LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
It's not an easy thing transitioning to life outside of the biggest band in music history, but Macca's managed to forge a fascinating (and lengthy!) solo career in his post-Fab state. We'll get into his work with Wings in the next slide, but let's touch on Paul McCartney's remarkable run as a solo artist. He continued to crank out hit singles ("Another Day" "Coming Up" "Ebony & Ivory") and platinum albums (Ram, Pipes of Peace), while also remaining a perpetually in-demand live act. Sir Paul's discography is feted for its gems and also ragged on for his weakness for saccharine songcraft. In addition to pop rock offerings, McCartney has also knocked out a variety of classical works and has also paired up with Youth to record electronic records under the banner of The Fireman.
Peter Mazel/ZUMAPRESS.com/Keystone Press
"You idiot! He was the most talented one!" - Homer Simpson lashing out at the deprogrammer that got Paul McCartney out of Wings.Beloved in some quarters and despised in others, Wings served as Paul McCartney's post-Beatles band and it was also the group that allowed the music superstar to work with his beloved wife, Linda. In their roughly decade-long run, Wings racked up a garden full of hits. Classic tracks like "Band On The Run," "Jet" and "Live and Let Die" all exist under the Wings umbrella. The group also earned a reputation as a hysteria-inducing touring act and Wings even managed to turn a colossal States-set triple album (Wings Over America) into a platinum success. Sadly, the murder of John Lennon resulted in the group packing it in. McCartney was reluctant to tour following his former bandmate's assassination and that hurdle put the band on a permanent hiatus.
Meanwhile Another Beatle Gladly Kept His Honors
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Like John Lennon, Paul McCartney received his MBE in 1965 but returned to Buckingham Palace in 1997 to receive his Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). The honor resulted in him often being called Sir Paul McCartney which is something he seems to relish. McCartney dedicated the Knighthood to his fellow Fab Four members. Afterwards "Macca" said it was a "wonderful day" and he had come a long way from a "little terrace (street) in Liverpool." A long and winding road indeed.
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
Where would Paul McCartney be if he never pursued a career in music? Maybe he'd be known for his brush or chisel instead of his tunes. As a young'un, McCartney earned regional awards for his artistic talent, but didn't end up pursuing art school. Later in life, McCartney explored his interest in painting and has even released a book showing off works from his 1999 exhibition. "I basically like to apply paint onto canvas. I just like the act of it - I make it up as I go along. I really don>t analyze them that much," admitted the musician on his artistic process.
Faber & Faber Ltd
In 2005, Paul McCartney joined the increasingly crowded world of musicians-turned-children's author. Macca paired with Geoff Dunbar (whom he previously worked with on the animated film Rupert and the Frog Song) and author Phillip Ardagh to create what The Observer describes as a "tale about the perils of unchecked global capitalism." High in the Clouds chronicles the saga of Wirral the Squirrel who is forced to come up with a plan to free enslaved animals who have been put in danger by the expansion plans of the evil Gretsch.
Paul McCartney is a rich dude. Like, Lex Luthor levels of rich. (Forbes pegs McCartney's net worth at $680 million.) In addition to his income as a stadium-filling musician, Macca is also a savvy businessman. McCartney has established himself as a major player in the world of music publishing, snapping up the rights to classic recordings and songs from hit musicals like Annie. That said, Sir Paul was infamously outbid by Michael Jackson for the rights to the ATV catalogue, a collection of tunes that includes a number of classic McCartney-penned Beatles tunes.
Husband & Family Man
KEYSTONE Canada /KEYSTONE Canada
Paul's devotion to his wife Linda is the sort of thing of pop music legend. The pair were inseparable, sharing both a life (they married in 1969) and a musical vision. Paul and Linda worked together on a variety of projects (including Wings) and were the proud parents of four children: Heather (Linda's daughter from a previous relationship that Paul adopted), Mary, Stella and James. Linda passed away from breast cancer in 1998; Paul would later marry Heather Mills and the two would also have a child (Beatrice Milly) together. After the end of Paul and Heather's marriage, Paul would eventually begin dating (followed by marriage to) Nancy Shevell.
Meat-free since the '70s, Paul McCartney reigns as one of the planet's most visible (and outspoken) vegetarians. Legend has it that Paul and Linda adopted the dietary practice after seeing lambs frolic while they dined on a roast. McCartney has also been a champion of animal rights and has supported groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and The World Society for the Protection of Animals. The megastar has even written to the Dalai Lama in a bid to get the spiritual leader to remove meat from his diet. "He wrote back very kindly, saying, my doctors tell me that I must eat meat. And I wrote back again, saying, you know, I don't think that's right. So we had a little correspondence," noted McCartney in a 2010 interview.
TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images
Paul McCartney's passion for activism hasn't been simply limited to the realm of animal rights. For example, Macca has lent his talents to a variety of charity singles that have raised funds for everything from famine to disaster relief. During his marriage to Heather Mills, McCartney became incredibly active in joining Mills in her landmine-related activism. The music superstar has even used his clout to try and appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and get the world leader to release detained Greenpeace activists.
WPA Pool/Getty Images
Knighthood is always a good gig to fall back on. Just don't expect Sir Paul McCartney to do any dragonslaying. He's more in the dragon-defending business.