Born James Paul McCartney in London on this day in 1942, you helped rewrite music history as a member of the Beatles. You combined forces with John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Star to form what would become the greatest musical force of the 20th century. Though the Beatles started playing small clubs in Liverpool in 1960, by 1964 they were a juggernaut, landing in America and playing the Ed Sullivan show to 74 million viewers. Beatlemania quickly went global. But amazingly you and your little band continually exceeded the hype, producing landmark singles and albums. The catalog produced from 1962 through 1970 is incredible to say the last, with hits covering musical ranges of pop, rock, folk, and psychedelic, all before you were 30.
In 1972, after the break up of the Beatles, you went on to form the group Wings with your wife Linda McCartney as a member. Your solo career continued through the 1980s working with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. In 1996 you received knighthood by the Queen of England. That, however, was overshadowed by Linda’s death at the age of 56.
Though your work has often been cited as being light, your contributions to music are without question and many of your songs form a type of soundtrack for many of my younger years. In 1967 the Beatles released the landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.” On that album, 39 years ago, you asked rhetorical questions about your life in the song “When I’m 64.” Now, today, you are 64. Happy Birthday.