When it comes to British royalty, there's a pretty compelling argument to be made that Sir Paul McCartney's crown far outweighs the nation's other royals. As a member of The Beatles, Wings and as a solo artist, Paul McCartney has spent the last half-century creating the sonic landscape of multiple generations' lives. The songs he wrote or co-wrote are staples on classic rock radio and are revered by young and old alike.
But McCartney is no dinosaur act. He continues to record albums of new material regularly, releasing the appropriately titled New in 2013. He also stays current by collaborating with the modern artists he influenced, most notably with the surviving members of Nirvana.
As a live performer, McCartney still draws massive crowds around the world on a tour schedule that would tire performers a third of his age. At 73, McCartney seems ageless and tireless. While he might not be able to pull off “The Cute One,” as he was once dubbed in The Beatles, he is still the consummate entertainer, with shows regularly clocking in at nearly three hours without an intermission.
McCartney can certainly fill those three hours with hits to spare. His vocal contributions to The Beatles alone--with titles like “Paperback Writer,” “We Can Work It Out” and “Blackbird,”--would make for an outstanding concert. Throw in Wings hits like “Silly Love Songs” and “Listen to What the Man Said” and a generous helping of current solo material like “My Valentine” and it's impossible to think that a fan can walk away from a Paul McCartney show having not heard every hit he wanted.
In addition to vocals and his iconic acoustic bass, Paul McCartney's shows also see him handling guitar and piano duties. McCartney never stops moving throughout the set. More importantly, he never stops smiling. It would be easy for an artist of Paul McCartney's status to coast on his legend and phone in a show. Nothing could be further from the truth as McCartney maintains a childlike wonder that makes him seem surprised and delighted to see 40,000 people come to see him play.
With 50 years of touring and hanging out with the likes of John Lennon, Stevie Wonder and Eric Clapton, McCartney's shows are also a musical history lesson as he frequently draws from his vast experiences to tell stories of his famous friends. To others, it would sound like name dropping. When told with Paul McCartney's affable humor, they become a welcome series of anecdotes that provide a break from the relentless parade of hits.
Sure, Paul McCartney might not be the real King of England, although he's visited Buckingham Palace many times. But to hundreds of thousands of music fans in every corner of the globe, he is the musical King of the World.
Check out Paul Mcartney's best live performances: