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Paul McCartney's
biography till 2003



James Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool on June 18th.

Paul writes his first song, I Lost My Little Girl.

Paul meets John Lennon at St. Peter's Church Fete, Woolton, Liverpool. He joins his first group, The Quarrymen and performs in his first gig at The New Clubmoor Hall, Liverpool, on October 18th.

Formation of The Beatles, who play residencies in Hamburg and at The Cavern in Liverpool.

First Beatles recordings issued in Germany, as the backing group for Tony Sheridan.

The first Beatles Parlophone recording, Love Me Do, reaches number 17 in the British charts.

The birth of Beatlemania. Please Please Me gives the group their first British Number 1. She Loves You cements their success. Please Please Me and With The Beatles albums released.

First triumphant American tour. The Beatles perform at the Royal

Command Performance and release their first film, A Hard Day's Night. Their single I Want To Hold Your Hand sells at the rate of 10,000 copies an hour in New York alone. Release of Hard Day's Night and Beatles For Sale albums.

The Beatles are each awarded the MBE. They release their second film, Help! Their number 1 hits include I Feel Fine and Ticket To Ride.

Release of the Help! and Rubber Soul albums.

The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park, San

Francisco on August 29th. Eleanor Rigby and Paperback Writer are the group's singles hits. Their new album Revolver revolutionises the music world.

The Beatles break more boundaries with the release of the Penny Lane/ Strawberry Fields single. They top this with the release of the legendary album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles perform on the first global telecast, playing All You Need Is Love, the anthem of a generation. Brian Epstein, The Beatles manager, dies. The group write and appear in the TV film Magical Mystery Tour.

Formation of Apple Corps. The first single on the Apple label, Hey Jude, becomes the band's biggest singles hit, selling eight million copies in the UK & USA alone. The Beatles release their third film, the cartoon Yellow Submarine, and their only double album, The Beatles (The White Album).

Paul McCartney marries photographer Linda Eastman. The Beatles release the Abbey Road album and the Get Back single. The group play live for the last time, staging an impromtu concert on the roof of the Apple building in central London. A daughter, Mary, is born to Paul and Linda.

The Beatles' fourth and final film, Let It Be, is released. The Let It Be single and album of the same title top the US charts. The dissolution of Apple sees the break-up of The Beatles. Paul releases his first solo album, McCartney.

Paul releases his second solo album, Ram. He also forms Wings with Linda and releases the Wildlife album and has a hit with the single Another Day. A daughter, Stella, is born to Paul and Linda.

Paul returns to live work, with Wings, launching an impromptu tour of British universities and small European venues. Wings score with hit singles Mary Had A Little Lamb and Hi Hi Hi.

Wings release the highly-acclaimed album Band On The Run, which wins two Grammy awards. Paul appears in his own TV special, James Paul McCartney. Wings release the Red Rose Speedway album and Paul writes the theme song for the James Bond film Live And Let Die.

Wings score hits with three singles, Jet, Band On The Run and Junior's Farm.

Wings tour the UK and Australia and release the Venus And Mars album and the hit single Listen To What The Man Said.

Wings release the album Wings At The Speed Of Sound and tour Europe. Wings' first American tour results in a triple album, Wings Over America. One of their Seattle concerts is filmed and released as a full-length feature, Rockshow, in 1980. Paul inaugurates The Buddy Holly Week in London to commemorate what would have been Holly's 40th birthday. Wings release the singles Silly Love Songs and Let 'Em In.

Wings release Maybe I'm Amazed as a live recording. Paul releases the Thrillington album under the alias Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington. Wings record the London Town album in the Virgin Islands. Linda releases Seaside Woman, her first solo single, as Suzy and The Red Stripes. Mull Of Kintyre becomes the then best-selling single ever in the UK, winning an Ivor Novello award for the achievement. A son, James, is born to Paul and Linda.

Wings release the single With A Little Luck and the album London Town. Wings record the Back To The Egg album.

Wings release the singles Goodnight Tonight, Getting Closer and Wonderful Christmastime and the album Back To The Egg. Paul and Wings join The Crickets onstage in London at the annual Buddy Holly Week party. Paul is honoured by The Guinness Book Of Records with a unique rhodium disc to mark his official standing as the most successful popular music composer of all time. Wings tour the UK, climaxing with a massive 'Rockestra' all-star collection of musicians in London in aid of UNICEF and Kampuchean refugees.

