This is a longer version of a feature which appeared in Liverpool Daily Post on 17 June 2006.
Born in Walton Hospital on 18 June 1942, James Paul McCartney is the first child of Jim and Mary McCartney. It’s wartime and 39-year-old Jim works as an inspector at an ammunition plant, while Mary (32) is a nurse. They were married in 1941 and live at 10 Sunbury Road, Anfield.
In November 1942, they move to a safer address – 92 Broadway, Wallasey – but not for long.
On 7 January 1944, Paul’s brother, Michael, is also born in Walton Hospital and the family is complete. They move to 3 Roach Avenue, a pre-fab on the Knowsley estate, just off the East Lancs Road..
The war is almost over and the family stays in Roach Avenue for most of the year..
Mary McCartney becomes a domiciliary midwife and is constantly on call. A ground floor flat at 75 Sir Thomas White Gardens in Everton comes with the job.
Moving time again – in February 1946, they’re off to 72 Western Avenue, Speke: “the first house I remember,” says Paul of his fifth address.
Right from the start, Paul loves being with his aunts and uncles. He was to write a song about his Uncle Albert (which became an American number one), whose wife Milly was sometimes known as Sister Susie. Uncle Albert worked in the accounts department at Hannays, where Jim McCartney bought and sold cotton. Paul’s cousin Ian would later be Uncle Ian to his children. Auntie Jin (really, Jane) as well as brother Mike are mentioned in Let ’Em In, a key song for knowing the McCartney family!
Paul attends Stockton Wood Primary School, Speke.
Jim works in Hannays in the Cotton Exchange but the industry in chaos and both he and Uncle Albert are on half-pay. He is embarrassed that his wife earns more than he does.
Jim encourages Paul with the daily crossword to increase his wordplay. As a result, Paul is the best speller in his class.
There’s an overflow problem at the school, and Paul moves to Joseph Williams Primary School in Gateacre.
Another move: it’s April 1950 and they go to 12 Ardwick Road, Speke, an unfinished road “so we were slopping through mud for a year.”
Paul’s favourite radio programme is Dick Barton, Special Agent.
Paul is often out riding on his Raleigh sports bicycle.
Like many families, the McCartneys buy a television to watch the Coronation on 2 June 1953. Paul wins an inter-school prize for his essay on the monarchy.
Paul does well in the 11-plus and is offered a place at a grammar school, the Liverpool Institute.
A year younger than Paul, George Harrison joins Liverpool Institute and shares Paul’s love of music.
Paul is a model scout, excelling at Bob a Job week and enjoying bird-watching.
In May 1955, the McCartneys move to their seventh and most celebrated address – 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton.
There are not many airings for the new rock’n’roll and skiffle records on the BBC but Paul is all ears.
Paul’s parents buy him a trumpet for his birthday, which he gives to his cousin Ian. Paul gets a Zenith acousic guitar, cost 8 guineas. Paul and George learn guitar chords.
On 31 October 1956, Paul’s mother dies from breast cancer, aged 47.
Paul writes his first song, I Lost My Little Girl.
On 6 July 1957, John Lennon’s Quarry Men play the Woolton Village Fete, and John and Paul meet for the first time.
On 18 October 1957, Paul makes his debut with the Quarry Men at New Clubmoor Hall, Broadway. He fumbles through Guitar Boogie Shuffle “which is one of the easiest things in the world to play.”
On 24 January 1958, Paul plays at the Cavern for the first time.
The Quarry Men make a private recording at Percy Phillips’ studio in Kensington. “In Spite Of All The Danger” is one of Paul’s songs.
Paul writes the melody for When I’m 64.
Paul wins a special prize for art at Liverpool Institute.
On 29 August 1959, the Quarry Men make the first of many appearances at the Casbah Club in West Derby.
Now renamed the Silver Beatles, the line-up is John, Paul, George and John’s art school buddy, Stu Sutcliffe. They audition for impresario Larry Parnes and as a result, accompany Liverpool pop singer, Johnny Gentle on a short Scottish tour with drummer, Tommy Moore. Moore doesn’t continue with them as he has a good job at Garston Bottle Works.
Pete Best, whose mother owns the Casbah Club, joins the Beatles for appearances in Hamburg. They appear at the Indra and the Kaiserkeller, but Paul and Pete are deported on a trumped-up charge of arson.
On 27 December 1960, the Beatles appear at Litherland Town Hall. They are billed as “Direct From Hamburg” and nobody has ever heard anything so raucous and exciting in Liverpool.
With Stu Sutcliffe remaining in Hamburg, Paul takes up the bass. The Beatles become regulars at the Cavern, making their debut on a lunchtime session on 21 February 1961.
In April 1961, the Beatles accompany Tony Sheridan for a recording session in Hamburg.
On 9 November 1961, Brian Epstein attends a lunchtime session at the Cavern and is blown away. He offers to manage the group and determines to secure them a major recording contract. Decca says no, but EMI’s Parlophone label says yes.
Pete Best is sacked on 18 August 1962 and replaced by Ringo Starr from Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.
The Beatles make the Top 20 with Love Me Do and consolidate their success with Please Please Me and From Me To You. They tour with Helen Shapiro and take a day off to make their first album, Please Please Me.
Paul celebrates his twenty-first birthday at his Auntie Jin’s house at 147 Dinas Lane, Huyton. During the party, John Lennon attacks the Cavern DJ, Bob Wooler.
On 3 August 1963, the Beatles make their 274th and final appearance at the Cavern.
On 7 December 1963, the Beatles appear at Liverpool Empire, forming the panel for BBC-TV’s Juke Box Jury and being filmed in concert. Beatlemania sweeps the UK and their album, With the Beatles, is the leading Christmas present.
The Beatles become the first UK act to conquer America, both on The Ed Sullivan Show and at Carnegie Hall.
As well as writing major hit records (She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Can’t Buy Me Love), the Lennon and McCartney team write for Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, the Fourmost and Peter and Gordon. Peter is the brother of Paul’s girlfriend, Jane Asher.
Now international stars, the Beatles are performing at Sydney Stadium on Paul’s birthday. Paul asks the audience to stop throwing jelly babies but they take no notice. He complains, “We hate being the target for sweets coming like bullets from all directions.”
On 10 July 1964, hundreds of thousands welcome the Beatles home for the northern premiere of A Hard Day’s Night. The film is a commercial and critical success. Lennon and McCartney write the whole of the companion album.
55,000 fans scream for the Beatles at Shea Stadium.
Paul buys his dad a house on the Wirral, Rembrandt, as well as a steeplechaser, Drake’s Drum.
Creatively, not the Beatles’ finest year as Beatles for Sale lacks innovation and Help! has a ridiculous plot. However, the Help! album includes Ticket To Ride and Paul’s classic ballad, Yesterday, which was recorded with a string quartet. If you don’t care for Paul’s version, there are over 2,000 more to choose from.
The Beatles are awarded MBEs for their contribution to Britain’s exports.
What better birthday present than to have your new single, Paperback Writer, at the top of the charts?
In July, Beatlemania turns sour when the Beatles unintentionally snub Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos in the Philippines, and an international incident ensues.
On 29 August 1966, The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco