If I was going to list the creative titans whose work—in any artistic field—has entertained, uplifted and inspired me, Paul McCartney would be near the top of the list. From the moment the Beatles stepped onto the stage of The Ed Sullivan Show and electrified my ten year old brain, McCartney's music, with and without the Beatles, has provided an ongoing soundtrack for my life. Yes, it's true I'm a hard-core Lennon fan, and, overall, I prefer John's work to Paul's; but that's like saying I prefer breathing to the beating of my heart: both are essential for survival.
In honor of Paul's 69th birthday, here's a classic clip of the Beatles performing his greatest song (hell, it's one of the greatest songs ever written): "Hey Jude."
And here's a shimmering gem from McCartney's extraordinary solo catalog; one of his most beautiful, and moving, ballads: "Waterfalls."
If you're not familiar with McCartney's non-Beatles work, I'd recommend four albums that feature Paul at the height of his creative powers: Band on the Run, Tug of War, Flaming Pie and Memory Almost Full.
Happy birthday, Paul. And here's to many more years of heartfelt, transcendent music.