In 1964, girls all across the United States filled venues, almost literally screamed their heads off, and fainted en masse. Almost from the second they played the first note, The Beatles would be hit with the resounding screams, which made it impossible for them to even hear themselves sing. When they made their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964, they were greeted by young fans who whipped themselves up into such a frenzy that some of them fainted. Beatlemania had struck North America, creating a musical and pop culture phenomenon unlike anything the world had ever seen.
In the middle of it all was Paul McCartney, who joined with close friend and band mate John Lennon to create history's greatest songwriting duo. As the "Cute" Beatle, McCartney was instrumental in creating the soundtrack of the 1960s, while producing some of the world's most timeless classics together with Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.
McCartney lacked the controversy of Lennon, the spirituality of Harrison, and the silliness of Starr, but he was unquestionably one of the driving forces behind the Beatles' most productive recording periods, especially on the Beatles' seminal Revolver album. It was also McCartney who tried hardest to keep the Beatles together from 1968-1970, even while his perfectionist attention to detail frequently drove his band mates crazy. Ultimately, it was McCartney who was the first to publicly announce his departure from the Beatles.
Sir Paul may have never topped the highs established by the Beatles, but he has gone on to have the longest and most productive solo career of the four. While that was helped in part by the tragic murder of Lennon in 1980, McCartney has nonetheless remained at the forefront of pop culture since 1970, and the Guinness Book of World Records has recognized him as the most successful recording artist of all time. Indeed, McCartney wrote or co-wrote over 30 #1 hits and has sold over 100 million albums and 100 million singles in his music career.
McCartney has provided an uncountable number of anthems, but his popularity has made his life extremely public and the subject of plenty of tabloid fodder, from his causes to his marriages. Legends of Music: The Life and Legacy of Paul McCartney covers McCartney's life and career in detail, both in and out of the studio, while analyzing his lasting legacy.