Paul spends an enforced nine-day stay in Japan. Wings' Rockestra Theme wins a Grammy award. Paul goes solo again and releases the album McCartney II and the hit single Coming Up. Linda's short animated film Seaside Woman wins a Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival. Paul releases the singles Waterfalls and Temporary Secretary. Rockshow, a film of the 1976 Wings tour of the USA is premiered in New York. John Lennon is murdered by 'a fan'.

Paul and Linda record a new album in Montserrat with Stevie Wonder, and Carl Perkins and with George Martin producing. Rockshow is given its UK premiere.

Paul releases the acclaimed Tug Of War album which produces three hit singles, Take It Away, Tug Of War and his duet with Stevie Wonder, Ebony & Ivory. Paul also enjoys a smash hit with another duet, The Girl Is Mine, with Michael Jackson. The Tug Of War album wins three BPI Awards for Best Male Artist, Outstanding British Contribution To Music and a special Sony Award. Paul and Ringo begin filming on Paul's movie Give My Regards To Broad Street.

Paul and Linda complete filming of Give My Regards To Broad Street. Paul releases the Pipes Of Peace album. Paul's single Say Say Say, a duet with Michael Jackson, tops the charts in the UK and the USA. the video for the Pipes Of Peace single wins the BPI Best Video award.

Paul releases the single No More Lonely Nights, a worldwide hit. Give My Regards To Broad Street, starring Paul, Linda, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Tracey Ullman and Sir Ralph Richardson, is premiered in New York, with an accompanying soundtrack album. Paul and Linda release their cartoon for children, Rupert And The Frog Song and the hit single We All Stand Together. Paul is awarded the Freedom of The City Of Liverpool.

Paul performs to the world when he sings Let It Be at Live Aid.

Paul receives the American Music Awards' Award Of Merit and is inducted into the Guinness Hall Of Fame. He performs live at the Prince's Trust concert, London. Release of the Press To Play album and singles Press and Only Love Remains. Rupert And The Frog Song wins award as best-selling UK video of 1985.

Paul's compilation album All The Best is released and goes platinum within three days of being in stores. Paul scores a Top 10 hit with the single Once Upon A Long Ago. Paul teams up with Elvis Costello to write songs together.

Paul becomes the first artist from the West to release an album exclusively in the Soviet Union, Choba B CCCP (Back In The USSR). Paul is awarded an honorary doctorate by Sussex University and honoured with Music Therapy's Silver Clef award. He repays the charity by narrating and appearing in the BBC documentary The Power Of Music, in which he sings to autistic children.

Paul takes part in a live phone-in with Russian fans on the BBC World Service, attracting five times as many callers as his predecessor, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He forms a new band with Linda, Hamish Stuart, Robbie McIntosh, Paul 'Wix' Wickens and Chris Whitten. They record and release his 17th post-Beatles album, Flowers In The Dirt, which goes straight to number one.

On September 26th, in Oslo, Norway, Paul McCartney launches his first world tour for 13 years.

On July 29th, the Paul McCartney 'Get Back' World Tour ends at Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago, before a sell-out crowd of 53,000. Since it started, the world tour had been to 13 countries, a total of 102 concerts to three million fans. During the tour, at The Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Paul sets the new world record for the largest stadium crowd in the history of rock and roll, when he plays to 184,000 Brazilians. The tour also sees Paul's triumphant concert return to Liverpool, where he plays to 60,000 fans on the banks of the Mersey and, in a special tribute to John Lennon, he sings a medley of John's songs, Strawberry Fields Forever/Help!/Give Peace A Chance. A triple-vinyl, double-CD live album, Tripping The Live Fantastic, is released and goes platinum in the USA.

Coinciding with the 50th birthday of John Lennon, Paul releases a live single, Birthday, the tour version of The Beatles classic from The White Album. The release of a further single, All My Trials, gets Paul embroiled in a political row in Britain as the song is taken to be his protest against Tory cash cuts in the National Health Service.

Paul, Linda and the band perform an all-acoustic set in North London for the MTV show Unplugged. After listening to tapes of the show in his car going home, Paul releases them as a limited edition album - Unplugged: The Official Bootleg. The album, which immediately sells out, contains such classics as Here There And Everywhere, Be-Bop-A-Lula, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Good Rockin' Tonight, Singing The Blues, Hi-Heel Sneakers and the first recording of his first-ever song, I Lost My Little Girl.

Following the success of Unplugged, Paul, Linda and the band launch a series of impromptu one-night-only gigs around Europe; performing in Naples, London, Barcelona, Cornwall, Copenhagen and Southend.

