Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born June 18, 1942) is a British singer, musician and songwriter, who first came to prominence as a member of The Beatles.
Recognized as a top musical icon of the twentieth century, McCartney is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful composer in popular music history. He has a record twenty-nine US number one singles, twenty of them from The Beatles, the rest taken from Wings and his output as a solo artist. Combining his solo work and that produced with The Beatles, McCartney has written or co-written over 50 top ten hits, more than any other songwriter. McCartney has been an influential bassist as well as an accomplished singer, guitarist, pianist, and drummer.
McCartney and John Lennon were the main songwriters in The Beatles, and many of McCartney’s compositions of this period, including "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby," "Yesterday," and "Let It Be," are frequently ranked among the best songs in popular music history. Another Beatles song written by McCartney was "Helter Skelter," regarded by some as the first heavy metal song.
McCartney’s post-Beatles career has also been successful. As a solo artist and with his 1970s-era band Paul McCartney & Wings, McCartney has scored 30 top ten singles in the United Kingdom and United States, including such songs as "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Live and Let Die," "Band on the Run," "Silly Love Songs," "Pipes of Peace" and a duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory."
In the British press especially, McCartney sometimes faces the perception that he is outdated. Still, he has maintained significant popular appeal and chart presence during the last 35 years and has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.
Aside from his musical work, McCartney is a painter (although until recently he kept his artwork private) and a strong advocate for animal rights, land mine action & vegetarianism.