The 2014 U.S. leg of Paul McCartney’s “Out There Tour” begins June 14 in Lubbock, Texas, which just so happens to be the hometown of Buddy Holly. McCartney’s string of dates ends Aug. 7 in Salt Lake City. His itinerary includes several cities Sir Paul has never performed in before including Lubbock, Louisville, Albany, Fargo, and Lincoln.
Macca has been in the music business for over 50 years and has accomplished just about everything one guy can do with a song. Below, we look at the biggest McCartney moments from each decade. Musicology-101 begins with the 1970s and ends with the 2010s. We skipped the 1960s since we all know what he did during that decade.
In the 1970s, McCartney was responsible for seven Platinum albums, four number one albums, and six number one singles. He formed the successful band Wings, launched one massive tour after another, and released "Mull of Kintyre,” the first single to sell more than two million copies in the U.K. Out of all that, we picked “Live and Let Die” as the quintessential McCartney moment of the 1970s. We picked it not so much because the single peaked at number two or because it was nominated for an Academy Award. We picked “Live and Let Die” because it’s the epitome of a James Bond song. Leave it to the greatest songwriter of all-time to write the greatest Bond theme ever.
Music tastes changed in 1980s. This made it a tough decade for many classic rockers. They needed a few years to reinvent themselves in the Brave New World of synthesizers, drum machines, and rap, but not Paul McCartney. He began the decade by releasing the classic album, McCartney II. Later in the decade, McCartney played Live Aid, recorded "Ebony and Ivory" with Stevie Wonder, and launched his first world tour in over a decade. What’s often lost about McCartney’s musical contributions in the 1980s is his appearance on a little album called Thriller. McCartney and Michael Jackson recorded “The Girl is Mine” in April of 1982. It was released as the album’s first single the following October. Singing on “The Girl is Mine” means McCartney played a part in two of the greatest albums ever made, Thriller and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
In the 1990s, McCartney launched forays into classical and electronic music. This decade was also wrought with tragedy. In April of 1998, Linda McCartney succumbed to cancer. After spending a year mourning her passing, Paul returned to the studio to record Run Devil Run. Released in October of 1999, the 15-track opus only contained three original McCartney compositions. The rest were covers of obscure songs from the 1950s—back when Paul was a teenager. The critics loved Run Devil Run and McCartney showed the world that while he had mastered the technical side of his craft, he could still make music with energy and vibrancy.
Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001? Paul McCartney was on the Tarmac at JFK Airport. His close proximity to the attacks of 9/11 inspired him to organize the “Concert for New York City.” The event took place on Oct. 20, 2001 and featured performances by David Bowie, Billy Joel, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bon Jovi, Elton John, and several others. McCartney closed out the concert by singing “Freedom,” a song he wrote in response to the attacks. Yet, it was The Who who stole the night. Their performance of “Baba O’Riley” brought down the house.
Despite turning 70 in 2012, Paul McCartney has managed to stay relevant and vital in the 2010s. In 2013, he performed at three memorable events. In June, he closed Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubliee Concert. Then in December, he performed with the three surviving members of Nirvana to wrap the “12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief.” It’s the middle of the three shows, however, that makes our list. On July 27, McCartney was the final act of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It was seen by more than 900 million people. For his time and effort, McCartney was paid £1. Although, the concert for Sandy Relief was seen by two billion people, we went with his Summer Games performance because… well… the Olympics are the Olympics.