The original Russian album, Choba B CCCP, is finally released in the West. Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, his first full-length work of classical music, is given its world premiere in Liverpool Cathedral. Written with conductor Carl Davis over two years, The Liverpool Oratorio is performed by The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the Liverpool Cathedral Choristers and soloists Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jerry Hadley, Willard White and Sally Burgess. To the astonishment of The Dean, the 2,000-strong congregation marks its appreciation at the end by standing on their chairs to applaud. A double-CD album of The Liverpool Oratorio is released and tops the classical charts in both the UK and the USA. Get Back, Richard Lester's movie of the 1989-90 World Tour, is premiered to near-riotous scenes in Hamburg.

Paul is named the world's first recipient of the Swedish Polar Music Award, a Nobel-prize for music. Paul reveals Daumier's Law, an animated short film entered for the Cannes Film Festival, which he co-produced and composed the score. Paul, Linda and the band - with new drummer Blair Cunningham replacing Chris Whitten - record his first studio album for three years, Off The Ground. Daumier's Law wins the BAFTA prize for the best short animated film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. Following the success of Paul McCartney Unplugged, Paul launches a new MTV series - Up Close - recording at New York's Ed Sullivan Theatre. The show sees the first performances of songs from Off The Ground.

Worldwide release of Off The Ground. Paul announces dates for another world tour, The New World Tour, starting in Perth, Western Australia, in March. The New World Tour becomes the biggest of his career - travelling more than 120,000 miles through Australia, New Zealand, Canada, 18 States of the USA, the UK, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Holland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and ending in Chile, playing to 80,000 fans, nine days before Christmas.

During the tour, Paul - who already holds the world record for the biggest stadium crowd in history (184,000), set in Rio in 1990 - notches up a couple more: in Sydney, 20,000 tickets for two arena shows sell out in eight minutes; and Broadcast Music Inc. officially announces that Yesterday has passed its six millionth USA airplay, making it the most-played song on radio.

To commemorate the tour, Paul releases Paul Is Live; a live album recorded in Australia and the USA. Anonymously, Paul also releases The Fireman, an album of ambient dance music.

Paul inducts John Lennon into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and then comes together at his studio with George Harrison and Ringo Starr to record the first mew Beatles song in 25 years. The song, Free As A Bird, is based around an unfinished demo of John's. Paul spends much of the year filming for The Beatles Anthology TV series and selecting demos, out-takes and first-takes for the accompanying Anthology CDs.

Paul, George and Ringo return to the studio to record another new Beatles song, Real Love, which is also built from a demo left by John.

Yesterday, the world's most-popular song, marks its 30th birthday. Paul wrote the song in his sleep, waking with the melody in his head. To mark the birthday, Ray Coleman publishes a new book Yesterday & Today.

Paul composes a new classical work, a piece for solo piano entitled A Leaf. It is given its world premiere at a charity concert organised by Paul to aid The Royal College Of Music. The concert - in the presence of The Prince Of Wales at St. James's Palace, London - includes performances by Paul, Elvis Costello, The Brodsky Quartet, Willard White, Sally Burgess and the young Russian pianist Anya Alexeyev, who solos A Leaf. At the end of the concert, The Prince Of Wales surprises Paul by appointing him Fellow Of The Royal College Of Music, Britain's highest musical honour, in recognition of his services to music.

USA radio begins the broadcast of Oobu Joobu, a 15-part series of Paul hosting his own one-hour radio shows, built over 20 years from his favourite music and memories.

To mark the 10th anniversary of Live Aid, Paul takes part in the recording of a BBC radio play, Remember Live Aid, playing himself.

Paul records a new version of The Beatles' Come Together with Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller to aid the charity War Child.

Paul and Linda record an episode of The Simpsons, playing themselves as they help Lisa Simpson's conversion to vegetarianism.

The first students arrive at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, the Fame-style school that Paul founded on the site of his old grammar school.

At the invitation of The British Film Institute, Paul exhibits Grateful Dead; A Photofilm at the London Film Festival. The Photofilm, directed by Paul, is based on two rolls of photographs that Linda took of The Grateful Dead in concert and at home in the Sixties. Paul reveals plans to make a second Photofilm - a new system in which he makes stills photographs move and morph - of Linda's pictures of The Beatles.

Princess Margaret offically opens the Rye Memorial Health Centre, the new local hospital in Sussex that Paul and Linda helped fund for their community when health service cuts closed their old hospital.

At a poetry evening at The Royal Albert Hall, Paul appears onstage playing guitar to accompany a reading by Allen Ginsberg.

Paul, George and Ringo see a rebirth of Beatlemania with the worldwide screening of The Beatles Anthology TV series and the release of The Beatles Anthology Volume 1 and the single, Free As A Bird. The Anthology series is screened in 119 countries, the double album wins 24 platinum discs, eight gold discs and sells nine million copies - setting a new world record for the highest first week sales for a double album.

Release of The Beatles Anthology Volume 2 and the new Beatles single Real Love. The album goes to No.1 in both the USA and the UK in the same week.

Buckingham Palace announces that HM The Queen will officially open The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in June, six years to the month since Paul first revealed his plan to build the school. The Queen was among those who made a donation to help found the school.

Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio is given its 100th performance, at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. Since its premiere in 1991, the Liverpool Oratorio has been performed by orchestras and choirs in 20 countries and 14 States of the USA.

The National Trust announces that it has purchased Paul's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool, in order to preserve it for the heritage of the nation.

Paul reveals that he has been commissioned by EMI Records to compose a major orchestral work to mark EMI's 100th anniversary in the autumn of 1997.

Grateful Dead; A Photofilm is screened at The New York Film Festival. Paul and Linda begin storyboarding their Beatles Photofilm.

The Beatles Anthology Volume 3 goes to No.1 in the USA Billboard charts, making it a hat-trick for the Anthology albums - and the first time in 30 years that any band has had three consecutive No.1 albums in the USA in any 12-month period. The last band to achieve this distinction was The Beatles. Total worldwide sales of Beatles albums in the year top 20 million - the best year ever for the band and prompting Press comment that "The Beatles have become bigger than The Beatles". To mark the feat, The Guinness Book Of Records dedicates two pages in its 1997 edition to the achievements of The Beatles.

Paul reveals that he has been recording a new solo album, due for release in the Spring of 1997.

Paul and Linda are honoured by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with a special achievement award for their work to promote care of animals.

New Year's Eve - Paul McCartney becomes Sir Paul McCartney as he is knighted by HM The Queen for services to music.

Geoff Wonfor, director of The Beatles Anthology, begins filming a new TV documentary based on the making of Paul's new studio album.

The Beatles Anthology wins three Grammy awards.

Paul releases Flaming Pie, his first solo album for four years. Flaming Pie is met with instant international acclaim. It debuts at No.2 in both the UK and the USA, Paul's highest USA chart entry since The Beatles. Critics applaud the album worldwide; "The sound of a pop genius", wrote Q magazine, with Britain's Sun newspaper calling it simply "Brilliant" and The Guardian voting it "Excellent". In the USA, Flaming Pie is judged "A Masterpiece" by The New York Post. "McCartney In Fab Form" commented The Los Angeles Times, while USA Today added "Every Slice Of Pie Leaves You Hungry For Seconds".

In launching Flaming Pie Paul hosts a live global interview with fans on the Internet via VH1. The 90-minute session sets a new Guinness world record a three million questions set for Paul, who managed to answer 200.

Paul reveals that in 1974, four years after the break-up of The Beatles, he and John Lennon secretly recorded a jam session in Los Angeles, playing old rock and roll standards. The news makes standards. The news makes headlines worldwide, alongside claims that the master tape of the session "could be worth millions".

Meanwhile, within three days of its release Flaming Pie achieves gold album status, Paul's 81st gold disc, a feat that breaks his own world record.

Thirty years after he signed the famed petition calling for the legalisation of cannabis, Paul becomes embroiled in controversy when he reveals his belief that cannabis should be decriminalised.

The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Foster, record Paul McCartney's Standing Stone at Abbey Road studios. Paul oversees the sessions, which are filmed for a BBC documentary to be screened at Christmas. Standing Stone, Paul's new symphonic poem, was commissioned by EMI to mark the 100th anniversary of the record company.

Paul accepts an invitation from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to a summit at Chequers, the PM's official residence. Details of the meeting are not released, save only that the pair met to discuss Paul's Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts as a possible role model for the future of higher education.

Paul answers a call from George Martin to headline a benefit night at The Royal Albert Hall to raise relief funds for the people of Montserrat. The charity show also stars Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Mark Knopfler and Carl Perkins. Paul performs Yesterday solo and then calls the assembled superstars to the stage to back him on Golden Slumbers/The End and Hey Jude. As an encore, the supergroup then performs Kansas City with Paul taking the lead vocal. The leading British music magazine Mojo calls the event "Better than Live Aid".

Standing Stone is given its world premiere performance at The Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra. A 10-minute standing ovation is given to its composer by the 4,500 audience. Standing Stone goes to No.1 in the classical charts in both the UK and the USA. It remains at No.1 in the UK for four weeks and, in the USA, for 11 weeks.

