James Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool on June 18th, 1942. Paul writes his first song, I Lost My Little Girl in 1956. He meets John Lennon at St. Peter's Church Fete, Woolton, Liverpool. He joins his first group, The Quarrymen and performs in his first gig at The New Clubmoor Hall, Liverpool, on October 18th, 1957.
1960 sees the formation of The Beatles, who play residencies in Hamburg and at The Cavern in Liverpool.
The Beatles grow out to the most successful band ever, breaking any record thinkable and creating a real Beatlemania all over the world during the sixties.
The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco on August 29th, 1966. Eleanor Rigby and Paperback Writer are the group's singles hits. Their new album "Revolver" revolutionises the music world.
The Beatles break more boundaries with the release of the Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields single in 1967. They top this with the release of the legendary album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Beatles perform on the first global telecast, playing All You Need Is Love, the anthem of a generation. Brian Epstein, The Beatles manager, dies. The group write and appear in the TV film Magical Mystery Tour.
The Beatles' fourth and final film, "Let It Be", is released in 1970. The Let It Be single and album of the same title top the US charts. The dissolution of Apple sees the break-up of The Beatles. Paul releases his first solo album, "McCartney".
The next year, in 1971, Paul releases his second solo album, Ram. He also forms Wings with his wife Linda and releases the "Wildlife" album and has a hit with the single Another Day. A daughter, Stella, is born to Paul and Linda.
Paul returns to live work, with Wings, launching an impromptu tour of British universities and small European venues throughout 1972. Wings score with hit singles Mary Had A Little Lamb and Hi Hi Hi.
In 1973 Wings release the highly-acclaimed album "Band On The Run", which wins two Grammy awards. Paul appears in his own TV special, James Paul McCartney. Wings release the "Red Rose Speedway" album and Paul writes the theme song for the James Bond film Live And Let Die.
In 1980 Paul goes solo again and releases the album "McCartney II" and the hit single Coming Up. Linda's short animated film Seaside Woman wins a Golden Palm award at the Cannes Film Festival. Paul releases the singles Waterfalls and Temporary Secretary. Rockshow, a film of the 1976 Wings tour of the USA is premiered in New York. John Lennon is murdered.
Paul performs to the world when he sings Let It Be at Live Aid in 1985.
In 1988 Paul McCartney becomes the first artist from the West to release an album exclusively in the Soviet Union, Choba B CCCP (Back In The USSR). Paul is awarded an honorary doctorate by Sussex University and honoured with Music Therapy's Silver Clef award. He repays the charity by narrating and appearing in the BBC documentary The Power Of Music, in which he sings to autistic children.
On September 26th, 1989 in Oslo, Norway, Paul McCartney launches his first world tour for 13 years. On July 29th, 1990 the Paul McCartney 'Get Back' World Tour ends at Soldier Field Stadium, Chicago, before a sell-out crowd of 53,000. Since it started, the world tour had been to 13 countries, a total of 102 concerts to three million fans. During the tour, at The Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Paul sets the new world record for the largest stadium crowd in the history of rock and roll, when he plays to 184,000 Brazilians. The tour also sees Paul's triumphant concert return to Liverpool, where he plays to 60,000 fans on the banks of the Mersey and, in a special tribute to John Lennon, he sings a medley of John's songs, Strawberry Fields Forever/Help!/Give Peace A Chance. A triple-vinyl, double-CD live album, "Tripping The Live Fantastic", is released and goes platinum in the USA.
Coinciding with the 50th birthday of John Lennon, Paul releases a live single, Birthday, the tour version of The Beatles classic from "The White Album". The release of a further single, All My Trials, gets Paul embroiled in a political row in Britain as the song is taken to be his protest against Tory cash cuts in the National Health Service.
In 1992 Paul McCartney is named the world's first recipient of the Swedish Polar Music Award, a Nobel-prize for music. Paul reveals Daumier's Law, an animated short film entered for the Cannes Film Festival, which he co-produced and composed the score. Paul, Linda and the band - with new drummer Blair Cunningham replacing Chris Whitten - record his first studio album for three years, Off The Ground. Daumier's Law wins the BAFTA prize for the best short animated film at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards. Following the success of Paul McCartney Unplugged, Paul launches a new MTV series - Up Close - recording at New York's Ed Sullivan Theatre. The show sees the first performances of songs from Off The Ground.
On New Year's Eve 1996 Paul McCartney becomes Sir Paul McCartney as he is knighted by HM The Queen for services to music.
Early 1997 Geoff Wonfor, director of The Beatles Anthology, begins filming a new TV documentary based on the making of Paul's new studio album.
The Beatles Anthology wins three Grammy awards.
