Before They Were Rock Stars: Paul McCartney

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Happy Birthday, Macca! Seventy-one years ago to the day, singer and bassist of The Beatles, Paul McCartney, was born. To celebrate his birthday in our next installment of  "Before They Were Rock Stars" series, let's take a look back at Macca before he was a rock star.


James Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool, England, to parents James and Mary McCartney. His mother was a nurse and his father was a cotton salesman who was also the pianist and leader of local Liverpool group, Jim Mac's Jazz Band. Paul had one younger brother, Michael, who was two years his junior. Though the two were baptized in the Catholic Church, education was emphasized more in their household than religion. As a musician himself, James Sr. encouraged both of his sons to be musical, keeping a piano in a front room of their home. James once gave Paul a trumpet for his birthday, but as rock 'n' roll became more and more popular, Paul traded it in for an acoustic guitar, concluding it would be easier to sing with a guitar than with a trumpet.

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At age 14, when he lost his mother to breast cancer, the devastated Paul turned to music for comfort and solace from his grief. It was the following year, in July of  '57, that Paul met future bandmate John Lennon at a church festival where Lennon's band The Quarrymen were playing. It didn't take much for the two to hit it off. And before long, John invited Paul to join the group as the rhythm guitar player. Paul soon after persuaded Lennon to let his schoolmate, George Harrison, join the band as well. And the rest, as they say, is history . . .

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