Monday, June 18, 2012
Happy 70th Birthday Paul McCartney
In addition to writing the most popular song of all time ("Yesterday") and perhaps the most mind-blowing song of all time ("A Day in the Life"), Paul McCartney, who turned 70 today, also wrote the greatest birthday song of all time, "Birthday." And while there are many ways to pay tribute to this bona fide genius and all around good egg on such a momentous occasion, sometimes you just have to go with the obvious way.
It was a nonsense rocker that came about when the Fab Four took a break from recording at Abbey Road and headed over to Macca's flat down the street for a couple cups of tea and a screening of the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It, which starred Jayne Mansfield plus a host of the greatest early rock performers, including Little Richard, Fats Domino, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.
The boys were so jazzed by the energy of the performances that they rushed back to the studio and banged out "Birthday" in a take or two. Many other rock artists have tried to usurp "Birthday" from its perch atop the birthday song heap, but none have succeeded. Perhaps the best thing to do is just cover the song, that's what Paul Weller of The Jam and solo fame did as a tribute today to his and our idol.
Happy Birthday Macca! Thanks for the music and here's to 70 more.
Let's go out with the aforementioned "Yesterday," which works just as well in a band arrangement as it did with a string quartet, as this performance from 1966 demonstrates. Oh yesterday came suddenly.