Paul releases Flaming Pie, his first solo album for four years. Flaming Pie is met with instant international acclaim. It debuts at No.2 in both the UK and the USA, Paul's highest USA chart entry since The Beatles. Critics applaud the album worldwide; "The sound of a pop genius", wrote Q magazine, with Britain's Sun newspaper calling it simply "Brilliant" and The Guardian voting it "Excellent". In the USA, Flaming Pie is judged "A Masterpiece" by The New York Post. "McCartney In Fab Form" commented The Los Angeles Times, while USA Today added "Every Slice Of Pie Leaves You Hungry For Seconds".
In launching Flaming Pie Paul agrees to a live, global interview with fans on the Internet via VH1. The 90-minute session sets a new Guinness world record for three million questions set for Paul, who managed to answer 200.
Paul reveals that in 1974, four years after the break-up of The Beatles, he and John Lennon secretly recorded a jam session in Los Angeles, playing old rock and roll standards. The news makes headlines worldwide, alongside claims that the master tape of the session "could be worth millions".
Meanwhile, within three days of its release Flaming Pie achieves gold album status, Pauls 81st gold disc, a feat that breaks his own world record.
Thirty years after he signed the famed petition calling for the legislation of cannabis, Paul becomes embroiled in controversy when he reveals his belief that cannabis should be decriminalized.
The London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Lawrence Foster, record Paul McCartneys Standing Stone at Abbey Road. Paul oversees the sessions, which are filmed for a BBC documentary to be screened at Christmas. Standing Stone, Pauls new symphonic work, was commissioned by EMI to mark the 100th anniversary of the record company.
Paul accepts an invitation from Prime Minister Tony Blair to summit at Chequers. Details of the meeting are not released, save only that the pair met to discuss LIPA as a possible role model for the future of higher education.
Paul answers a call from George Martin to headline a benefit night at The Royal Albert Hall to raise relief funds for the people of Montserrat. The charity show also stars Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Mark Knopfler and Carl Perkins. Paul performs Yesterday solo and then calls the assembled superstars to the stage to back him on Golden Slumbers/The End and Hey Jude. As an encore, the supergroup then performs Kansas City with Paul taking the lead vocal. The leading British music magazine Mojo calls the event "better than Live Aid".
Standing Stone is given its world premiere performance at The Royal Albert Hall by the London Symphony Orchestra. A 10-minute standing ovation is given to its composer by the 4,500 audience. Standing Stone goes to No. 1 in the classical charts in the UK and the USA. It remains at No. 1 in the UK for four weeks, and in the USA for 11 weeks.
Paul does his first-ever in store album signing at HMV in Oxford Street as a thank you for HMVs help in getting The Beatles a recording deal in the early sixties. The event brings the heart of London to a standstill as crowds in excess of 10,000-strong close down Oxford Street, making the movement of traffic impossible.
RADD - Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving - present Paul with the 1997 Founders Award for his work in promoting the anti-drinking campaign in the USA. Paul records a new TV public service announcement against drunk-driving, which is aired all across America.
In memory of Diana, Princess Of Wales, Paul donates Little Willow from Flaming Pie to an all-star tribute album. A moving video to accompany the ballad is directed by Oscar winner John Schlesinger.
Paul is reunited with Ringo Starr as they co-star with Linda in a lavish video for Beautiful Night, directed by Julien Temple for release as a Christmas single.
Standing Stone is given its USA premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York. The concert is broadcast live on National Public Radio to more than 300 radio stations, another new world record for the biggest classical concert broadcast ever. However, the performance and broadcast has to be delayed by 15 minutes, until the screaming fans in Carnegie Hall quiet down and take their seats.
Oprah Winfrey breaks with her long held tradition and moves her show to New York to record an interview with Paul, during which he performs two songs. Young Boy and Flaming Pie. The interview is such a success that Oprah decides to make two shows out of it. Meanwhile, back in Britain, Paul gives another in-depth TV interview to Sir David Frost.
Controversy surrounds the release of the Beautiful Night video, on account of the nudity contained in the promo. "I personally am not afraid of nudity, theres no more in this video than youd see on any statue anywhere in the world", comments Paul.
In 1997 Paul McCartney also wins the prestigious Q Magazine award as Songwriter of the Year for Flaming Pie, beating Paul Weller, Beck, and Noel Gallagher.
1998: Flaming Pie is nominated for a Grammy® as Album of the Year.
Paul wins the USA's National Public Radio New Horizon Award for Standing Stone and in recognition of his work to broaden the appeal of classical music.
On April seventeenth, nineteen ninety-eight, all around the world, people mourn the passing of Lady Linda McCartney. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair leads global tributes.
Memorial services for Linda are held in London and New York. The mark of Linda is made plain when, for the London memorial, the three remaining Beatles come together in public for the first time in 30 years.
Paul returns to the studio to mix and produce the Wide Prairie album, the definitive collection of songs written and recorded by Linda.
The first graduates pass out from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Paul makes an unannounced visit to LIPA to pass out their graduation badges.
A short animated film created by Linda, Wide Prairie, is premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival.
Paul gives his first interviews of the year to the UK animal rights group Viva (Vegetarians International Voice for Animals) and PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals). He vows to continue to hold Linda's torch for animal welfare, telling Viva "Animal activists believe we've lost a powerful voice since Linda's death. Well, we have - but my voice is there now and I'm going to use it".
Paul embarks on a series of campaigns in defense of animals; including the UK lobby to ban fox-hunting to fronting a (successful) drive to outlaw the slaughter of horses in California for meat in Europe to funding a British police crackdown on deer-poachers and badger-baiters.
The UK's annual Women of the Year lunch in London is held in tribute to Linda. Paul and his family publishes Linda's third vegetarian cookbook, "Linda McCartney On Tour".
A publicity-shy artist known as The Fireman issues an album of ambient chillout music, Rushes.
Linda's solo album, Wide Prairie, is issued by EMI/Capitol, backed by a personal promotion by Paul.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announces that Paul is to be inducted as a solo artist, the induction ceremony to take place in New York on March 15, 1999.
Paul hosts his own one-man, 90-minute show live on the internet, featuring videos from Wide Prairie, revealing his personal photographs of Linda and taking questions e-mailed from fans from 30 countries. Tracking services confirm that fans log on to the event at the rate of 250,000 a minute. During the live chat, Paul reveals that two singles from Linda's album, The Light Comes From Within and The White Coated Man will be released in 1999.
Paul starts the year 1999 in Atlanta, Georgia, accompanying his eldest daughter Heather at the successful launch of her range of interior designs at the AmericasMart trade fair. Whilst in Atlanta, Paul privately tours the downtown area and spots a store selling "Run Devil Run" remedies. "That would make a great title for a rock & roll song," he notes, storing the observation for later in the year.
Paul releases The Light Comes From Within, Linda's posthumous single from her solo album of the same name. Much debate follows in the media as Paul vigorously defends Linda's tougue-in-cheek use of "you're fucking no-one, you stupid dick" in the song lyric.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Band On The Run, EMI/Capitol releases a limited-edition version of the album, together with a bonus interview CD - on which Paul reveals how, in Lagos to record the album, he was mugged at knifepoint and the muggers made off not only with cash and jewelry, but also with all the demo tapes he had made of the songs for the landmark album. Paul then had to remember all the songs before he, Linda and Denny Laine could record the album.
Giving his backing to the Free Tibet campaign, Paul speaks out in protest against the imprisonment of political prisoners and joins a rally at Westminster Hall, where he reads a freedom poem, the lyric to his song Blackbird.
Paul is inducted to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. At the ceremony in New York, where Paul is inducted by Neil Young, his youngest daughter Stella sums up the feelings of many by wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "About Fucking Time". After the induction, Paul makes a surprise unplanned performance when he leads the likes of Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton, Bono, Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen through all-star renditions of "Blue Suede Shoes", "What'd I Say" and Let It Be.
Paul makes an unscheduled performance at the Royal Albert Hall at the rock tribute to Linda McCartney organized by Chrissie Hynde. The event also stars Elvis Costello, George Michael, Tom Jones and Johnny Marr and is hosted by Eddie Izzard. Paul performs Lonesome Town, All My Loving and again leads an all-star version of Let It Be.
Paul books into Abbey Road Studios for just five days, in order to record a rock & roll album. By the end of the week, he and his hand-picked band of Dave Gilmour and Mick Green (guitars), Pete Wingfield (piano) had recorded some 20 songs. Reverting to the early Beatles recording system, they recorded two songs a day before lunch and two between lunch and teatime. None of the band knew which songs they were to record before Paul suggested them - making his suggestions from an envelope full of songs from his teenage years that held special memories for this, an album to salute his rock & roll heroes.
At the previously-unknown town of Siegen, near Cologne, Paul gives the world's first exhibition of his own paintings. Press and media fly into Siegen to view the 70 works, selected from more than 500 paintings that Paul has completed since he began to paint for his own enjoyment at the age of 40.
Paul is voted "The Composer of the Millennium" in a poll conducted by the BBC, getting more votes than Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and beating contemporaries including Frank Zappa, Prince, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and John Lennon.
Leading against genetically-modified food, Paul holds a press conference to pledge that no GM ingredients will be used in the best-selling vegetarian range of Linda McCartney products. Linda McCartney Foods commits £3 million to staying GM-free.
