Paul McCartney Is Not His Actual Name And Other Unknown Facts About “Paul”

Paul McCartney Is Not His Actual Name And Other Unknown Facts About “Paul” | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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Beyond his prominent role as a member of The Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney’s persona reveals intriguing aspects that even fervent fans might not be aware of.

As a living legend, Paul McCartney boasts an illustrious history. Across a rich and multifaceted lifespan, this former Beatle has amassed a solo discography with over 100 million singles sold, garnered 60 gold-certified albums, and earned an impressive 18 Grammy Awards.

The magnetic Beatle, iconic singer-songwriter, and musical luminary hide something beneath all the glare of the spotlight and the allure of fame: a life punctuated by captivating tales, from unconventional name selection to unforeseen early tribulations. 

Here are 20 fun facts that likely test the knowledge trove of even the most die-hard Beatle fan.

His first name isn’t Paul

It might come as a surprise to Beatles enthusiasts that McCartney’s middle name is what he’s known by, rather than his first name. He was christened James after his father, but to avoid confusion, his family opted to address him as Paul, a choice that ultimately became his moniker. Strangely enough, “James McCartney” doesn’t really have that charm a “Paul McCartney” has.

He failed his first two auditions

Sir Paul may stand tall as one of the world’s most revered singers, but there was a period when he struggled to impress as a singer. During his boyhood, he faced rejection not just once, but twice, when attempting to join choirs. Remarkably, fate eventually guided him toward becoming a choir member, regardless of his initial intentions.

The lyric “Mother Mary” wasn’t a religious reference

Contrary to common belief, the allusion to “Mother Mary” in the lyrics of the classic Beatle hit “Let It Be” doesn’t pertain to the Virgin Mary nor Mary Magdalene; rather, it refers to Paul McCartney’s own mother, whose name was Mary. 

A decade following his mother’s passing, it was said that McCartney experienced a dream in which his mother appeared and bestowed him guidance. This dream played a pivotal role in igniting the creative spark behind one of the most enduring and poignant pop songs in history.

Paul’s first instrument was a trumpet

While McCartney’s mastery of the guitar and bass takes the spotlight, his initiation into the world of music started with an entirely distinct instrument—the trumpet. The said brass instrument was thoughtfully presented as a birthday gift by his father, who himself was an adept trumpet player in a jazz band. 

Yet, McCartney’s fondness of rock and roll and singing presented the constraints inherent to the trumpet, prompting the young musician to trade his birthday present for a Framus Zenith acoustic guitar,

His voice cracked on his debut gig

On October 18, 1957, Paul stepped into the spotlight for his first gig, sharing the stage with the Quarrymen, the group that would later evolve into the Beatles. However, this performance didn’t hold grand significance. 

In fact, it proved rather unremarkable, with the standout feature being McCartney’s initial solo attempt marred by his voice cracking. Alongside McCartney, fellow Quarryman John Lennon couldn’t help but find amusement in the situation, and his laughter underscored the lightheartedness of the moment.

Their family piano comes from a fortuitous source

The upright piano that graced the McCartney household had an intriguing origin—it was acquired from a music store owned by Brian Epstein’s parents. As fate would have it, Epstein would go on to assume the role of The Beatles’ manager and earn the moniker “Fifth Beatle.” The alignment of these events is nothing short of a remarkable coincidence.

Paul was deported from Germany for burning a condom

During the early 1960s, as the Beatles were honing their skills in Hamburg, Germany, a peculiar incident involving McCartney and the band’s original drummer, Pete Best, resulted in their deportation. In a rather bizarre turn of events, McCartney and Best, while trying to move their belongings during one dark evening, resorted to lighting a condom on fire to get some light. 

While this action merely left minor burn marks on the exterior wall, the owner reported to the authorities and accused the duo of setting fire to the residence ablaze. 

Despite the absence of any significant fire hazard, their expulsion from the country was swift. Fortunately, following the payment of nominal deportation fines, they were able to return the next spring.

Paul loves the Everly Brothers

Across his body of work, McCartney has consistently paid homage to Don and Phil Everly, the fraternal pair responsible for one of pop music’s most revered harmony duos. In the Beatles’ 1969 composition “Two of Us,” he and John adeptly emulated the intimate vocal interplay characteristic of the Everlys, even incorporating a direct reference in the line, “Take it, Phil.” 

Similarly, in Wings’ 1976 track “Let ‘Em In,” McCartney acknowledged both brothers by including the verse, “Sister Suzie, brother John / Martin Luther, Phil and Don.” Following Phil Everly’s passing in 2014, McCartney commemorated the duo’s profound impact on the Beatles, articulating on his Facebook page: “They were one of the major influences on the Beatles. When John and I first started to write songs, I was Phil and he was Don.”

“Yesterday” started out as a “scrambled eggs” song

The tune for “Yesterday” materialized within McCartney’s mind well before the lyrics took shape. The melody stimulated him to such an extent that he penned nonsensical verses as temporary placeholders in order to not forget it. 

The classic line first started as “Scrambled eggs / Oh my baby, how I love your legs / Not as much as I love scrambled eggs.” Subsequently, the word “yesterday” emerged as McCartney’s choice due to its capacity to rhyme effortlessly with numerous words, encompassing “say,” “stay,” and “today.” 

Now try singing the song with “scrambled eggs”.

Paul penned more chart-toppers than Lennon

Speaking of classic hits, Paul was said to have written more no. 1 hits than the other genius songwriting Beatle. This statement is accurate only within the context of chart performance in the United States, though. Undeniably, the partnership of McCartney and Lennon resulted in an unmatched songwriting synergy, yet their individual talents also yielded a wealth of chart-topping accomplishments.

