It’s hard to think that Paul MCCARTNEY find a better way to celebrate your 80th birthday than singing “Glory Days” on stage with Bruce Springsteen accompanied by 60,000 guests.
That’s right, the “cute Beatle” turns 80 today, Saturday. It’s one of those cultural milestones that makes people sigh and say “has it been SO long?”, as well as appreciate what he still has to offer.
It’s been more than half a century since the Beatles broke up and time has made true that joke of the young people of the 70s who said: “Was Paul McCartney in a band before Wings?”.
Like other members of the “hope to die before I get old” generation, including bob dylanthe Rolling Stones and the Beatles Ringo Starr, McCartney continues to work, continues to share his music from the stage. Another 1960s icon, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, is scheduled to play at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City for his 80th birthday on Monday.
“He has a youthful exuberance that is ageless,” Beatles biographer Bob Spitz said of McCartney. “There’s still something about that 21-year-old that shines through in all of his performances.”
It would be cliché, and wrong, to suggest that time has passed without a trace. The fragility of her voice was evident when she sang “Blackbird” Thursday at MetLife Stadium, on the last night of a brief US tour. She struggled to hit the high notes on “Here Today,” her love letter to John Lennonwhose life was taken too soon.
But with the skill of a sympathetic band and the imagination and voices of the audience, the sticky points are overcome.
“Yeah, yeah, right, I have a birthday coming up,” McCartney said, reading signs from the crowd reminding him. “I’m not trying to ignore it, but…”
The audience spontaneously sang “Happy Birthday” even before a famous New Jersey resident, Jon Bon Joviwill carry balloons during the second round of the concert to sing the song once again.
Another guy from New Jersey, Springsteen, joined McCartney for a duet of “Glory Days” and a version of “I Wanna Be Your Man.” He later reappeared for a guitar duel on “Abbey Road.”
For most artists, the presence of local royalty might be a tough time to get over. Few can sing “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” right after.
To celebrate the musician’s birthday, the magazine Stereogum asked 80 artists to choose their favorite McCartney song, and those chosen were quite varied, from the 1958 pre-Beatles song “In Spite of All the Danger” (which McCartney performed at MetLife) to his 2016 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye. West “FourFiveSeconds”.
David Crosby and Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys they chose “Eleanor Rigby”. The great Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips “Magical Mystery Tour”. Steve Earl selected “Every Night”, while Joe Elliott Def Leppard went against the grain with the sweet “Little Lamb Dragonfly”. Mac DeMarco requested the “Ram” epic, “The Back Seat of My Car”.
Many complained about the unfairness of having to choose only one.
Stereogum’s article illustrates the varied perspectives of musicians from different generations to a living catalogue. For example, it revealed that a largely ignored album like 1980’s “McCartney II” had far more of an impact on emerging artists than would have been anticipated from its reception at the time.
On Friday, the McCartney team announced that it would include “McCartney II” with “McCartney” from 1970 and “McCartney III” from 2020 in a package that will go on sale in August.
How vast is the catalog? McCartney performed 38 songs at MetLife, 20 of them by the Beatles, and even had the luxury of skipping an entire decade. Do you remember the 90s?
With the help of Peter Jackson, who reimagined the “Get Back” sessions for a television project from last year, McCartney was able to do a “virtual” duet with Lennon singing his part of “I’ve Got a Feeling” taken from his famous rooftop concert. He also paid tribute to George Harrison, who passed away in 2001, with a version of “Something” that began with Paul playing a ukulele George gave him before the rest of the band joined.
Spitz recalled a clip from the Beatles era in which Lennon told an interviewer that he would be surprised if they lasted more than 10 years. McCartney was standing next to him laughing. Lennon was right about the Beatles as a unit, but he was wrong about their music.
After the last fireworks went off, as he joyfully left the stage, McCartney signed off with, “See you next time.”