Paul joins George Harrison and Ringo Starr in promoting the newly renovated and remixed Yellow Submarine movie and soundtrack. The soundtrack album marks the first time that an album of Beatles songs have been remixed. Alongside this, The Beatles are honored by the US Postal Service when they become the first rock & roll band to become the subject of a postage stamp. Appropriately, the Yellow Submarine icon is chosen to depict the band. The theme is taken further when a Eurostar high-speed intercontinental train is covered with images from the movie, the images stretch along both sides of the train for a quarter of a mile. Yellow Submarine, the movie, is given its world premiere in its newly cleaned up form in Liverpool as the highlight of a day of Beatle celebrations that draws a record 350,000 people to the city.
To launch his new rock & roll album Run Devil Run, Paul hosts "playback" parties in Los Angeles, New York, Cologne and London. At the playbacks, Paul introduces a film of the making of the album and then, following the playing of the album, takes to the stage to take questions and answers from fans. In London, 2,000 fans compete to ask the questions.
At Capitol Records' studios in Hollywood, Paul records Maybe Baby as the title track for the forthcoming film by his friend Ben Elton.
Run Devil Run is released worldwide to rave reviews. To accompany the launch, Paul hosts his own 5-part radio show on the BBC World Service, spinning his favorite rock & roll songs and revealing his personal memories of the songs and his heroes including Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard and Gene Vincent.
Two weeks after the release of Run Devil Run, Paul releases his third classical album, Working Classical, which features three major new orchestral works (A Leaf, Spiral and Tuesday) alongside string quartet arrangements of love songs that Paul wrote for Linda. These include My Love, Maybe I'm Amazed, Calico Skies, Warm & Beautiful, Golden Earth Girl, Somedays, She's My Baby and The Lovely Linda. Working Classical is given its world premiere performance by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Loma Mar Quartet at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall, to a packed house.
Paul films two videos to accompany single releases from Run Devil Run for No Other Baby and Brown-Eyed Handsome Man. Whilst filming the latter in the London district of Acton, dramatic scenes occur when armed police in bulletproof vests swoop on the scene. A passer-by alerts police after mistaking extras dressed as US police for real gunmen. Police tussle with the extras (who attempted to explain that their "weapons" were fake) and calm is only restored when Paul intervenes, getting between the angry (non-armed) extras and the confused (armed) police to restore the peace. Police describe the affair as a "serious incident" and the matter is splashed across the front of British national newspapers.
Paul and the Run Devil Run band perform live on various BBC TV shows, including Later With Jools Holland and The Tube.
Twenty five years after he was first asked to appear on the show, Paul appears as the only guest on a special edition of BBC1's Michael Parkinson chat show. Paul performs tracks from Run Devil Run with the band. He also performs Yesterday and The Long And Winding Road solo - and debuts two new ballads just written.
A worldwide media frenzy begins as Paul reveals that he is to perform at Liverpool's Cavern Club for the first time since he last played there with The Beatles in August 1963. An international raffle is held for the 300 free tickets for the December 14th show, with fans from as far as Japan and the USA winning passes for what the British Press dub "the gig of the century". Meanwhile, others offer organisers a variety of bizarre inducements in the hope of getting a ticket - including a free helicopter, a £10,000 holiday in California and sex. Scores of Press from 22 countries fly to Liverpool to report on the concert, which is covered on TV news bulletins around the globe. Paul and his Run Devil Run band perform Honey Hush, Blue Jean Bop, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Fabulous, What It Is, Lonesome Town, Twenty Flight Rock, No Other Baby, Try Not To Cry, Shake A Hand, All Shook Up, I Saw Her Standing There and Party - ending the millennium as he'd wanted, rocking.
In 2000 Paul makes a multi-million dollar donation in memory of Linda to help two cancer centres in New York and Arizona develop new ways of treating and preventing cancer without animal research.
EMI Classics release A Garland For Linda, an album of original choral music by Paul and eight other contemporary composers - John Tavener, Judith Bingham, John Rutter, David Matthews, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The music, performed by The Joyful Company of Singers, is in commemoration of Linda and to raise funds for The Garland Appeal, for the aid of cancer sufferers. A Garland For Linda is performed in London and New York.
Representing The Beatles, Paul attends the New Musical Express 'Brat' awards to receive the NME readers' award for The Beatles as "The Best Band - Ever".
At the annual Ivor Novello Awards in London, Paul is honoured with Britain's highest award for a songwriter - the first Fellowship of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. Presenting the award, the academy's chairman Guy Fletcher said: "This is the most prestigious honour that the academy has ever given and it is given to a man who has made an extraordinary contribution to our industry. Paul McCartney is a true giant of the world of songwriters. His is a universal gift; a talent to move, to entertain and to inspire.
Taking time out from writing a new solo album, Paul composes The Liverpool Sound Collage as the soundtrack for an exhibition of collage by Peter Blake at The Tate Gallery in Liverpool. To make his sound collage, Paul takes to the streets of Liverpool, unannounced, with a tape-recorder on which he tapes conversations with local people. These chats are then mixed with music and out-takes of studio conversations and guitarwork taken from Paul's tapes of Beatles sessions from 1965-69. Due to public demand, The Liverpool Sound Collage - made with the help of The Super Furry Animals and Paul's long-time collaborator Youth - is released as an album through EMI. As one particular track on the album, Free Now, features The Beatles (mixed-down) out-takes, the intended "low-key" release makes headline news around the world.