In the United States, McCartney has secured a remarkable 32 number-one hits, exceeding Lennon’s count of 26. However, the landscape shifts in the UK, where Lennon claims the forefront with 29 number-one hits, and McCartney trails closely with 28.

He did not invite the other Beatles to his wedding

In 1969, when Paul tied the knot with Linda Eastman, none of his fellow bandmates received an invitation to the wedding. Despite the intimacy of the ceremony, one might assume that Paul would extend an invitation to his bandmates, particularly Lennon. 

However, this event transpired prior to the official dissolution of the band, a period marked by strained relationships. Conflicts arose over matters such as new management, the role of wives, and disparities in creative vision, which cast a shadow over the Fab Four’s ties.

Paul went solo even before The Beatles broke up

Although Paul gained recognition for his solo endeavors post-Beatles, his first solo undertaking was actually in 1966 way before the band’s dissolution. Collaborating with the George Martin Orchestra, he crafted the soundtrack for the film “The Family Way.” Despite his rather minimal engagement, the venture won a prestigious Ivor Novello Award.

He spent nine days in a Tokyo jail

McCartney has openly expressed his love for cannabis, but unfortunately, his inclination led him into legal predicaments on multiple occasions. The worst one was in 1980 when customs officials uncovered nearly half a pound of marijuana in his luggage while arriving at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport for a tour with his band Wings.

Paul could’ve been hit with a smuggling charge carrying a potential jail term of seven years. Fortunately for the former Beatle, his fame deterred the charge. During his short stay in Tokyo’s Narcotics Detention Center, his fellow inmates good-humoredly engaged in sing-alongs of his songs, while supporters clamored for his release outside. 

McCartney shared in an interview afterward that he had carried such a quantity because he believed he wouldn’t find access to the substance in the country and that the “stuff was too good to flush down the toilet.” 

Paul shot a short tribute film for the Grateful Dead

In 1996, McCartney took on the role of director for a short film that integrated visuals and music of the Grateful Dead. While his motivation wasn’t directly drawn from the band itself, it stemmed from four rolls of film containing photographs captured by his wife Linda during the ’60s, portraying the Dead. 

The resulting creation, titled “Grateful Dead: A Photofilm,” presents a surreal amalgamation of manipulated images, crafted to simulate the motion of a flip-book as the band members appear to move. McCartney told the New York Times, “If Andy Warhol can film the Empire State Building for three hours, I figure I can do something with four rolls of film.”

His first choice for a band name wasn’t Wings

“Wings” is a charming and ethereal choice for a band name, but it wasn’t McCartney’s initial selection for his post-Beatles project. His original intention was to name it “Turpentine” until a perceptive Scottish fan highlighted its association with paint removal. 

The fan proposed the alternative moniker “The Dazzlers.” Fortunately, McCartney ultimately settled on “Wings” instead of any of these earlier considerations.

Paul earns half a million yearly thanks to a Christmas tune

“Wonderful Christmastime” is practically ever-present during December as it nets the Beatle so much money every time Christmas comes. As a result, the royalties generated solely from this song are projected to range from $400,000 to $600,000 annually. Considering this, it’s plausible that McCartney has amassed a minimum of $16 million from this single composition since its release.

He sued and later befriended Steve Jobs 

In 1968, McCartney and his fellow Beatles members initiated a venture named Apple Corps, an enterprise encompassing a worldwide record label and holding company. And do you know who has a company with the same name and scale? Steve Jobs with his Apple Computer empire. 

Unsurprisingly, legal confrontations arose due to the overlapping trademark claims. This issue escalated, particularly as Apple Computer ventured into the music realm with the release of the iPod. Following an array of lawsuits and negotiated resolutions, McCartney and Jobs forged a friendship. Consequently, the Beatles ultimately consented to making their catalog available on the iTunes store.

Paul had beef with Michael Jackson

Paul had another feud with a fellow music icon. During the early 1980s, McCartney engaged in collaborations with Michael Jackson, resulting in several hit songs. In the course of their creative partnership, McCartney offered Jackson some business counsel, specifically suggesting his involvement in music publishing. 

Jackson responded with a seemingly jestful remark, expressing his intention of purchasing McCartney’s music one day. This comment became real when Jackson indeed acquired 251 Beatles songs for $47 million in 1985. 

McCartney was understandably miffed over this development and has always been vocal about his discontent. The rights to his music remained beyond his reach until 2017 when he finally regained control.

He witnessed the 9/11 attacks from a plane

Amidst the events of the tragic September 11 attacks, McCartney found himself situated aboard a plane on the tarmac of JFK Airport in New York. Gazing through his window, he witnessed the billowing plumes that arose following the impact of the planes on the towers.

In the aftermath of this catastrophic incident, McCartney orchestrated a benefit concert, which, within a single night, garnered a remarkable $77 million in support of charities and first responders. The concert’s overwhelming success prompted the New York Police Department to confer upon him the honorary title of detective as an expression of their appreciation.

Paul serenaded a space crew

In 2005, McCartney achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first musician to transmit live music to outer space, a feat recognized by the Guinness World Records. As he performed in Anaheim, he simultaneously broadcast a live wake-up call to astronauts aboard the International Space Station. 

The broadcast spanned approximately 15 minutes, encompassing a dialogue between McCartney and the astronauts, along with renditions of two songs. Notably, one of the tracks performed was “Good Day Sunshine.”