Paul McCartney

James Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool on June 18, 1942. His mother, Mary, was a nurse, and his father, James McCartney, worked as a salesman for one of Liverpool’s oldest established cotton brokers. McCartney Senior was also a keen amateur musician, who in the 1920s played in a big band in his spare time. In 1944, Paul’s brother Mike was born, and for many years the family moved around from house to house, and it was not until 1956 that they managed to find a permanent home. Paul grew up in a close-knit family environment with numerous aunts and uncles, where there was always plenty of singing and dancing at gatherings and parties, and he learned to play the piano from his father so he could accompany the singing at these knees-ups. He did well at school, was quick, albeit with a marked dislike of homework. He easily got into grammar school as an 11-year-old, but an academic career was never on the cards as the young McCartney simply did not have the patience for books.

At home on Forthlin Road, Paul wrote his first songs as a teenager, and at just 14 years old, he wrote the tune for the song which would become "When I’m Sixty Four." It was around this time, in 1956, that he experienced one of the greatest sorrows of his life, when his beloved mother died of breast cancer, at only 47 years old. He later paid tribute to her in the song "Let It Be", which starts with the words "When I find myself in times of trouble / Mother Mary comes to me…"

At that time, the USA was the promised land for English teens, and when American rock 'n' roll took off in 1956 with Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and many others, the music electrified Paul McCartney, and the guitar became his instrument of choice. Left-handed as he was, however, he had to learn to string it the other way around. The historic 1957 meeting with John Lennon proved a defining moment, providing a catalyst for both their songwriting ambitions. McCartney joined Lennon's band the Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles, in which they both sang. After various reshuffles, Paul ended up as the group's bassist, an instrument whose possibilities he explored to the utmost and set a new standard for.

The reason the group's popularity exploded in 1963 was largely down to their songs, the vast majority of which were composed by Lennon-McCartney. At the beginning of their careers, they wrote face-to-face, producing such classics as "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". In the early years, the group toured virtually uninterruptedly around the world, and many of the early songs were written in hotel rooms, but as they got established in and around London, they increasingly began to work individually, but always played their songs to each other to get the other one’s criticism, ideas and input.

It became clearer over the years who had written what, and there was no doubt that McCartney was the one with an ear for unforgettable tunes. Songs like "Things We Said Today", "Yesterday", "Michelle", "Eleanor Rigby", "She's Leaving Home", "Blackbird” and "Let It Be" are all McCartney classics, although he could also produce rockers such as “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Helter Skelter” and “Get Back”.

After the Beatles, he and his wife Linda formed the group Wings, which enjoyed great popularity in the 1970s. Since 1980, he has established himself as one of the world's most beloved entertainers, touring extensively and releasing close to 30 albums in various genres.



By KLAUS LYNGGAARD
Translated by Pete Westbrook




Paul McCartney

James Paul McCartney fødtes den 18. juni 1942 i Liverpool. Moren Mary var sygeplejerske, og faren James McCartney arbejdede på bomuldsbørsen. Faren var endvidere en ivrig amatørmusiker, som i 1920erne havde et fritidsorkester. I 1944 kom broren Mike til, de første mange år flyttede familien tit og først i 1956 fandt den et permanent hjem. Paul voksede op i et fasttømret familiemiljø med talrige tanter og onkler, og til sammenkomster og højtider blev der sunget og spillet i stor stil, og han lærte af sin far at spille klaver for at kunne akkompagnere løjerne. Han klarede sig godt i skolen, var kvik, om end med en udpræget modvilje mod lektier. Han røg på latinskole som 11-årig, men en akademisk karriere aldrig kom på tale, da den unge McCartney ikke havde tålmodighed til bøgerne.


I hjemmet på Forthlin Road skrev Paul som teenager sine første sange, og kun 14 år gammel skrev han melodien til den sang, der skulle blive kendt som ”When I’m Sixty Four”. Her oplevede han i 1956 en af de største sorger i sit liv, idet hans højtelskede mor døde af brystkræft, 47 år gammel. Senere hyldede han hende i sangen ”Let It Be”, der jo starter med ordene ”When I find myself in times of trouble/Mother Mary comes to me…”

USA var dengang det forjættede land for engelske teenagere, og da den amerikanske rock’n’roll fik sit gennembrud i 1956 med Elvis Presley, Little Richard og mange andre, tændte musikken Paul McCartney på stedet, og guitaren blev hans centrale instrument. Kejthåndet som han var, måtte han dog lære at strenge den omvendt. Mødet med John Lennon i 1957 blev afgørende, da det satte turbo på begges sangskrivning. McCartney kom med i Lennons band The Quarrymen, der udviklede sig til The Beatles, hvori de begge sang for. Efter forskellige rokeringer endte han som gruppens bassist, et instrument, hvis muligheder han både kom til at udforske til det yderste, og sætte en ny standard for.

At gruppens popularitet eksploderede i løbet af 1963, skyldtes i høj grad dens sange, hvoraf langt de fleste komponeredes af parret Lennon-McCartney. I starten af karrieren skrev de ansigt til ansigt, klassikere som ”She Loves You” og ”I Want to Hold Your Hand” blev således til på den måde. I de tidlige år turnerede gruppen stort set uafbrudt verden over, og mange af de tidlige sange blev til på hotelværelser, men efterhånden som de fik etableret sig i og omkring London, begyndte de i stigende grad, at arbejde hver for sig, men spillede dog altid sangene for hinanden med henblik på kritik, ideer og input.

Det blev tydeligere med årene, hvem der havde skrevet hvad, ligesom der ingen tvivl kunne herske om, at McCartney var den mest træfsikre, hvad angik uforglemmelige melodier. Sange som ”Things We Said Today”, ”Yesterday”, ”Michelle”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “She’s Leaving Home”, “Blackbird og ”Let It Be” er alle McCartney-klassikere, selvom han også kunne kreere rockere som ”I Saw Her Standing There”, ”Helter Skelter” og ”Get Back”.

Efter The Beatles dannede han sammen med hustruen Linda gruppen Wings, der nød stor popularitet i 1970’erne. Siden 1980 har han etableret sig som en af verdens mest elskede entertainere, turneret voldsomt samt udsendt tæt på 30 albums i diverse genrer.


Af KLAUS LYNGGAARD