Little, Brown & Co. publishes Paul McCartney - Paintings, the first book of Paul's paintings. The book, described as an "unexpected and accomplished expression of his creativity" is accompanied by exhibitions at The Arnofini Gallery, Bristol, and The Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. At both galleries, the exhibition of Paintings breaks the attendance records.
For the first time in 40 years, The Beatles finally tell their own story of the band with their autobiography The Beatles Anthology. The 350,000-word book took six years to compile. It is published in eight languages around the globe. More than 1.5 million advance orders are placed for the 370-page book. The Beatles Anthology tops the best-seller lists in both the UK and the USA.
In memory of Linda and her support for animals, Paul donates £100,000 between 20 small UK animal charities.
On the heels of The Beatles Anthology, EMI Records release The Beatles 1; an album that features all 27 of The Beatles' UK and USA No.1 singles on one CD. The album is an immediate and huge international hit, going straight to No.1 in the UK and USA album charts. 1 becomes the fastest-selling album of the year and the UK's biggest-selling album of the year.
On Friday December 8th, the 20 anniversary of the shooting of John Lennon, Paul tells the Press: "It is shocking to think that John was killed 20 years ago. If he was alive, I'd be chuffed to let him know that his album has gone to number one in 28 countries; I know he'd be tickled by that. On Friday I'll be doing what we always enjoyed best together - making music. What else would you want to do? I'll be thinking of all the great times that we had together, and I'll be remembering him with all the love in my heart".
On Friday December 8th, Paul returns to Studio 2, Abbey Road, the home of The Beatles' recordings, to record two new ballads for a forthcoming solo album.
Paul agrees to a publisher's request to hold his first-ever book-signing, autographing copies of Paul McCartney Paintings at the Waterstone's bookstore in Piccadilly, London. Some 5,000 people crowd out the store and hysteria erupts as Paul ends the book-signing; he is mobbed by the madding crowd, who swarm all over his car in scenes reminiscent of A Hard Day's Night. "Beatlemania is back", reports the British Press and TV.
The year 2000 ends with The Beatles back on top of the world - with 1 topping the charts in the UK and the USA, the first time a Beatles album has been at No.1 over Christmas/New Year since Abbey Road in 1969. In Britain, 1 marks in 7th consecutive week at No.1. In the USA - where the album earlier lost the No.1 slot and then regained it - 1 holds the top position for its 4th consecutive week, with Christmas week sales reaching an astonishing 1,260,000 (the first week sales in the USA were 595,000). Since its release on November 13th, 20 million copies of 1 have been shipped worldwide, with the album shifting at the rate of 5 copies per second.
The Beatles 1 sets a new world record - reaching No.1 in 34 countries, a wider international hit than any record before it, and selling 22 million copies.
Just as he did by following The Beatles with Wings, Paul follows The Beatles 1 with Wingspan - an Anthology-style two-hour movie that is the story of how he and Linda dared to follow The Beatles with their gypsy band in the Seventies. The TV movie, produced and directed by Alistair Donald, is slated for a May 2001 premiere on ABC TV. The film is co-produced by Alistair Donald's wife Mary McCartney - who conducts all of the on-screen interviews for Wingspan with her father.
In February 2001 Paul returns to the recording studio to make his first album of all-new songs since the 1997 release Flaming Pie. Despite working with a new producer, David Kahne, and a new band (Rusty Anderson, guitar; Gabe Dixon, drums; Abe Loboriel Jnr, drums), he typically doesn't hang about - in 10 working days at the Henson Studios, Los Angeles, 18 tracks have been cut for the album.
Paul returns to Britain for the publication of the first anthology of his poetry and song lyrics, Blackbird Singing. The poetry book becomes an instant best-seller in Britain, where the first edition sells out in less than a month. At the publisher's request, Paul gives his first public reading of his poetry, at Liverpool's Everyman Theatre. Prior to the performance at the 400-seat theatre - where Paul appears with three established British poets, Willy Russell, Adrian Mitchell and Tom Pickard - Paul conducts a book-signing at W.H. Smith, Liverpool, causing a near-riot.
As Blackbird Singing is published in the USA, Paul conducts another poetry-reading at the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York.
To accompany the worldwide screening in May of the Wingspan documentary, EMI/Capitol release a 40-song album of the same title. The double-CD, essentially the soundtrack of the Wings years, is an instant hit - debuting at No.5 in the UK and at No.2 in the USA Billboard chart. In the USA, the Wingspan album sells 221,000 in its first week, Paul's fastest-selling album since The Beatles. By August, USA sales of Wingspan top 2,000,000.
