Hyperactive Paul McCartney, British pop legend, turns 80

Hyperactive Paul McCartney, British pop legend, turns 80

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London (AFP) – At 25, Paul McCartney imagined sinking a quiet retirement in “When I’m Sixty Four”. But still hyperactive, the British pop legend turns 80 on Saturday, a week before performing at Glastonbury.

He will then become the oldest headliner in the history of this legendary festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people to the south-west of England.

“The crowds at Glastonbury have always reminded me of a medieval battle scene,” he tweeted in late March.

This moment will come about ten days after the completion of his tour called “Got Back Tour” during which he filled stadiums in the United States for a month and a half.

Not close to stepping away from the stage, the famed Beatles stalwart, who has been performing solo for over 50 years, still had to take a break during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He then retired as a family to his farm in south-east England with his daughter Mary and four of his eight grandchildren.

But we don’t get over it: he took the opportunity to record the album McCartney III at home, released in December 2020 and which ranked number one on the British charts.

The following year, he recorded a new version of this album, supported by a host of artists, published a book retracing his career – “The Lyrics” -, a book of vegan recipes with his daughters Mary and Stella, a children’s story … while “McCartney 3,2,1”, a series of interviews with producer Rick Rubin and the Peter Jackson documentary “The Beatles: Get Back”, were released on Disney+.

Paul McCartney in concert in Tinley Park, July 2017, Illinois Kamil Krzaczynski AFP/Archives

As he celebrates his eighth decade, Paul McCartney has a busy schedule more than ever.

Despite the years and the dramas that have punctuated his life, he retains the slender silhouette and the mischievous gaze of the “Macca” of the Beatles years.

Soon Lord?

James Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool in 1942, into a modest family. His mother, a midwife, died when he was 14.

The following year he met John Lennon and played with him in the Quarrymen, which later became the Beatles, with the arrival of George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

(lr) John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison of the group Beatles in 1964 in London
(lr) John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison of the group Beatles in 1964 in London – C.PRESS/AFP/Archives

The four boys with iconic haircuts spark fan hysteria.

Beatlemania is sweeping the world.

With John Lennon, McCartney composed huge hits: “Hey Jude”, “Penny Lane”, and of course “Yesterday”, a “hit” recorded in 1,600 different versions.

But the childhood friendship is shattered. The shooting of “Let It Be”, around the eponymous album, sounded the death knell of the “Fab Four” on April 10, 1970, to the great despair of their fans.

McCartney creates the band Wings with his wife, photographer Linda Eastman, on keyboard.

With her, the former LSD lover becomes a family man and a vegetarian. The couple raises four children, Mary, Stella – who became a fashion designer – James and Heather, born from a previous marriage of Linda.

Paul McCartney (c), his wife Linda and band members "wings"on March 1, 1990 in Tokyo
Paul McCartney (c), his wife Linda and the members of the group “Wings”, on March 1, 1990 in Tokyo YOSHIKAZU TSUNO AFP/Archives

After 29 years of marriage, Linda died in 1998, carried away by breast cancer.

Heartbroken, McCartney devotes himself to good causes: the environment, animals, human rights. He tries his hand at classical music, painting and sculpture.

He met Heather Mills, a former model who lost part of her leg after an accident, and married her in 2002. They had a daughter, Beatrice, before divorcing with a bang in 2008.

In October 2011, Paul McCartney married the American Nancy Shevell, heiress of a wealthy American entrepreneur.

Paul McCartney and his American wife Nancy Shevell, January 17, 2018 in Hollywood
Paul McCartney and his American wife Nancy Shevell, January 17, 2018 in Hollywood VALERIE MACON AFP/Archives

The Sunday Times estimates the couple’s wealth at £865 million (more than a billion euros).

During his successful career, Paul McCartney received numerous awards, including 18 Grammy awards, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.

Rumor has it that he could soon be made “Lord”, in a further token of recognition to the cultural imprint left by this prolific singer-songwriter.

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, September 15, 2016 in London
Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, September 15, 2016 in London Ben STANSALL AFP/Archives

Of the four Beatles only he and Ringo Starr survive, who, at 81, also continues to tour.

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