You may know me for wearing U2 shirts all the time, but before Bono and The Edge came into my life, Paul McCartney was my biggest influence growing up. Before losing my necklace in Iceland over this summer, I wore my Paul McCartney Hofner violin bass guitar necklace everywhere I went since I got it for Christmas a few years back. It is a reminder of my musical roots. I am by no means anywhere close to the same stratosphere of the great Paul McCartney, but it reminds me of those nights I would spend learning “Blackbird” or “Yesterday” on the guitar. I even wanted to force myself to learn the guitar and bass lefthanded. I even remember the time I went to the Allentown Symphony Hall to catch “Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow” with my dad when I was 12. Regardless of how much I have changed as a person, Paul McCartney and his music have always been a constant in my life.
While I believe that it is unfair to really compare all four of the members of The Beatles for their full body of work, it is also hard to argue McCartney’s success. McCartney went from The Beatles to his self-titled solo album, “McCartney,” which includes one of the greatest love songs ever in “Maybe I’m Amazed.” His next group, Wings, was also a success and brought songs like “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “1985,” “Silly Love Songs,” and “Listen to What the Man Said” to the table in just seven albums together.
Even McCartney’s last three albums, “New,” “Egypt Station,” and “McCartney III” have continued his success. They are not necessarily filled with hits like his previous works, but songs like “I Don’t Know,” “Early Days,” “Queenie Eye,” and “Seize the Day” are all a part of my daily rotation. It amazes me that McCartney has matured so much in his writing, and the sheer fact that he can still put out full albums (including some where he plays every instrument) is incredible.
Perhaps most importantly, McCartney has been touring for fans for decades. Say what you want about his voice in 2021, but he deserves credit for constantly traveling the world and bringing songs from The Beatles, Wings, and his solo albums to fans. I was lucky enough to see him on his “Out There” tour in 2013, a support tour for “New,” and I would say that this was one of the last years with his voice at full strength. It was a three-hour show of hit after hit, and I do not know if any concert experience will ever top that, especially given that the concert happened on Father’s Day that year, and my dad was the one who sat down and burned each and every album by The Beatles on my iPod when Apple did not have the rights to their music.
So while I cannot act like McCartney’s lyrics are all as deep as the likes of U2 for example, but there is a timeless quality to McCartney’s music that has resonated with me since I was a child. With this crazy pandemic, I do not know if McCartney will ever tour again, but I am thankful for the opportunity I had to see him. Even though he will never see this, thank you, Paul, for all that you have done. I am far from the only person he has touched, but now at 79 years young, it feels appropriate to celebrate the one and only Paul McCartney, because I am amazed that he has been with me all this time.