If there's one modern musician who likely needs no introduction, it’s Paul McCartney; however, younger readers may not know as much about him as expected, so here goes. As the bassist and co-singer/songwriter of English quartet The Beatles, McCartney lent his vocals, musicianship, and writing skills to some of the most influential, diverse, and beloved songs in the history of popular music. Likewise, post-Beatles solo career (which just reached the forty-five year mark) has resulted in some of his most multifaceted and revered work to date.
Of course, he’s also astoundingly active (especially considering his age) and endeared when it comes to performing live, so it’s not surprising to learn that he’s currently setting out on another international tour. Next Sunday, he’ll be at Philadelphia’s most grandiose venue, the Wells Fargo Center, with his usual backing backing band: Rusty Anderson (guitar/backing vocals), Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums, backing vocals), Brian Ray (guitar, backing vocals), and Paul “Wix” Wickens (keyboards, backing vocals). Despite its hefty cost, the show will be an invaluable experience for anyone who grew up with his music or simply loves impeccable songwriting and relentless energy.
Born in Liverpool in 1942, McCartney grew up in a musical family: his father, James, was a trumpet player and pianist, which naturally led to McCartney taking up an instrument too. In 1957, he met John Lennon at the St. Peter’s Church Hall and joined his band, the Quarrymen, as a rhythm guitarist; by 1960, the band evolved into a quintet that included George Harrison as lead guitarist, Stuart Sutcliffe on bass, and Pete Best on drums. Of course, the name also changed to The Beatles by then. Within the next couple years, the final line-up would solidify, with McCartney replacing Sutcliffe on bass and Richard Starky (as Ringo Starr, obviously) replacing Pete Best.
Between 1963 and 1969, the quartet would change the face of popular music forever, not to mention the way albums were recorded, produced, and promoted. Most Beatles historians agree that Lennon was the leader of the group until around 1966 (with Revolver); nonetheless, McCartney wrote some of the group’s best material up to that point, including “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Things We Said Today,” “I’ll Follow the Sun,” “I’m Looking Through You” and of course, “Yesterday” (which is still the most covered song of all time). Likewise, the latter half of the Beatles career found McCartney contributing even more gems, including “Eleanor Rigby,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Penny Lane,” “Blackbird” and “Let it Be.” Without a doubt, his time in the Beatles showcased a singer/songwriter/musician whose talent and variety was probably unmatched by any peer (including his bandmates).
Considering how beloved his Beatles songs are, there’s no doubt that he’ll devote much of the set to them. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and ticket prices vary greatly (from about $30 to $250), so be sure you grab yours ASAP.