Paul hosts a tea party at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, to mark the launch of a range of scarves the designs of which were inspired by photographic images taken at Kew by Linda in 1998.
Paul and his girlfriend Heather Mills spearhead an anti-landmine drive in London with the launch of a new British charity, Adopt A Minefield UK. The launch includes the first screening of a documentary filmed by Heather in and around the minefields of Croatia in April. Paul, who narrated the film, tells the media: "Landmines take or wreck three lives an hour, every hour of every day of every year. We have to come together now to stop that".
Following the third public reading of his poetry at The Hay Literary Festival, Wales, at the request of his USA publishers Paul hosts his first USA in-store signing session, at Barnes & Noble on New York's 5th Avenue. The resulting crowds shut down the traffic on 5th Avenue.
In promoting the UK's National Vegetarian Week in June, Paul drops his biggest hint yet that he is preparing to perform live once more. "The benefit of a vegetarian diet", he says, "is that it gives you more energy - that's certainly the case with me, seeing as I'm now looking at going out on tour again at an age when most people are thinking of retiring".
On July 26th, 2001 the London-based Press Association causes a worldwide media scramble as it receives a brief Press Release. It reads: "Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are pleased to announce their engagement. The couple are looking forward to being married some time next year".
Paul and Heather attend the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Tuesday, a new 13-minute animated film produced by Paul and directed by Geoff Dunbar, director of Rupert And The Frog Song.
September 11th, 2001; terrorist attacks on America shock and appal the world. On an airliner preparing to take off from New York's JFK airport, Paul and Heather witness the attacks on The Twin Towers. Forced by the emergency to stay in New York for a week, Paul writes Freedom, an anthem in defence of democracy, as his reaction to the attacks.
Planning to help raise money for the families of the victims of the September 11th attacks, Paul holds private talks with Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein and VH1's John Sykes to organise a huge all-star concert at New York's Madison Square Garden. The show, scheduled for October 20th, will also honour New York's firefighters, police and emergency service workers. As the concert is announced to the Press, the cream of British rock stars enlist to perform.
October 4th, 2001; at the request of the British poetry movement, Paul helps mark National Poetry Day by joining a dozen poets for readings at The Queen's Theatre in London's West End. Besides reading a selection from Blackbird Singing, Paul reads a new poem Pretty Little Girl Next Door.
Paul announces that the proceeds from From A Lover To A Friend, the first single from his forthcoming album Driving Rain, will be donated to New York's police and fire departments.
October 20th, 2001; the Madison Square Garden benefit night - now dubbed by media as Paul McCartney's Concert For New York - is performed to an audience of some 18,000 at the Garden and to tens of millions on TV around the world. Some 6,000 tickets are given free to firefighters, police, emergency service workers and their families. The hall of fame line-up includes: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Elton John, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, The Who, James Taylor, Buddy Guy, John Mellencamp, Kid Rock, Bon Jovi, Jay Z, Destiny's Child, The Backstreet Boys and Macy Gray. In addition to the top grade musicians, A-list celebrities join the night - including: Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan, Harrison Ford, Susan Sarandon, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Cusack, Michael J. Fox, Halle Berry, Christy Turlington, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Howard Stern, along with President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Paul closes the six-hour show with I'm Down, Lonely Road, From A Lover To A Friend, Yesterday and Freedom - followed by an all-stars-on-stage performance of Let It Be. The benefit night ends with another all-star performance, of Freedom - for which police and firefighters climb out of the audience to join Paul and his all-star choir on stage for a final and moving encore. The Concert For New York becomes VH1's most-watched programme in the music TV station's history and raises tens of millions of dollars for families of the victims of the September 11th attacks.
Due to demand for Freedom from radio stations across the USA, Capitol Records adds the track to Paul's upcoming album Driving Rain. Paul then decides that due to the nature of the Freedom anthem, it too will be released as a charity single to benefit the New York police and firefighters, and then confounds convention by releasing the Freedom single just one week after the release of the initial benefit song From A Lover To A Friend.
Paul accepts the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev to receive the 2001 Arts Award at the Men Against Violence world awards in Vienna.
Paul and Heather attend the first public performance of Ecce Cor Meum, a new oratorio composed by Paul for Oxford university's Magdalen College Choir. The performance is held at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.
Driving Rain, Paul McCartney's 36th album since The Beatles, is released to worldwide critical acclaim. This first album of new songs in four years was produced by David Kahne and recorded and mixed in Los Angeles in a total of just five weeks.
At the invitation of the University Of East Anglia, Paul performs a poetry reading at the university's arts festival, reading from Blackbird Singing in return for a 'fee' of a case of wine.
