Happy Birthday, Sir Paul!

Ultimate-Guitar.com wishes Paul McCartney Happy Birthday today.

Happy Birthday, Sir Paul!
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Ultimate-Guitar.com wishes Paul McCartney Happy Birthday today. Few lives have been as thoroughly documented as the life of Paul McCartney. Biographies both of The Beatles and Sir Paul number in the hundreds, many filled with minute details about the public and private life of the former Beatle. Still, we managed to unearth a few interesting tidbits that may have eluded all but the most avid fans. Feel free to chime in, in the comments section, with interesting McCartney facts we might have missed. 10. The artist who showed him the option to play guitar left-handed was... Slim Whitman. McCartney's father bought him a trumpet for his birthday when McCartney turned 14, but the young lad had his Dad exchange it for a cheap acoustic. The future Beatle struggled mightily with the instrument until he happened upon a photograph of Slim Whitman, the country yodeler who played guitar lefty-style. McCartney flipped his guitar, modified the string setup, and soon wrote his first song, a ditty titled "I Lost My Little Girl". 9. Long before the edict came down from Brian Epstein, McCartney himself insisted that he and Lennon be nattily attired. In the very first show McCartney did with The Quarrymen, he outfitted the band in matching shirts and string ties. Furthermore, to set himself and Lennon apart from the others, he came up with the idea that the two frontmen should wear matching cream-colored blazers. All of 15 at the time, McCartney muffed his first turn in the spotlight when he botched his featured guitar solo on the Arthur Smith tune, "Guitar Boogie". 8. "Yesterday" is the most recorded song in history. But nipping at its heels is a song by... Tony Orlando and Dawn. According to Guinness World Records, more than 1,600 different cover versions of "Yesterday" have been recorded to date. The popular standard, "Stardust", ranks second, with more than 1,500 recorded versions. Incredibly, however, the 1973 Tony Orlando and Dawn hit, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree", rates nearly as high, with well over 1,000 recorded versions out there, somewhere. 7. It was he who salvaged The Beatles' legendary summit with Elvis Presley. While in Los Angeles in 1965, The Beatles went to Elvis's house in Bel Air to meet The King for the first time. According to McCartney biographer Peter Ames, John Lennon irritated Presley with talk of Vietnam and by flirting with Elvis's wife, Priscilla. McCartney saved the day with the words, "Can we play some music?" An impromptu jam ensued (with Elvis on bass) wherein the group played a clutch of Presley hits. 6. The only instance in which McCartney has utilized a string quartet, other than on "Yesterday", was on a tribute song he wrote for John Lennon. String sections have been employed on lots of McCartney's songs, of course, both with the Beatles and post-Beatles. But with the exception of "Yesterday", the only time McCartney enlisted a string quartet was on "Here Today", the moving remembrance of John Lennon he wrote for his 1982 "Tug Of War" album. "Tug Of War" also marked McCartney's reunion with George Martin, who produced the disc. 5. One of the first bands he tried to sign to Apple Records was... Chicago. During a trip to Los Angeles in the spring of 1968, when McCartney was trying to get the newly-launched Apple Corps off the ground, he went to the Whisky a Go Go to take in a B.B. King show. An upstart group called Chicago Transit Authority happened to be on the bill as well. Impressed, McCartney tried to recruit them as an Apple artist, but alas, the group were already in talks with Columbia Records. 4. His favorite band at the dawn of 1965 was... The Who. Released in January 1965, The Who's "I Can't Explain" impressed McCartney to the point that he proclaimed The Who his favorite band. Coming at a time when groups like Herman's Hermits and Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders were dominating the charts, McCartney's proclamation was remarkably prescient. Throughout that year, The Who would assail the singles charts with soon-to-be classics like "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" and "My Generation". 3. Before they became Wings, McCartney's post-Beatles band nearly became... a paint thinner. In August 1971, when he was trying to get his post-Beatles band off the ground, McCartney was having a terrible time coming up with a name for the nascent group. Among the top name-candidates floated were The Dazzlers and, for reasons unknown, Turpentine. Alas, while praying for his wife, Linda, as she was giving birth to their daughter, the image of "wings" kept springing to mind. 2. He began reversing The Beatles' "Lennon-McCartney" songwriting designation as early as 1976. Although The Beatles first album, "Please Please Me", featured songs credited to "McCartney-Lennon", McCartney famously acceded to pressure to henceforth adopt the designation, "Lennon-McCartney". But when Wings released their live triple-album, "Wings Over America", in 1976, McCartney elected to designate the five featured Beatles songs as "McCartney-Lennon" compositions. He continued the practice on other post-Beatles albums. 1. His 1980 hit, "Coming Up", was a prime factor in John Lennon's decision to get back into music. This charming ditty, from McCartney's homespun 1980 album, "McCartney II", was first heard by Lennon as he was traveling with his assistant, Fred Seaman. The next morning, Lennon confessed to Seaman that he couldn't get the song's distinctive riff out of his head. Seaman later said the track stirred the muse in Lennon. "If Paul was writing decent music," Seaman wrote, in his memoir, "John felt compelled to take up the challenge." Thanks for the report to Russell Hall, Gibson.com.

