really, really nice. I think it comes over a bit on the album, the freshness. I hope it does, anyway."

McCartney married photographer Linda Eastman in 1969 and they had four children -- Mary, Stella and James -- with McCartney adopting Linda's daughter Heather from her previous marriage.

After Linda McCartney's death from cancer in 1998, McCartney married Heather Mills in 2002. A daughter, Beatrice Milly followed in 2003. The couple divorced in 2008 with Mills receiving a $48.6 million payout from McCartney. On what would have been John Lennon's 71st birthday -- October 9th, 2011 -- McCartney walked down the isle for a third time with his girlfriend of four years, then 51-year-old New York socialite, Nancy Shevell.

After the Beatles' breakup in 1971, the pair formed the solo group Wings in 1971, which scored a number of Top Ten hits, including the Number Ones "My Love," "Band On The Run," "Listen To What the Man Said," "Silly Love Songs," "With A Little Luck," and "Coming Up." McCartney disbanded the group in 1981.

McCartney has often said that his main objective in life is to enjoy himself: "The other thing is, y'know, I do like what I do. It's not really hard work for me. I love to paint. I love to write poetry. I love to make music. I mean, even talking to you is not a pressure (laughs)."

McCartney will always be known as rock's most inventive and influential bass players. The Beatles' legendary late-engineer Geoff Emerick, who helped develop the bass sound on the group's latter day records, shed light on how he recorded McCartney on bass: "Paul didn't like reverb. And it was that one thing when I used to with his bass, y'know, as you know I used to try everything. And I thought, well, I've got to try to place his bass. . . and I used to put a little bit of the echo chamber on it, and very slightly -- but he always heard it and it was only one track I ended putting reverb on his bass. Now, Paul was very conscious of reverb and I don't know why."

Since John Lennon's 1980 death, McCartney's career has faced undue criticism against Lennon's work. During his last major TV interview in April 1975, John Lennon told Tomorrow Show host Tom Snyder that it was a given that McCartney was destined to become a solo superstar: "The same popularity -- meaning Paul was more always more popular than the rest of us -- was going down in the dance halls in Liverpool, so it didn’t come as any big surprise, y’know? I mean, the kids saw him and the girls would go, ‘oo-oo,’ y’know, right away, so we knew where the score was there. It was the music that was interesting, that was important. Y’know, as long as we were going forward, and going somewhere, it didn’t matter.”