On the night of November 29th in Los Angeles, George Harrison dies after a long and brave battle against cancer. Leading a world in mourning, Paul says: "We are all devastated by this news; it's deeply sad to lose such a beautiful guy. Luckily, Heather and I saw him a couple of weeks ago and true to form he was laughing and joking. George was a very brave man with a heart of gold. I'll always remember that without George it all wouldn't have been possible. I'll miss him dearly and I'll always love him - he's my baby brother'.
On the day the news breaks of George Harrison's death, Paul is scheduled to perform at the BBC's Top Of The Pops Awards to receive the first TOTP Hall Of Fame award. Mourning George, Paul withdraws from the show and issues a statement: "It was a great honour to receive this award but because of the sad news I can't be there tonight to accept it. I would like to dedicate this award with love to my brother George, without whom it all would not have been possible".
Paul plays for peace when he performs at a concert in Oslo to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize. The 2001 Peace Prize is awarded jointly to The United Nations and its Secretary-General Kofi Anna. Paul is joined on the show by artists including Wyclef Jean, Anastacia, Natalie Imbruglia, Destiny's Child and Youssou N'Dour - with whom he performs the concert's closing song Let It Be.
January 2002; in recognition of his lifetime support for the freedom-fighting organisation, Amnesty International presents Paul with a special award at a ceremony in New York. The award recognises Paul's efforts to try right wrongs through his protest songs, from the black civil rights song 'Blackbird' in the Sixties through to Freedom four decades on.
February 3rd; at the Super Bowl in New Orleans Paul leads a post 9/11 tribute to the spirit on America's everyday heroes by performing Freedom. The telecast is screened to 140 million people in America and to around 800 million worldwide.
At the Super Bowl, Paul reveals that he plans to tour the USA in the Spring, for his first concert tour in almost 10 years.
Vanilla Sky, the song written by Paul for Cameron Crowe's film, is nominated both for a Golden Globe award and for an Oscar in the best song in a movie category. "It is a great honour for a songwriter", says Paul, "to be considered for by the Academy for an award such as this".
March 2002; America stampedes for tickets to see Paul on Driving USA, his first tour of the US since 1993. The April/May tour totals 27 shows in 19 cities. Tickets sell out at a manic rate all over the States - all seats for two shows in Chicago selling at the rate of 15 per second.
Paul McCartney becomes the world's first musician to design a set of postage stamps. Following a request from the Isle Of Man Post Office, Paul designs an edition of six stamps on a floral theme. The stamp bureau prints 170,000 of the McCartney edition, following royal approval for their issue by HM The Queen. Part of the proceeds from the stamps is donated to Adopt A Minefield UK, the anti-landmine charity fronted by Paul and Heather Mills.
Late March; typically, Paul flies to Los Angeles to rehearse for just nine days for his first tour in nine years with a band that has never played together as a fivesome before - Paul on bass, guitar and piano; Rusty Anderson and newcomer Brian Ray on guitars; Abe Laboriel Jr. on drums and Paul 'Wix' Wickens on keyboards. After this somewhat cursory preparation - under-rehearsed because, says Paul, "I want to keep the feel of the show fresh" - the Driving USA tour opens on April 1st in Oakland, California.
April 2nd, 2002; Paul McCartney wakes to some of the most glowing reviews of his entire career as America's critics rave over the two and a half hour show. The set list totals 36 songs; including 21 Beatles songs and 10 Wings hits. The show includes an "unplugged and stripped" section where Paul, for the first time in his life, performs several songs alone on stage without the backing of the band. Emotions run high on both the stage and in the crowds as the set includes tributes to John (Here Today), George (Something) and Linda (Maybe I'm Amazed, C Moon and My Love).
The full set list for Driving USA is: Hello Goodbye, Jet, All My Loving, Getting Better, Coming Up, Let Me Roll It, Lonely Road, Driving Rain, Your Loving Flame, Blackbird, Everynight, We Can Work It Out, Mother Nature's Son, Vanilla Sky, Carry That Weight, Fool On The Hill, Here Today, Something, Eleanor Rigby, Here There And Everywhere, Band On The Run, Back In The USSR, Maybe I'm Amazed, C Moon, My Love, Can't Buy Me Love, Freedom, Live And Let Die, Let It Be, Hey Jude, The Long And Winding Road, Lady Madonna, I Saw Her Standing There, Yesterday, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The End. During the tour's one night in Toronto, Mull Of Kintyre is added, complete with full pipe band, for the benefit of the ex-pats in the audience.
When the tour reaches Washington, Paul donates $25,000 of tickets in sympathy and support to families of the victimes of the September 11th attack on the Pentagon.
As the tour progresses through its 11,631-mile trek to its May 18th climax in Fort Lauderdale, the reviews and crowds' reaction get even hotter. "The audience is getting so loud they remind me of Beatles crowds, you can feel that energy off of them that you got off Beatles crowds", Paul notes. Sensing the enthusiasm for the show, the US media goes into overdrive to report on it - with TV monitoring services registering more than 1,800 USA news bulletins about the tour during its seven-week length.