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    Agent 00Awesome
    TheJaneTrain wrote: Don't know who you are, but happy birthday.
    Just a member of one of the most popular bands of all time, is all.
    anjan14
    Whether you hate him or not you should respect him . Happy Birthday Sir Paul .Respect !
    travislausch
    Thought the thing with Chicago was kinda cool. Same with how he got Lennon back into making music.
    Z0S07657
    Sure UG post an article with 10 facts about him and wish him a happy birthday but don't even give us his age.
    Igamikun
    Doesn't Eleanor Rigby use a string quartet? Also how could it be his birthday if he died in 1966 and was replaced by William Campbell? Ahhh jk Happy Birthday Paul.
    manipedro
    You can call him whatever you want but he is one of the best musicians ever...
    dennis.1960
    -xCaMRocKx- wrote: I don't blame Paul for the whole McCartney-Lennon thing. He got a shit deal - everything he wrote in the Beatles had to be credited to Lennon-McCartney, even if John had nothing to do with it. If he wants to put his name first for songs that John in all likelihood had nothing to do with, then I think that's fine.
    That goes both ways...John wrote plenty of Beatles songs that Paul didn't contribute to but was still credited for. Here's the story from the last interview John did before he was shot... PLAYBOY: Why were the compositions you and Paul did separately attributed to Lennon-McCartney?" LENNON: "Paul and I made a deal when we were 15. There was never a legal deal between us, just a deal we made when we decided to write together that we put both our names on it, no matter what."
    stef123
    For someone who's done the amount of drugs that he's done in the past, he looks good for his age!
    MeanMrMustard99
    #7 is wrong...The Beatles have stated in interviews during the Anthology DVD's, that they met Elvis but never jammed with him.
    -xCaMRocKx-
    I don't blame Paul for the whole McCartney-Lennon thing. He got a shit deal - everything he wrote in the Beatles had to be credited to Lennon-McCartney, even if John had nothing to do with it. If he wants to put his name first for songs that John in all likelihood had nothing to do with, then I think that's fine.
    dennis.1960
    When I get stuck and can't come up with any decent ideas for songs, I go back and spend a few days playing Lennon-McCartney tunes (or as Paul calls them McCartney-Lennon) and I usually get unstuck. Thanks for all the great music, Happy birthday to you!
    Kaamraan
    Igamikun wrote: Doesn't Eleanor Rigby use a string quartet? Also how could it be his birthday if he died in 1966 and was replaced by William Campbell? Ahhh jk Happy Birthday Paul.
    Eleanor Rigby used a double string quartet
    HarrySound
    Article doesn't even say how old he is....geez Anyway Happy Birthday, like or no like the beatles this man has changed the world through sound.
    leony03
    I cant stand him one bit but I entirely respect what he did for the music industry and for other people. Happy Birthday!
    robo37
    I sware ever since the Beatles disbanded he's been loosing talent by the year. Pros to him for all he's done for the Beatles, very creative stuff considering it was the 60s.
    guitar67
    If you don't know who McCartney is and your a musician in the twentieth or twenty 1st century you really need to evaluate your life.
    Purcell
    Scotty Evil wrote: edict? nattily? nascent? i learnt like 5 new words while reading this
    Now all you need is an article that teaches counting! Lol I am kidding, more power to you.
    TheJaneTrain
    iamryanallen wrote: TheJaneTrain wrote: Don't know who you are, but happy birthday. ...yikes
    No, I had forgotten who that was, but I remember now. I don't listen to his music much so it doesn't mean that much to me. I know I sounded like a screw ball.
    Showiddlydiddly
    Other than Wings, I've never really liked the majority of Paul's music, even the stuff he wrote for The Beatles (whom I love as a band). Nonetheless, he's done extraordinarily well for himself,and is undeniably talented. Happy Birthday.
    schirripar
    Happy birthday to one of the most brilliant songwriters of popular music. It was a pleasure seeing you 3 times (I'm only 21) and the next time you come to the tri state area I will be there again!
    guitar67
    As far as jamming with Elvis, I've heard they did and they didn't. Getting to the truth about things is always so damn difficult.