Sir Paul McCartney turns 80

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

The singer-songwriter and Beatles legend has a career spanning over 60 years as one of the most famous stars in the British music industry.

His accomplishments include being in the most influential pop group of all time, writing one of the most popular songs, Yesterday, which has been remade by over 2,000 artists, and receiving full trophy awards.


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

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

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

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

In 1962, Sir Ringo Starr replaced Best as drummer.

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

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

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


Cover of the acclaimed 1973 Wings album Band On The Run (Clive Arrowsmith/PA)

Wings had hits with songs like Live And Let Die and Mull Of Kintyre before disbanding in 1981.

The singer’s solo career has included several high-profile collaborations, including Ebony And Ivory with Stevie Wonder, The Girl Is Mine with Michael Jackson, and most 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 in 36 years, with his 18th solo studio album Egypt Station ahead of rapper Eminem’s Kamikaze.

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

He also achieved success as an author.

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


Sir Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy Shevell after he became an honorary fellow (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 received 18 Grammy awards, the Order of the British Empire and was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2017, he was appointed a member of the Order of Companions of Honor, a special award given to those who have made major contributions to the arts, sciences, medicine, or government.

Sir Paul will lead Glastonbury next Saturday evening.

His first wife Linda died in 1998, and in 2002 he married Heather Mills. They separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008.

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