As the Driving USA tour ends in Florida and Billboard reports it to be the most successful tour of the year to date - with a gross of more than $40 million - Paul is asked by the UK music magazine Q to reflect on what it meant to him. He says: "All in all it has been a fantastic tour; for the music, for the band, the crowds, the crew, the camaraderie and just for the sheer fucking fun of it all".
Five days after the end of Driving USA, Paul is back in Liverpool for the honour of the opening of an exhibition of his paintings at the Walker Art Gallery, the same gallery where, as teenagers, he and John Lennon would wander around after skipping school.
June 3rd 2002, Buckingham Palace; Paul and his Driving USA band headline a concert in the grounds of HM The Queen's London home to mark the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of her reign. The concert includes performances from Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne, Ray Davies, Joe Cocker, The Corrs, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, Steve Winwood and Brian Wilson. Paul performs Her Majesty (from Abbey Road), Blackbird and Sgt. Pepper/The End and, with Eric Clapton, While My Guitar Gently Weeps as a tribute to George Harrison. The show climaxes with Paul leading the ensemble in a performance of All You Need Is Love, followed by another all-star-choir version of Hey Jude. Characteristically ducking protocol and the scheduled ending, Paul throws in an unplanned encore - I Saw Her Standing There.
June 11th; three years after they met Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are married in the Church of St. Salvator on the estate of Castle Leslie, Glaslough, County Monoghan. The Irish wedding marks a return to Paul's maternal roots - his mother, Mary Patricia Mohin, lived nearby in Castleblaney before moving to Liverpool aged 11.
July; on returning from honeymoon Paul and Heather are back in Liverpool to again meet with HM The Queen as she and the Duke Of Edinburgh visit Paul's Paintings exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, following the 52,000 other visitors who have toured the exhibition since it opened in May.
Eager to return to the road, Paul announces Back In The U.S. - another tour of America to total 23 concerts in September/October. Surprisingly, tickets for the second U.S.A leg sell out even faster than they did in the Spring - with all seats for the Los Angeles show selling out at the rate of 27 per second. The Back In The U.S. tour will take Paul's lifetime total of concerts to around 1,665.
Following a warm-up gig where he and the band perform as the surprise act at a California birthday party for the wife of a successful financier - who offered $1 million for Adopt A Minefield as the gig fee - Paul takes to the road again, launching the third and European leg of the now-world tour, titled Back In The World. Starting on March 25th, 2003 in Paris and ending on June 1st in Liverpool, he performs 33 shows in 13 countries. The concerts include an intimate charity night inside The Coliseum in Rome and a free show for a crowd of 500,000 outside The Coliseum the following night. The tour also marks Paul's first-ever show in Hungary and, historically, his first gig in Russia when he performs to 90,000 in Red Square, Moscow. By the end of the whole world tour, more than two million people have seen the show - the biggest audience of his any tour.
On October 28th, 2003 in London, Paul and Heather's daughter Beatrice Lilly is born.
In 2004 Paul returns to the studio to start recording a new album.
Miramax announce the release of the McCartney Animated Collection, the first DVD release of three animated films made by Paul and director Geoff Dunbar over the past 20 years. The short films - Tropic Island Hum, Tuesday and Rupert And The Frog Song - are released in the USA in April and in the UK/Rest of the World in June. Miramax hails the animations as "breath-taking, in the great tradition of Disney". Paul announces plans to create a full-length animation feature film and reveals that he is working on a children's picture book, High In The Sky, based on the Tropic Island Hum story for release in 2005.
Paul announces his 2004 Summer tour, a 14-city trek that of stadium concerts in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia and France. The tour, on which he will perform to 700,000 people, will climax with Paul's first appearance at the Glastonbury Festival on June 26th.
During the tour - at his St. Petersburg Palace Square concert - Paul marks the 3,000th performance of his career.
Early 2005 Paul is up for a Grammy Award in the category of "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for his rendition of George's "Something" that he performed live in 2002 at The Concert for George at Royal Albert Hall with Eric Clapton.
In September 2005 Paul McCartney releases his new studio album "Chaos And Creation In The Backyard". The album is a return to the basics for McCartney. The release successfully fuses his undeniable song writing talents with his unparalleled musicianship. In fact, McCartney is credited with playing the majority of the instruments on the album, which is somewhat reminiscent of McCartney (1970) when he was credited with playing all of the instruments. They include the drums, guitar, bass, keyboards, as well as many of the less traditional instruments such as block flute, harmonium and flugelhorn.
A sold out US tour of North America, which kicks off on September 16th, 2005 in Miami, follows the release of Chaos And Creation In The Backyard".