Paul does his first in-store album signing since the Sixties, at HMV in Oxford Street as a thank you for HMV's help in getting The Beatles a recording contract in 1962. The event brings the heart of London to a standstill as crowds in excess of 10,00-strong close down Oxford Street, making the movement of traffic impossible.

RADD - Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving - present Paul with the 1997 Founders' Award for his work in promoting the anti-drinking campaign in the USA. Paul records a new TV public service announcement against drunk-driving, which is aired all across America.

In memory of Diana, Princess Of Wales, Paul donates Little Willow from Flaming Pie to an all-star tribute album. A moving video to accompany the ballad is directed by Oscar-winner John Schlesinger.

Paul is reunited with Ringo Starr as they co-star with Linda in a lavish video for Beautiful Night, directed by Julien Temple for release as a Christmas single.

Standing Stone is given its USA premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York. The concert is broadcast live on National Public Radio to more than 300 radio stations, another new world record - for the biggest ever broadcast of a classical concert. However, the performance and broadcast has to be delayed by 15 minutes, until the screaming fans in Carnegie Hall quieten down and take their seats.

Oprah Winfrey breaks with her longheld tradition by moving her show from Chicago to New York to record an interview with Paul, who also performs two songs on the show, Young Boy and Flaming Pie. The interview is such a success that Oprah decides to make two shows out of it. Meanwhile, back in Britain, Paul gives another in-depth TV interview to Sir David Frost.

Controversy surrounds the release of the Beautiful Night video, on account of the nudity contained in the promo. "I personally am not afraid of nudity, there's no more in this video than you'd see on any statue anywhere in the world", comments Paul.

Paul wins the prestigious Q magazine award as Songwriter Of The Year for Flaming Pie, beating Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller and Beck.

Flaming Pie is nominated for a Grammy as album of the year.

Paul wins the USA's National Public Radio New Horizon Award for Standing Stone and in recognition of his work to broaden the appeal of classical music.

All around the world, people mourn the passing of Lady Linda McCartney.

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair leads global tributes.

Memorial services for Linda are held in London and New York. The mark of Linda is made plain when, for the London memorial, the three remaining Beatles come together in public for the first time in 30 years.

Paul returns to the studio to mix and produce the Wide Prairie album, the definitive collection of songs written and recorded by Linda.

The first graduates pass out from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Paul makes an unannounced visit to LIPA to pass out their graduation badges.

A short animated film created by Linda, Wide Prairie, is premiered at The Edinburgh Film Festival.

Paul gives his first interviews of the year to the UK animals rights group Viva

(Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). He vows to continue to hold Linda's torch for animal welfare, telling Viva "Animal activists believe we've lost a powerful voice since Linda's death. Well, we have - but my voice is there now and I'm going to use it".

Paul embarks on a series of campaigns in defence of animals; including leading the UK lobby to ban fox-hunting to fronting a (successful) drive outlaw the slaughter of horses in California for meat in Europe to funding a British police crackdown on deer-poachers and badger-baiters.

The UK's annual Women Of The Year lunch in London is held in tribute to Linda. Paul and his family publishes Linda's third vegetarian cookbook, Linda McCartney On Tour.

A publicity-shy artist known as The Fireman issues an album of ambient chillout music, Rushes.

Linda's solo album, Wide Prairie, is issued by EMI/Capitol, backed by personal promotion by Paul.

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame announces that Paul is to be inducted as a solo artist, the induction ceremony to take place in New York in March 1999.

Paul hosts his own one-man, 90-minute show live on the Internet, featuring videos from Wide Prairie, revealing his personal photographs of Linda and taking questions e-mailed from fans from 30 countries. Tracking services confirm that fans log on to the event at the rate of 250,000 a minute. During the live chat, Paul reveals that two singles from Linda's album, The Light Comes From Within and The White Coated Man will be released in 1999.

Paul starts the year in Atlanta, Georgia, accompanying his eldest daughter Heather at the successful launch of her new range of interior designs at the AmericasMart trade fair. Whilst in Atlanta, Paul privately tours the downtown area and spots a store selling "Run Devil Run" remedies. "That would make a great title for a rock & roll song", he notes, storing the observation for later in the year.

Paul releases The Light Comes From Within, Linda's posthumous single from her solo album of the same name. Much debate follows in the media as Paul vigorously defends Linda's tongue-in-cheek use of "you're fucking no-one, you stupid dick" in the song lyric.

To mark the 25th anniversary of Band On The Run EMI/Capitol releases a limited-edition version of the album, together with a bonus interview CD - on which Paul reveals how, in Lagos to record the album, he was mugged at knifepoint and the muggers made off not only with cash and jewellery, but also with all the demo tapes he had made of the songs for the landmark album. Paul then had to remember all the songs before he, Linda and Denny Laine could record the album.

