Today in Music History: Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney in his studio
Paul McCartney (Mary McCartney)

History Highlight:

Sir James Paul McCartney was born today in 1942, making him 79 today. He is best-known for being a bassist and singer with The Beatles, but also for his successful solo career which is still going strong to this day as he sells out stadium shows all over the world. You can't talk about McCartney without mentioning his songwriting abilities - his song "Yesterday" alone has been covered by more than 2,200 artists, he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, and has won 18 Grammys. He received appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and, in 1997, he was knighted for services to music.

Also, Today In:

1948 - Columbia Records started the first mass production of the 33-RPM long-playing record (or "LP"). The new format could contain up to 23 minutes of music per side versus the three-minute capacity of a 78-RPM disc.

1974 - Rare Earth drummer Peter Rivera (whose real name is Peter Hoorelbeke) was arrested after a concert for throwing his drumsticks into the crowd.

1975 - Elvis Presley had a facelift at Mid South hospital in Memphis.

1976 - Abba gave a special live performance in Stockholm for Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath on the eve of their wedding.

1977 - Fleetwood Mac went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Dreams", from their eleventh studio album Rumours, and the group's first and only U.S. No. 1 single. Nicks said she wrote the song at the Record Plant studio in Sausalito, CA, in about 10 minutes. In the U.S., the song sold over a million copies.

1977 - Johnny Rotten and Paul Cook of The Sex Pistols were stabbed and beaten when they were attacked in a parking lot by thugs who apparently objected to the Pistols' anti-monarchist song, "God Save the Queen." The next day, another member of the Pistols, Paul Cook, was beaten by a gang armed with iron pipes.

1980 - The Blues Brothers film made its New York premiere.

1993 - A&M Records chairman Jerry Moss and vice-chairman Herb Alpert announced they were leaving the company they founded more than 30 years earlier. In 1990, Moss and Alpert had sold A&M to Polygram Records for $500 million. The label was home to such acts as The Police, Bryan Adams, Joan Baez, Flying Burrito Brothers, The Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Supertramp and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.

2010 - John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to The Beatles song, "A Day In The Life," sold for $1.2 million at an auction at Sotheby's in New York.

2015 - Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper and Toby Keith were among the inductees into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia was also inducted posthumously alongside the band's lyricist Robert Hunter.

2016 - Adele was named songwriter of the year at the Ivor Novello Awards, which recognizes achievement in songwriting. The singer was honored for her multi-million selling album, 25, which emerged after the artist struggled with writer's block.

2020 - English singer, songwriter and entertainer Vera Lynn died at her home in East Sussex aged 103. She was popular during the Second World War and was widely referred to as the "Forces' Sweetheart" giving outdoor concerts for the British troops overseas. The songs most associated with her are 'We'll Meet Again', and '(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover'. On their 1979 album The Wall, Pink Floyd released a song titled "Vera", referencing Vera Lynn and the song 'We'll Meet Again'.

2020 - Jamaican guitarist Hux Brown died in Oakland, California, at age 75. He was featured on many successful rocksteady and reggae records in the '60s and '70s, and was later a member of Toots and the Maytals.


Dizzy Reed, keyboardist for Guns N' Roses, is 58.

Guitarist Simon Rowbottom of the Boo Radleys is 52.

Nathan Morris of Boys II Men is 50.

Country singer Blake Shelton is 45.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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