How Many No. 1 Beatles Songs Did Paul McCartney Sing Lead Vocals on?
There are some Beatles numbers that no one can dispute, starting with the band’s record 19 No. 1 albums. The same goes for the band’s unprecedented (and still unmatched) 20 No. 1 singles. Elvis Presley (the King himself) never scored so many hits.
When you remember the band’s recording career lasted just seven years, the numbers loom even larger. What’s also amazing is the equal weight John Lennon and Paul McCartney carried while together in The Beatles.
The Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo claimed credit for 19 of those 20 tracks. (George Harrison had the remaining one.) If you count the number of chart-topping hits John sang the lead on, you’ll get eight on his own and 10 counting leads shared with Paul. That’s exactly half.
However, McCartney can boast a small edge in No. 1 hits on which he claimed lead-vocal duties.
Paul sang lead on 10 Beatles tracks that topped the Billboard charts.
Looking at the list of Beatles Billboard hits, you start right at the top with “Hey Jude,” the band’s biggest hit. Paul’s soaring vocal work kept this track on the charts for 19 weeks in 1968. (It held No. 1 for nine weeks.)
“Let It Be” (1970) was Paul’s No. 1 hit that stayed on the charts for 14 weeks. “We Can Work It Out” (1966) and “Get Back” (1969) count as two more tracks with Paul on lead vocals that rank among the Fab Four’s biggest hits.
“Yesterday” (1965), “Hello Goodbye” (1967), “The Long and Winding Road” (1970), “Penny Lane” (1967), “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964), and “Paperback Writer” (1966) all go in Paul’s corner as well. Altogether, it makes 10 chart-topping hits with him on lead vocals.
But that doesn’t end the count. Paul also shared lead vocals with John on 1964’s “Love Me Do” and “She Loves You.” So he has primary or co-lead singing duties on 12 of the 20 No. 1 Beatles songs.
Paul also has 9 No. 1 singles as a solo artist.
Once The Beatles went their separate ways, Paul didn’t fare much worse on the Billboard charts. He scored his first No. 1 single in 1971 with “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and another eight through the ’70s and into the early ’80s.
His final chart-topper, 1983’s “Say Say Say,” was a collaboration with Michael Jackson. But that doesn’t mean Paul stopped producing or charting records. In 2018, he actually reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 (for albums) with Egypt Station.
It had been 36 years for Paul between No. 1 albums, but it doesn’t seem to matter. At the age of 76, he continues working and touring to get the music to his fans in 2019.
Apparently, that’s the Beatles way. Ringo Starr (now 78) was touring Japan in March 2019 with his sights set on North America in August. You can tell these guys the music is already immortal, but we doubt they’d believe you.
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