Paul McCartney Turns 70 – Rose to Fame in the 1960s

Former Beatle Paul McCartney celebrates a milestone birthday today, turning 70 years old. McCartney recently performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert. His next big gig will be at the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games.

Paul McCartney has been described by Guinness World Records as the “most successful composer and recording artist of all time” and “the most successful songwriter” in UK chart history. He has written or co-written 31 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. His Beatles song “Yesterday” has been covered by over 2,200 artists — more than any other song in the history of recorded music. Wings’ 1977 release “Mull of Kintyre” was one of the best-selling singles ever in the UK.

McCartney shot to fame in the 1960s with fellow Beatles John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Lennon and McCartney formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. Following the band’s break-up, McCartney began a successful solo career and formed the group Wings with his wife Linda Eastman and singer-songwriter Denny Laine. Linda, McCartney’s wife for almost 30 years, died from cancer in 1998.

The first album on which The Beatles played, My Bonnie, credited to “Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers,” was released by Polydor in the UK in January 1962. The core Beatles discography recorded during the 1960s consists of 217 songs and approximately ten hours of music. Listen to The Beatles Radio free on Jango and take a trip back to the 1960s!

Fun Facts About the 1960s

Youth dominated the culture of the 1960s. The post World War II Baby Boom had created 70 million teenagers for the sixties, and these youth swayed the fashion, the fads, and the politics of the decade. If it was your generation you were either hip, jock, rock, or nerd. California surfers took to skateboards as a way to stay fit out of season, and by 1963, the fad had spread across the country. Barbie dolls, introduced by Mattel in 1959, became a huge success in the sixties, so much so that rival toy manufacturer Hasbro came up with G.I. Joe, 12 inches tall and the first action figure for boys. Another doll, the Troll was a good luck symbol for all ages. Slot cars overtook toy trains in popularity. People were buzzing about color TV, Foster Grants, Duncan yo-yo’s, new math, Dolby noise reduction, macrame, K-Mart, the Twist, the Chicago 8, draft dodgers, Teflon, and St. Louis’s Gateway arch, the world’s tallest monument. At the end of the 1960s, gas was 39¢ a gallon, and a 1962 Jaguar XKE would set you back $4,500.

Costumes/Fashion of the 1960s

The 1960s began with crew cuts on men and bouffant hairstyles on women. Men’s casual shirts were often plaid and buttoned down the front, while knee-length dresses were required wear for women in most public places. By mid-decade, miniskirts or hot pants, often worn with go-go boots, were popular, and women’s hair was either very short or long and lanky. Men’s hair became longer and wider, with beards and moustaches. Men’s wear had a renaissance. Bright colors, double-breasted sports jackets, polyester pants suits, collarless Nehru jackets, and turtlenecks were in vogue. By the end of the decade, ties were up to 5″ wide, patterned even when worn with stripes. Women wore peasant skirts or granny dresses and chunky shoes. Unisex dressing was popular with bellbottoms, hiphuggers, love beads, and embellished t-shirts. Clothing was as likely to be purchased at surplus stores as boutiques. Blacks of both genders wore their hair in an afro.

Statistics from the 1960s

  • Population 177,830,000
  • Unemployment 3,852,000
  • National Debt 286.3 Billion
  • Average Salary $4,743
  • Teacher’s Salary $5,174
  • Minimum Wage $1.00
  • Life Expectancy:  Males 66.6 years, Females 73.1 years
  • Auto deaths 21.3 per 100,000
  • An estimated 850,000 “war baby” freshmen enter college; emergency living quarters are set up in dorm lounges, hotels and trailer camps.


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