Giving his backing to the Free Tibet campaign, Paul speaks out in protest against the imprisonment of political prisoners and joins a rally at Westminster Hall, where he reads a freedom poem, the lyric to his song Blackbird.

Paul is inducted to The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist. At the ceremony in New York, where Paul is inducted by Neil Young, his youngest daughter Stella sums up the feelings of many by wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "About Fucking Time". After the induction, Paul makes a surprise, unplanned performance when he leads the likes of Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton, Bono, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen through all-star renditions of Blue Suede Shoes, What'd I Say and Let It Be.

Paul makes an unscheduled performance at the Royal Albert Hall at a rock tribute to Linda McCartney organised by Chrissie Hynde. The event also stars Elvis Costello, George Michael, Tom Jones and Johnny Marr and is hosted by Eddie Izzard. Paul performs Lonesome Town, All My Loving and again leads an all-star version of Let It Be.

Paul books into Abbey Road Studios for just five days, in order to record a rock & roll album. By the end of the week, he and his hand-picked band of Dave Gilmour and Mick Green (guitars), Ian Paice (drums), Pete Wingfield (piano) had recorded some 20 songs. Reverting to the early Beatles recording system, they recorded two songs a day before lunch and two more between lunch and teatime. None of the band knew which songs they were to record before Paul suggested them - making his suggestions from an envelope full of songs from his teenage that held especial memories for this, an album to salute his rock & roll heroes.

At the previously-unknown town of Siegen, near Cologne, Paul gives the world's first exhibition of his own paintings. Press & media fly in to view the 70 works, selected from more than 500 paintings that Paul has completed since he began to paint for his own enjoyment at the age of 40.

Paul is voted "The Composer of the Millennium" in a poll conducted by the BBC, getting more votes than Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and beating contemporaries including Frank Zappa, Prince, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
Leading a stand against genetically-modified food, Paul holds a Press conference to pledge that no GM ingredients will be used in the best-selling vegetarian range of Linda McCartney products. Linda McCartney Foods commit £3 million to staying GM-free.

Paul joins George Harrison and Ringo Starr in promoting the newly renovated and remixed Yellow Submarine movie and songtrack. The songtrack album marks the first time that any album of Beatles songs have been remixed. Alongside this, The Beatles are honoured by the US Postal Service when they become the first rock & roll band to become the subject of a postage stamp. Appropriately, the Yellow Submarine icon is chosen to depict the band. The theme is taken further when a Eurostar high-speed intercontinental train is covered with images from the movie, the images stretch along both sides of the train for a quarter of a mile. Yellow Submarine, the movie, is given its world premiere in its newly cleaned-up form in Liverpool as the highlight of a day of Beatle celebrations that draws a record 350,000 people to the city.

Paul performs his first live concert in Los Angeles since 1993, appearing at a lavish awards ceremony held in Hollywood by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Linda is movingly honoured at the star-studded event and Paul presents PETA's first Linda McCartney Award for services for animals to Pamela Anderson. Following the televised ceremony, Paul and his Run Devil Run band play six songs live on the Paramount set.

At Capitol Records' studios in Hollywood, Paul records Maybe Baby as the title track for the forthcoming film by his friend Ben Elton.

To launch his new rock & roll album Run Devil Run, Paul hosts "playback" parties in Los Angeles, New York, Cologne and London. At the playbacks, Paul introduces a film of the making of the album and then, following the playing of the album, takes to the stage to take questions and answers from fans. In London, 2,000 fans compete to ask the questions.

Run Devil Run is released worldwide to rave reviews. To accompany the launch, Paul hosts his own 5-part radio show on the BBC World Service, spinning his favourite rock & roll songs and revealing his personal memories of the songs and his heroes including Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Gene Vincent.

Two weeks after the release of Run Devil Run, Paul releases his third classical album, Working Classical, which features three major new orchestral works (A Leaf, Spiral and Tuesday) alongside string quartet arrangements of love songs that Paul wrote for Linda. These include My Love, Maybe I'm Amazed, Calico Skies, Warm And Beautiful, Golden Earth Girl, Somedays, She's My Baby and The Lovely Linda. Working Classical is given its world premiere performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Loma Mar Quartet at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, to a packed house. The Working Classical album hits No.1 in the Billboard chart, Paul's third classical No.1 in a row.

Paul films two videos to accompany single releases from Run Devil Run for No Other Baby and Brown Eyed Handsome Man. Whilst filming the latter in the London district of Acton, dramatic scenes occur when armed police in bulletproof vests swoop on the scene. A passer-by alerts police after mistaking extras dressed as US police for real gunmen. Police tussle with the extras (who attempted to explain that their "weapons" were fake) and calm is only restored when Paul intervenes, getting between the angry (non-armed) extras and the confused (armed) police to restore the peace. Police describe the affair as a "serious incident" and the matter is splashed across the front of British national newspapers.

Paul and the Run Devil Run band perform live on various BBC TV shows, including Later With Jools Holland and The Tube.

Twenty five years after he was first asked to appear on the show, Paul appears as the only guest on a special edition of BBC1's Michael Parkinson chat show. Paul performs tracks from Run Devil Run with the band. He also performs Yesterday and The Long And Winding Road solo - and debuts two new ballads just written.

A worldwide media frenzy begins as Paul reveals that he is to perform at Liverpool's Cavern Club for the first time since he last played there with The Beatles in August 1963. An international raffle is held for the 300 free tickets for the December 14th show, with fans from as far as Japan and the USA winning passes for what the British Press dub "the gig of the century". Meanwhile, others offer organisers a variety of bizarre inducements in the hope of getting a ticket - including a free helicopter, a £10,000 holiday in California and sex. Scores of Press from 22 countries fly to Liverpool to report on the concert, which is covered on TV news bulletins around the globe. Paul and his Run Devil Run band perform Honey Hush, Blue Jean Bop, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Fabulous, What It Is, Lonesome Town, Twenty Flight Rock, No Other Baby, Try Not To Cry, Shake A Hand, All Shook Up, I Saw Her Standing There and Party - ending the millennium as he'd wanted, rocking.

Paul makes a multi-million dollar donation in memory of Linda to help two cancer centres in New York and Arizona develop new ways of treating and preventing cancer without animal research.

EMI Classics release A Garland For Linda, an album of original choral music by Paul and eight other contemporary composers - John Tavener, Judith Bingham, John Rutter, David Matthews, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The music, performed by The Joyful Company of Singers, is in commemoration of Linda and to raise funds for The Garland Appeal, for the aid of cancer sufferers. A Garland For Linda is performed in London and New York.

Representing The Beatles, Paul attends the New Musical Express 'Brat' awards to receive the NME readers' award for The Beatles as "The Best Band - Ever".

At the annual Ivor Novello Awards in London, Paul is honoured with Britain's highest award for a songwriter - the first Fellowship of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. Presenting the award, the academy's chairman Guy Fletcher said: "This is the most prestigious honour that the academy has ever given and it is given to a man who has made an extraordinary contribution to our industry. Paul McCartney is a true giant of the world of songwriters. His is a universal gift; a talent to move, to entertain and to inspire.

Taking time out from writing a new solo album, Paul composes The Liverpool Sound Collage as the soundtrack for an exhibition of collage by Peter Blake at The Tate Gallery in Liverpool. To make his sound collage, Paul takes to the streets of Liverpool, unannounced, with a tape-recorder on which he tapes conversations with local people. These chats are then mixed with music and out-takes of studio conversations and guitarwork taken from Paul's tapes of Beatles sessions from 1965-69. Due to public demand, The Liverpool Sound Collage - made with the help of The Super Furry Animals and Paul's long-time collaborator Youth - is released as an album through EMI. As one particular track on the album, Free Now, features The Beatles (mixed-down) out-takes, the intended "low-key" release makes headline news around the world.

Little, Brown & Co. publishes Paul McCartney - Paintings, the first book of Paul's paintings. The book, described as an "unexpected and accomplished expression of his creativity" is accompanied by exhibitions at The Arnofini Gallery, Bristol, and The Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. At both galleries, the exhibition of Paintings breaks the attendance records.

For the first time in 40 years, The Beatles finally tell their own story of the band with their autobiography The Beatles Anthology. The 350,000-word book took six years to compile. It is published in eight languages around the globe. More than 1.5 million advance orders are placed for the 370-page book. The Beatles Anthology tops the best-seller lists in both the UK and the USA.

In memory of Linda and her support for animals, Paul donates £100,000 between 20 small UK animal charities.

On the heels of The Beatles Anthology, EMI Records release The Beatles 1; an album that features all 27 of The Beatles' UK and USA No.1 singles on one CD. The album is an immediate and huge international hit, going straight to No.1 in the UK and USA album charts. 1 becomes the fastest-selling album of the year and the UK's biggest-selling album of the year.

