Paul McCartney

All-Music Guide Biography

[This is taken from the All-Music Guide which is available through gopher at]

In the decade and a half after the demise of the Beatles in 1970, Paul McCartney has become one of the most successful figures in popular music. Though he had more trouble scoring hits after the mid 80s, McCartney embarked on a triumphant world tour in 1989 and premiered his first classical work, PAUL MCCARTNEY'S LIVERPOOL ORATORIO, in 1991.,Born in Liverpool, McCartney teamed with John Lennon and George Harrison in the 50s to form the nucleus of the Beatles, who scored unprecedented worldwide success in the 60s, much of it fueled by McCartney's melodic songs. The bass player and singer was a musical chameleon, equally capable of performing the most tender love song, the most schmaltzy show tune, or the most raucous rocker, on command. McCartney scored a film (THE FAMILY WAY) in 1966 but otherwise restricted his musical activities to the group until the end of the 60s, when he launched his solo career with MCCARTNEY. In the early 70s, he formed a new group, Wings, and toured while recording frequently. Every new album hit the Top Ten, as did nearly every single, such that McCartney and Wings ranked tenth among the Top 20 album artists of the decade and second among the Top 20 singles artists, according to BILLBOARD statistics. McCartney finally began to cool off in sales terms after the #1 album TUG OF WAR in 1982, but artistically he continued to challenge himself, writing his own motion picture, GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROAD STREET (1984), and entering into a writing collaboration with Elvis Costello that resulted in hits for both of them. ~ William Ruhlmann

The following passage, supplied by Bob Jones, is taken from "The Beatle Book" - Lancer Special 72-32, text copyright 1964, Lancer Books, Inc. Note: This book is full of great photos by Dezo Hoffmann.

This is an excerpt from the 4th chapter of the book - "Paul McCartney" (the contents of the complete book is as follows: All The Beatles - chapter 1, Success Story - chapter 2, John Lennon - chapter 3, Paul McCartney - chapter 4, George Harrison - chapter 5, Ringo Starr - chapter 6). The chapters are not numbered, only listed by title. I have enclosed my editor's notes in brackets "[]" were appropriate.

...He can make do on very little sleep and rarely gets more than four or five hours per night. He is known to get out of bed after a restless attempt at sleep and go out for long walks in whatever city he happens to be in...

Apropos of his nocturnal ramblings, he succumbed to the desire for a wee-hours exploration prowl during the group's stay in New York last February [February, 1964 - ed.], with comic results.

As anyone who can read knows, the Beatles were under a virtual state of siege during their sojourn here. It was as much as their lives were worth to venture out without a police escort. A horde of teenage fans, both male and female, set up camp outside the sacrosanct precincts of the Hotel Plaza, and they were there round the clock.

When The Beatles went to the Broadway CBS Theatre to rehearse for the Ed Sullivan Show, it caused a traffic jam as about two thousand frenzied fans thronged the streets for blocks around 53rd Street and Broadway. The same thing happened during their Carnegie Hall appearance.

At any rate, the night after their Ed Sullivan appearance, the Beatles finally got to bed around two in the morning. But Paul couldn't sleep. He had the feeling that is sometimes described as "stir-crazy." Here he'd been in New York, one of the world's greatest cities, for more than three days, and all he'd seen of it was fleeting glimpses from speeding limousines which took him, with motorcycle police escort, from the hotel to rehearsals to press conferences to hotels and so on, ad nauseam.

So at about 3:15 of that Tuesday morning, Paul suddenly threw back the covers and bounded out of bed, saying to no one in particular, "This is for the ruddy birds! I'm going to have a look around."

He threw on some clothes and prepared to go out. At this hour, he thought, the camp followers must have had sense enough to go home and there would be no danger of getting mobbed. To be on the safe side, however, he decided to slip out the side entrance of the Plaza, on 58th Street.

Paul had underrated the persistence of The Beatle fans, some of whom, in anticipation of just such a move on the part of one or more of their idols, had set up a sentry at the Fifth Avenue corner, in a position where he could watch the side entrance and shout a warning if any of the Beatles emerge therefrom.

Paul had no sooner set foot on the sidewalk than the alarm rang out. "There goes one of them!" a shrill voice screamed.

A surging crescendo of running footsteps was all Paul had to hear. He had already taken a few steps west and he was afraid to try to make it back the hotel. By now he could see what looked like a "thundering tribe of Red Indians" rounding the corner in hot pursuit. It looked like he was past the point of no return, so he did the only thing he could have done. He took Horace Greeley's timeless advice and headed west, running like all the fiends of hell were after him.

A short distance down the block, at 42 West 58th Street, stands the Chateau Madrid, a venerable landmark in New York's nightlife sector. The current attraction playing the beautiful nightclub was Los Chavales de España, headliners on three continents.

The Chateau Madrid had closed for the night, but some of the staff were still around the premises doing whatever nightclub help does after the joint closes up. Out on the street, the doorman was scrubbing the rubber mat on which well-heeled patrons walk from limousines or taxis to the entrance.

Hearing the commotion, the doorman looked up to see a tall, skinny fellow with wildly waving hair running like one possessed down 58th Street. Now nightclub doorman are among the most knowledgeable individuals in the world. This one knew that the Beatles were staying in the neighborhood at The Plaza. He also knew that said Beatles, for some mysterious reason no doubt connected with theatrics, could be identified by strange looking haircuts. The fugitive approaching him at full gallop down 58th Street looked like he had never been initiated into the rituals performed in a barber shop.

Putting one and 150 pursuers together, the doorman came up with a logical answer. "Here comes a Beatle," he said.

As the panic-stricken Paul McCartney drew near, the doorman waved and shouted to him, "In here." He pointed to the entrance to the Chateau Madrid.

"Thanks, mate," Paul gasped and he darted into the nightclub doorway, never breaking stride till he got inside. The doorman followed him in and locked the door behind him.

"Take a seat," he said. "I don't think they saw you come in here. Just wait around a while and they'll give up looking or go back to the hotel."

A distinguished looking elderly man with a gentle face came up to them with an inquiring look on his face. In Spanish, the doorman explained that the young man was an actor being pursued his aficionados. This was something the old gentleman could understand. He too was of the world of show business.

He was, in fact, the arranger and guiding genius of the great act known to millions as Los Chavales de España, affectionately called "The Kids from Spain" by New Yorkers.

He also had some English at his disposal, but not much. It was enough, however, to carry on a somewhat limited conversation with Paul. The doorman went back to the kitchen and brought them a pot of coffee, and the two sat at the table - the courtly old Spaniard and the brash young Beatle - chatted about this and that, mostly show business. They got on famously.

About a half hour later, when they had drunk the last of the coffee, Paul rose and said, "Well, they ought to be gone by now. I'd better have a go a making it back to the hotel."

Like an Old World host, the Spaniard expressed his regrets that their visit had been so brief. He walked Paul to the door.

As they were shaking hands in farewell, the old man said, "One question before you go, my young friend. Traveling about as I do, I play a game of trying to determine what part of the world a person is from by listening to him talk. Usually, I am quite good at it, but I must confess I cannot quite place your accent."

"Is it German?"

Paul McCartney had probably met the only man in America, not to mention a few other continents, who had never heard of The Beatles.

Mike Markowski
Last modified: August 12, 1994