Fresh off a headlining, nearly three-hour set at the 2013 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul McCartney celebrated his 71st birthday on June 18.
As one of the principal songwriters in the Beatles, McCartney helped the band rack up more than four dozen Top 40 US singles, while his prolific solo output – more than 20 studio albums since the Fab Four parted ways – has netted Macca more than 50 Top 10 singles. Given that, McCartney stands among the most successful pop-music composers ever and one of the greatest hitmakers – trailing behind Elvis Presley. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has major exhibits devoted to both Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
His songs often celebrate the mundane pleasures of everyday life. As a songwriter who delights in the quotidian, as opposed to edgier rock and rollers steeped in mystique and risk-taking, McCartney has rarely been a favorite of rock critics. However, his body of work – some of it admittedly lightweight, much of it unjustly dismissed – has given boundless pleasure to the music loving public. Having been the primary melodist within the Beatles, it is not surprising that McCartney’s knack for an ear-catching pop tune remains very much in evidence.
In 1999, Neil Young inducted McCartney into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he shared memories of hearing the Beatles for the first time, and the first song he ever sang, "Money (That's What I Want)."
"He's just a great songwriter, one of the greatest songwriters perhaps ever," said Young. "I think he'll be remembered hundreds of years from now for the work that he did."
McCartney accepted the award to great applause, remembering his widow and musical partner Linda, and inviting his daughter Stella to join him on stage. "I love rock and roll because it made my life," said McCartney. "I love Cleveland because Cleveland gave me Linda's Mom, Linda's Mom was from Cleveland. And I love New York, because New York gave me Linda."
Later in the evening, McCartney was joined onstage by Bono of U2, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Bonnie Raitt, Robbie Robertson, Bruce Springsteen and more to perform "Let It Be." Watch Paul McCartney perform live at his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction in the clip below: