Paul McCartney

Biography

Born: June 18, 1942; Liverpool, England  
Sir (James) Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool, England. At the age of 11, Paul auditioned to sing in the Liverpool Cathedral Choir, but was rejected. As a teenager, with no formal musical training, Paul taught himself guitar. He wrote his first pop song at age 14. By age 22, in 1964, Paul was an internationally famous rock star with the biggest band in history, the Beatles.

After the Beatles broke up in 1970, McCartney formed the band
Read more Wings with his wife, Linda, which continued until 1981. He then began a solo career. Critics dubbed most of his post-Beatle pop songs as light and melodic, but lacking true substance. Still, many were great commercial successes, even though these songs were never considered on a par with those of the Lennon-McCartney era.

Paul's roots were in Liverpool, and it was in 1981 that he visited his old school, the Liverpool Institute, and saw that it needed restoration. McCartney began a fundraising campaign to restore the building. The purpose of this was to found a music school, the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, which was established in 1995.

This was not Paul's only continuing link to Liverpool. In 1990, the city sought a way to commemorate its 150th anniversary. Composer Carl Davis worked for a year with McCartney on a commissioned piece called The Liverpool Oratorio. With McCartney's genius for melody and words, and Davis' classical training and knowledge, they put together a 100-minute piece for orchestra, choir, and several soloists. The oratorio is loosely about Paul's life growing up in Liverpool, his schooling, marriage, and family life, and, as is often the case with an oratorio, about God. The choruses are lovely, their harmonies reminiscent of some of the great classical choral works written for the church. The lyrics describe everyday life. The oratorio was premiered at the Liverpool Cathedral and performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the same choir from which McCartney had been shunned at age 11. Many critics praised the work, and it has been performed in countries throughout the world. The album topped the classical charts in the U.S. and Britain.

Although pop projects were undertaken throughout the early 1990s, McCartney continued his classical composition in 1995 with a work for solo piano, A Leaf. It premiered at St. James' Palace, with the Prince of Wales in attendance.

In 1997, McCartney released the symphonic poem, Standing Stone. Full of lush harmonies and dissonances, this 75-minute orchestral and choral work is a huge achievement for McCartney. The piece is in four movements, and is based on Celtic myths relating to the beginnings of mankind. Paul worked with composer Richard Bennett, who did much of the arranging while McCartney wrote all of the themes. Magnificent in orchestration, ethereal in nature, Standing Stone reached No. 1 on the classical charts in both the U.K. and the U.S.

McCartney released Working Classical in 1999. With its orchestral and string quartet versions of previous McCartney songs, the album seems more on the semi-classical side. Paul includes arrangements of songs written for Linda McCartney, who died of breast cancer in 1998.

A Garland for Linda (2000) consists of classical choral pieces by various composers, including Paul, who wrote Nova. The work asks, "Are you there?" and answers, "I am here in every song you sing." Proceeds are donated to a charity for cancer research.

Countless musical groups and singers have also recorded McCartney's pop songs in classical form.

H.M. The Queen knighted Paul McCartney in 1996. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 111 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Give Me You & This Is Roslyn Kind / Roslyn Kind
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 8980 Release Date: 08/19/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Larry Grossman,  Paul McCartney,  Frank Taliercio,  Jimmy Webb  ... 
    Performer:  Roslyn Kind
    Conductor:  Lee Holdridge,  Pete Dino,  Bhen Lanzaroni,  David Shire
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Beatles Arranged For String Quartet
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 6272 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Lennon,  George Harrison,  Paul McCartney
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  • 3.
    Berlioz: Les nuits d'ete, Harold in Italy; Love Songs / Anne Sofie von Otter
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 40035 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Brad Mehldau,  Léo Ferré,  Barbara  ... 
    Performer:  Antoine Tamestit,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Brad Mehldau
    Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
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  • 4.
    Old, New & Blue / Eric Vloeimans, Holland Baroque Society
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 35613 Release Date: 12/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Eric Vloeimans,  Tylman Susato,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Christian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Eric Vloeimans
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Holland Baroque Society
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  • 5.
    50 Best Chillout Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 332942 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Gregorio Allegri,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Finley,  Juliette Hurel,  Emmanuel Pahud,  Christopher Warren-Green  ... 
    Conductor:  Maurice Handford,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Stephen Cleobury,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork,  Ahn Trio,  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 6.
    50 Best Romantic Piano Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333232 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Leif Ove Andsnes,  John Ogdon,  Garrick Ohlsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rostal & Schaefer Piano Duo
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  • 7.
    James Bond Themes, Vol. 7
    Label: The Store For Music   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Monty Norman,  Jeffrey Cohen,  John Barry,  Michel Legrand  ... 
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  • 8.
    Bond For Orchestra
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 21 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Barry,  David Arnold,  Paul McCartney,  Bill Conti  ... 
    Performer:  Ian Thomas,  Andy Pask,  Andy Vinter,  Adam Goldsmith  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 9.
    Melody Magic / Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 72248 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Georges Bizet,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Frank Vignola,  Vinny Raniolo
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  • 10.
    The 12 Cellists Of The Berlin Philharmonic - 40th Anniversary Concert
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059318 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Julius Klengel,  Jean Françaix,  Astor Piazzolla,  Henry Bourtayre  ... 
    Performer:  Annette Dasch,  Till Bronner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
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  • 11.
    The 12 Cellists Of The Berlin Philharmonic - 40th Anniversary Concert [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059314 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Julius Klengel,  Jean Françaix,  Astor Piazzolla,  Henry Bourtayre  ... 
    Performer:  Annette Dasch,  Till Bronner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 12.
    Label: Disc Makers   Catalog: 5637903196 Release Date: 07/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ross Edwards,  Nigel Westlake,  John Lennon,  Paul McCartney  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Guitar Duo
    CD: $23.99
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  • 13.
    Beatlesmania
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 91663 Release Date: 01/31/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Lennon,  George Harrison,  Paul McCartney
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  • 14.
    Heaven / Ronald Moelker
    Label: Aliud Aliud   Catalog: 6 Release Date: 11/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Aurelio Virgiliano,  Jan Jacob Van Eyck,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Moelker
    CD: $21.49
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  • 15.
    Paul McCartney: Ocean's Kingdom / John Wilson, London Classical Orchestra
    Label: Hear Music   Catalog: 33250 Release Date: 10/04/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney
    Conductor:  John Wilson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Classical Orchestra
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  • 16.
    The Beatles For Orchestra
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Lennon,  Chris Egan,  Phil Medley,  Richard Sidwell  ... 
    Performer:  Neal Wilkinson,  Pete Callard,  Dave Holmes,  Andy Vinter  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 17.
    The Beatles - Magical Mystery Guitar Tour / Carlos Bonell
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: DYCD2 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Harrison,  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  Anonymous
    Performer:  Carlos Bonell
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  • 18.
    Symphonic Sgt. Pepper
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  George Harrison
    Conductor:  Nick Davies
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Tom Knific: The Muse
    Label: Azica   Catalog: 72247 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tom Knific,  John Lennon,  Paul McCartney
    Performer:  Tom Knific
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  • 20.
    Loeki Stardust Collection 1980-2000
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802044 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Tarquinio Merula,  Gioseffo Guami,  Girolamo Frescobaldi,  Giovanni Palestrina  ... 
    Performer:  Karel Van Steenhoven,  Bertho Driever,  Daniel Brüggen,  Paul Leenhouts
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Loeki Stardust Quartet Amsterdam,  Academy of Ancient Music
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  • 21.
    Colors Of Jazz - For Tropical Nights
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46203 Release Date: 01/02/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  Phil Collins,  Sting,  Charles Fox  ... 
    Performer:  Dave Ratajczak,  John Basile,  Wayne Krantz,  David Finck  ... 
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  • 22.
    Colors Of Jazz - For Sunday Morning
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46206 Release Date: 12/17/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  Michel Legrand,  Billy Joel,  David Foster  ... 
    Performer:  David Finck,  Fred Hersch,  Wayne Krantz,  Randy Brecker  ... 
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  • 23.
    Love Songs / Anne Sofie Von Otter, Brad Mehldau
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5241 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Brad Mehldau,  Léo Ferré,  Barbara,  Joni Mitchell  ... 
    Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Brad Mehldau
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  • 24.
    Good Medicine / Doc Severinsen
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 66062 Release Date: 07/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Bettis,  Paul McCartney,  Nino Rota,  Dick Hyman  ... 
    Performer:  Doc Severinsen
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  • 25.
    Rock Symphonies / David Garrett
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001444202 Release Date: 07/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Axl Rose / J. Isbell / S.,  Joe Perry,  Cliff Burton,  Paul McCartney  ... 
    Performer:  Jeff Allen,  Marcus Wolf,  David Garrett,  Franck Van Der Heijden  ... 
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