These days, it’s rare for a rock n ‘roll career to last more than a few years, let alone a decade. Of course, there are some acts that have lasted for years through the fluctuations of styles and genres of the changing fashions of music. Yet few can even come close to boasting a career spanning three decades as Sir Paul McCartney can.
Best of all, he goes further, since the three decades we are talking about are only his solo career. Of course, you can’t forget the thirteen years before that, while on tour with a small group known as The Beatles. You may have heard about them.
Paul began his solo career with the release of his first album, “McCartney”, two weeks before the Beatles released their latest album “Abbey Road”. That first solo album was warmly welcomed by fans, so he released a second album in 1971 called “Ram.” In this one, he included his new wife Linda McCartney so they could tour together.
After “Ram”, he started the super group Wings, with his wife Linda McCartney, as well as with Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and drummer Denny Seiwell. The band began an unexpected tour in 1972 through Europe in small venues and several British university auditoriums.
Wings’ first live show was unannounced or uninvited, and was for students at the University of Nottingham on February 9, 1972. Paul and Linda, their children, the band, and the house dogs headed north from London in a pickup truck, heading to randomly chosen cities and asking passersby if their city had a university.
“Our first stop, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, said no,” said Paul, “Nottingham said yes.”
Admission to the first Wings show, at lunchtime in the Nottingham student union hall, was 50p at the door. Wings – Paul, Linda, drummer Denny Seiwell, and guitarists Denny Laine and Henry McCullough, received a bag of 50 pence pieces, which were later distributed to the band in the back of the truck.
For their first UK tour in 1972, Wings set off without a promoter, with no advance publicity, or on the road, with no reserved venues or reserved hotels. Hotels were called at the last minute.
From there, McCartney seemed to get the touring bug again and began producing albums and touring with Wings almost year after year and a half until 1979. These included the 1973 UK tour, the 1975 world tour. -1976 and the 1979 tour of the United Kingdom. The last wings concert was at Hammersmith Odeon, England, on December 29, 1979 and was a benefit concert for the people of Kampuchea.
Wings was also scheduled to tour Japan in 1980, but unfortunately Paul was arrested and imprisoned in Japan for carrying marijuana and the tour was canceled. This was also the end of the wings
In the 1980s, McCartney again ventured out on his own and recorded “McCartney II” where, as on his first self-titled album, he played all the instruments on the album himself.
One thing that did change for McCartney during that year was his ambition to tour, following the murder of his old friend and Beatles bandmate John Lennon on December 9, 1980.
McCartney did not want to tour after this tragic event and did not do so until he played live again until 1985. In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1984, McCartney revealed that it was because he feared he would be the next to be killed.
After appearing on Live Aid in 1985, he went on tour and although it wasn’t until 1989 that he did his first live shows for Fan Club members, he kept going, recording and touring until the 90’s with two live albums in 1990 and 1993. in addition to venturing into classical music that same decade.
In the new Millennium, McCartney toured world wide from 2002 to 2005, proving once again that he is one of the most prolific musicians on the planet. In 2006 he performed with rapper JayZ and rock band Linkin Park at the Grammy Awards, performing “Yesterday” in honor of the death of Coretta Scott King.
At 64 this year, who knows what will come of Sir McCartney next, but you can be sure it won’t settle anytime soon.