On Friday December 8th, the 20 anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon, Paul tells the Press: "It is shocking to think that John was killed 20 years ago. If he was alive, I'd be chuffed to let him know that his album has gone to number one in 28 countries; I know he'd be tickled by that. On Friday I'll be doing what we always enjoyed best together - making music. What else would you want to do? I'll be thinking of all the great times that we had together, and I'll be remembering him with all the love in my heart".

On Friday December 8th, Paul returns to Studio 2, Abbey Road, the home of The Beatles' recordings, to record two new ballads for a forthcoming solo album.

Paul agrees to a publisher's request to hold his first-ever book-signing, autographing copies of Paul McCartney Paintings at the Waterstone's bookstore in Piccadilly, London. Some 5,000 people crowd out the store and hysteria erupts as Paul ends the book-signing; he is mobbed by the madding crowd, who swarm all over his car in scenes reminiscent of A Hard Day's Night. "Beatlemania is back", reports the British Press and TV.

The year 2000 ends with The Beatles back on top of the world - with 1 topping the charts in the UK and the USA, the first time a Beatles album has been at No.1 over Christmas/New Year since Abbey Road in 1969. In Britain, 1 marks in 7th consecutive week at No.1. In the USA - where the album earlier lost the No.1 slot and then regained it - 1 holds the top position for its 4th consecutive week, with Christmas week sales reaching an astonishing 1,260,000 (the first week sales in the USA were 595,000). Since its release on November 13th, 20 million copies of 1 have been shipped worldwide, with the album shifting at the rate of 5 copies per second.

The Beatles 1 sets a new world record - reaching No.1 in 34 countries, a wider international hit than any record before it, and selling 22 million copies.

Just as he did by following The Beatles with Wings, Paul now follows The Beatles 1 with Wingspan - an Anthology-style two-hour movie that is the story of how he and Linda dared to follow The Beatles with their gypsy band in the Seventies. The TV movie, produced and directed by Alistair Donald, is slated for a May premiere on ABC TV. The film is co-produced by Alistair Donald's wife Mary McCartney - who conducts all of the on-screen interviews for Wingspan with her father.

In February Paul returns to the recording studio to make his first album of all-new songs since the 1997 release Flaming Pie. Despite working with a new producer, David Kahne, and a new band (Rusty Anderson, guitar; Gabe Dixon, drums; Abe Loboriel Jnr, drums), he typically doesn't hang about - in 10 working days at the Henson Studios, Los Angeles, 18 tracks have been cut for the album.

Paul returns to Britain for the publication of the first anthology of his poetry and song lyrics, Blackbird Singing. The poetry book becomes an instant best-seller in Britain, where the first edition sells out in less than a month. At the publisher's request, Paul gives his first public reading of his poetry, at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. Prior to the performance at the 400-seat theatre - where Paul appears with three established British poets, Willy Russell, Adrian Mitchell and Tom Pickard - Paul conducts a book-signing at W.H. Smith, Liverpool, causing a near-riot.

As Blackbird Singing is published in the USA, Paul conducts another poetry-reading at the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York.

To accompany the worldwide screening in May of the Wingspan documentary, EMI/Capitol release a 40-song album of the same title. The double-CD, essentially the soundtrack of the Wings years, is an instant hit - debuting at No.5 in the UK and at No.2 in the USA Billboard chart. In the USA, the Wingspan album sells 221,000 in its first week, Paul's fastest-selling album since The Beatles. By August, USA sales of Wingspan top 2,000,000.

Paul hosts a tea party at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, to mark the launch of a range of scarves the designs of which were inspired by photographic images taken at Kew by Linda in 1998.

Paul and his girlfriend Heather Mills spearhead an anti-landmine drive in London with the launch of a new British charity, Adopt A Minefield UK. The launch includes the first screening of a documentary filmed by Heather in and around the minefields of Croatia in April. Paul, who narrated the film, tells the media: "Landmines take or wreck three lives an hour, every hour of every day of every year. We have to come together now to stop that".

Following the third public reading of his poetry at The Hay Literary Festival, Wales, at the request of his USA publishers Paul hosts his first USA in-store signing session, at Barnes & Noble on New York's 5th Avenue. The resulting crowds shut down the traffic on 5th Avenue.

In promoting the UK's National Vegetarian Week in June, Paul drops his biggest hint yet that he is preparing to perform live once more. "The benefit of a vegetarian diet", he says, "is that it gives you more energy - that's certainly the case with me, seeing as I'm now looking at going out on tour again at an age when most people are thinking of retiring".

On July 26th the London-based Press Association causes a worldwide media scramble as it receives a brief Press Release. It reads: "Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are pleased to announce their engagement. The couple are looking forward to being married sometime next year".


© TFF & the authors 2003  


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