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Sunday, June 18, 2017

BIRTH | June 18—On his 75th, McCartney Gets New Queen's Honor

Sir Paul McCartney, Companion of Honor
June 18, 2017—Sir Paul McCartney turns 75 today (three and a half months after me, but you knew that).

He got a nice birthday present yesterday from Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen's actual 91st birthday is on Wednesday, but her official birthday was celebrated yesterday. So that's when she bestowed her semi-annual honors.

Sir Paul was knighted by the Queen two decades ago when he was 55 and she was 71. At 75 his knighthood is being topped up with a Companion of Honor award — the centennial of which is this month, by the way — for services to music, on the same day as J.K. Rowling won the award for her services to literature and philanthropy. Sir Paul said of the new royal distinction:
I'm very happy about this huge honor and with the news coming on my birthday weekend and Father's Day it makes it colossal!
Sir Paul was born in Liverpool, England. He is a big believer in magic in reviewing his life. When he was 14, his mother died of an embolism. This led to his establishing a personal relationship with John Lennon, whose mother had also died when he was a teenager.

McCartney and Lennon are responsible for most of the most popular songs on the Beatles repertoire. McCartney is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the recipient of 21 Grammys. His Beatles song "Yesterday" is one of the most covered songs in musical history, and he has written more than 30 No. 1 songs. Other top-ten hits of his include "Hey Jude" and "Let It BeCome".

In trying to explain how he came to write songs and become part of the Beatles, Sir Paul turns to the language of alchemy, invoking both magic and chemistry:
Every time I come to write a song, there's this magic little thing where I go, "Ooh, ooh, it's happening again." I just sit down at the piano and go, "Oh my God, I don't know this one," and suddenly there's a song. ... Life is an energy field, a bunch of molecules, And these particular molecules formed to make these four guys.