June 19, 2012

#ThisIsMusic: Paul McCartney

Back in February, a lot of teens on Twitter caused an online uproar during the GRAMMY Awards Telecast when they caused "Who is Paul McCartney?" to trend. Like most music fans, we, and many of our readers, were rather appalled. We decided to do something about and started #ThisIsMusic, a community-based, and named, project to identify and share information about the most influential musicians. The project started via Twitter chats and collective contributions to a Google Doc with plans to begin weekly posts focusing on each musician. So, what better way to begin those posts than by featuring the man who inadvertently inspired them and on the week of his 70th birthday? So, here's to Paul McCartney with our first post in this new series. 

Creative Commons Image courtesy of Oil Gill on Wikipedia
Sir James Paul McCartney (yes, he has been knighted) better known as Paul McCartney

Born and raised in Liverpool, UK. Though, his music has been influential and successful in nearly all corners of the world

Essentially 1963 - present

There is so much to say about the contributions of Paul McCartney that countless books have been written on the subject, but for our purposes we will stick with the absolute basics that you need to know to understand his place in music history. McCartney started his music career by joining John Lennon's local skiffle, a pre-cursor to rock, band as a young teen in Liverpool. After a name change to The Beatles, time spent in Hamburg honing their craft, and a few changes to their lineup, the band released their first commercial single, "Love Me Do." The band had already built a fan base through several popular singles in the US before setting foot in the States and it was clear when they finally did arrive that this was a type of fan-driven hysteria unlike anything that had come before. The term "Beatlemania" was used to describe the way fans would swoon, scream relentlessly, and even faint upon catching a glimpse of the band. The Beatles are responsible for some of the most famous and respected songs, most of which were written by McCartney either alone or in partnership with John Lennon, and albums of all time despite the fact that their career as a band was actually relatively short.

After The Beatles, McCartney released a few albums, including the hit"Maybe I'm Amazed" and eventually formed the group Wings, best known for songs like "Live and Let Die" and "Band on the Run," and "Silly Love Songs." After the dissolution of Wings, McCartney continued his career as a solo artist. He released many more hit singles and records and collaborated with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Elvis Costello. In recent years, his work has diversified to include orchestral music and film scores. 

Why You Need To Know: 
McCartney is, simply put, one of the most celebrated songwriters and performers of all time both as a solo artist and as a member of what was arguably the single most influential band in the world. It is impossible to do justice to how important he has been because his influence can be heard in nearly every modern song, in the soundtracks for movies, TV shows, and commercials, and can be seen in the way fans today respond to the bands they love ( One Direction was not the first male band to make girls go crazy, and they likely won't be the last). Not only were The Beatles, Wings, and McCartney himself impactful in the past, but their music has continued to survive and play an important role today. He has sold millions of albums and singles and holds several world records including Most No. 1 Singles on the US Chart and Best Selling Group.

Obviously, a post this short will never do justice to the contributions Paul McCartney has made to music, so what do you think is the most important fact that is missing? Share your thoughts! 
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