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 26-50 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Rock Symphonies / David Garrett
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001444202 Release Date: 07/20/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Axl Rose,  Joe Perry,  Cliff Burton,  Paul McCartney  ... 
    Performer:  Jeff Allen,  Marcus Wolf,  David Garrett,  Franck Van Der Heijden  ... 
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  • 27.
    24 Ways Upon The Bells
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 183 Release Date: 04/27/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Christian Rivet,  Benjamin Britten,  George Harrison,  John Dowland  ... 
    Performer:  Christian Rivet
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  • 28.
    The Ultimate Romantic Guitar
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 28551 Release Date: 03/30/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Erik Satie,  Gustavo Montesano,  Johann Jacob Froberger  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Parkening,  Gustavo Montesano,  Andrés Segovia,  Manuel Barrueco  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlos Gomez,  Antoni Ros Marbà,  Simon Rattle,  Ronald Ravenscroft
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  • 29.
    Essential Guitar
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 95452 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  John Lennon,  Francisco Tarrega  ... 
    Performer:  Angel Romero,  Manuel Barrueco,  David Tanenbaum,  Wulfin Lieske  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Iona Brown,  Antoni Ros Marbà,  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 30.
    Very Best Of Lesley Garrett
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 98385 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Fauré,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Lesley Garrett
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  • 31.
    Classical Beatles
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 16784 Release Date: 11/03/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  John Rutter,  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  Arthur Wilkinson  ... 
    Performer:  Manuel Barrueco,  Lesley Garrett,  Xuefei Yang,  David Tanenbaum
    Conductor:  Ron Goodwin,  Richard Edlinger,  George Martin,  Miriam Nemcova
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Singers,  Baroque Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 32.
    At Home With Friends / Joshua Bell
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752716 Release Date: 09/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Rodgers,  Ravi Shankar,  Diane Warren,  Antonio Carlos Jobim  ... 
    Performer:  Joshua Bell,  Marvin Hamlisch,  Anoushka Shankar,  Edgar Meyer  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tiempo Libre
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  • 33.
    British Music For Piano, Four Hands
    Label: Xxi   Catalog: 1603 Release Date: 08/11/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir William Walton
    Performer:  Josée Caron,  Martin Caron
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Caron
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  • 34.
    Jokes / Quintetto Bislacco
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 57909 Release Date: 07/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Astor Piazzolla,  Bernardo Stalman,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Duilio Galfetti,  Gustavo Fioravanti,  Enrico Fagone,  Marco Radaelli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quintetto Bislacco
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  • 35.
    The Baroque Beatles Book / Rifkin
    Label: Nonesuch   Catalog: 517948 Release Date: 07/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Lennon,  Paul McCartney,  John & Paul Lennon & McCartney
    Conductor:  Joshua Rifkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baroque Ensemble of the Merseyside Kammermusickgesellschaft
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  • 36.
    The Best Of Beatles Baroque / Les Boreades
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 3008 Release Date: 06/30/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  George Harrison
    Conductor:  Eric Milnes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Boréades Montreal
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  • 37.
    Stars And Pipes Forever - Sousa, Meyer, Et Al / Hannes Meyer
    Label: Tudor Records   Catalog: 7062 Release Date: 06/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Maurice Ravel,  Paul McCartney,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Hannes Meyer
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  • 38.
    Lines Of Influence
    Label: Azica   Catalog: AJD-72240 Release Date: 02/24/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Chris Beckstrom,  Paul McCartney,  Tom Knific,  Keith Hall  ... 
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  • 39.
    Xibus / Boston String Quartet
    Label: Navona   Catalog: 5808 Release Date: 02/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giulio Caccini,  John Courduvelis,  Ulf Anneken,  Traditional  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
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  • 40.
    Evergreen Love Songs / Jorma Hynninen, Heikki Sarmanto
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 803 Release Date: 12/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Harry Warren,  Paul McCartney,  David Raksin,  Elvis Presley  ... 
    Performer:  Jorma Hynninen,  Heikki Sarmanto
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  • 41.
    Christmas Classics / Davis, Rutter, Traulert, Et Al
    Label: Hallé   Catalog: 7504 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  James Pierpont,  Carl Davis,  Traditional,  Irving Berlin  ... 
    Performer:  Claire Rutter,  Eric Traulert
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 42.
    The King's Singers Collection
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 07063 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  Walter Jurmann,  Werner Richard Heymann  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gerhardt,  Manuel Barrueco,  Nancy Hadden,  Goff Richards  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Consort of Musicke
    CD: $34.99
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  • 43.
    Best Guitar 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15241 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Michael Praetorius,  Joaquin Rodrigo,  Manuel de Falla,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Christopher Parkening,  Ernesto Bitetti,  Manuel Barrueco,  Dario Rossetti-Bonell  ... 
    Conductor:  Antoni Ros Marbà,  Jeremy Lubbock,  Elmer Bernstein,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra members  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 44.
    The King's Singers Collection
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 120 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Thomas Tallis,  William Byrd,  Francis Pott,  John Dowland  ... 
    Performer:  Philip Lawson,  Christopher Gabbitas,  Paul Phoenix,  Robin Tyson  ... 
    Conductor:  Mark Levy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Concordia
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  • 45.
    Legends / Canadian Brass
    Label: Opening Day   Catalog: 7347 Release Date: 05/13/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aaron Copland,  George Frideric Handel,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Samuel Scheidt  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Moody
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Canadian Brass
    CD: $17.98
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  • 46.
    Hyper Beatles- Piano Arrangements By Mostel, Miyake, Cage
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54155 Release Date: 03/26/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Garland,  Paul McCartney,  John Lennon,  Yoriaki Matsudaira  ... 
    Performer:  Aki Takahashi
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 47.
    Best Romantic Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15490 Release Date: 01/15/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Lucio Quarantotto,  Pablo de Sarasate,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Julian Byzantine,  Amy Nuttall,  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Sharon Isbin  ... 
    Conductor:  Julian Kershaw,  Seiji Ozawa,  Lawrence Foster,  Sir John Barbirolli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra,  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  Rome Opera House Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 48.
    The #1 Guitar Album - Segovia, Romero, Bream, Lagoya, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001041302 Release Date: 01/08/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Dowland,  Domenico Scarlatti  ... 
    Performer:  Andrés Segovia,  Göran Söllscher,  Pepe Romero,  Ida Presti  ... 
    Conductor:  Kenneth Sillito,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Nick Ingman,  Mats Rondin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Budapest Film Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 49.
    Anhorn! Listen! / Elbeblech Brass Quintet
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 88114 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elbeblech Brass Quintet
    CD: $18.99
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  • 50.
    Best Friends / Cleo Laine & John Williams
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60961 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonio Carlos Jobim,  Cleo Laine,  Brian Gascoigne,  David Gates  ... 
    Performer:  Cleo Laine,  John Williams
    ArkivCD $16.99
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