Paul McCartney turns 70 today, and even now he is one of music's most unstoppable forces.
With sales of over 100 million albums, as well as 100 million singles sold in the U.K., and 32 Billboard Hot 100 number ones in the U.S., McCartney is arguably the most successful Beatles member to have a solo career. His catchy tunes, innovative songwriting, and prolific career have made him extremely popular around the world.
He rose to prominence as a bass guitarist, vocalist, and composer for the Beatles in the early 1960’s. McCartney, along with John Lennon, was a legendary songwriter for the Beatles; his songs “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Hey Jude,” and “Let it Be” are some of the band’s biggest hits. In other songs, such as “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby,” McCartney incorporated classical music elements in an innovative and accessible way. He continues to write his own classical music today.
Known as the “cute” Beatle, McCartney's drive and determination have fueled his career. When the band’s manager Brian Epstein died in 1967, McCartney assumed leadership and business management. In 1970, the Beatles split up over disputes between McCartney and his bandmates, prompting McCartney to start a solo career. He formed his own band Wings, which lasted until 1981, and continues to produce numerous solo albums.
McCartney is active outside of music too. He has advocated for animal rights and against landmines, as well as having a planet named after him. He will also close the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. McCartney lives with his wife, Nancy Shevell, whom he married in fall 2011, and is the father to five children, including fashion designer Stella McCartney.
Throughout his career McCartney has written timeless melodies and poignant lyrics that will endure for their artistic strengths. We millennials listen to the Beatles because their messages -- on love, peace, optimism, and political frustration -- shaped our parents, who have passed along the band’s mantras to us. Young people will always continue to celebrate the Beatles because their music captured the essence of youth. McCartney -- roaring ahead as a septuagenarian -- embodies the energy, creativity, protest, and optimism of Beatles youth himself.