These 32 Paul McCartney Photos Show He’s Always Been Fine in Front of the Camera

Unless you’ve been willfully ignoring all pop culture since 1962, then you probably know who Paul McCartney is. One of the creative forces that made The Beatles one of the biggest musical groups ever has lived almost his whole life in front of a camera. McCartney could have called it a day after The Beatles broke up, but he’s continued making music and is one of the most celebrated talents we’ve ever seen.

Let’s take a photographic journey through Paul McCartney’s amazing life (including the one big reason he gave the thumbs-up on page 16).

1. Early life

Paul McCartney age 6, 1948
Beatle-to-be Paul McCartney (front) at the age of six with brother Mike in 1948. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1948

Paul McCartney was born at the height of World War II on June 18, 1942. He has a younger brother, Peter Michael McCartney, who also grew up to be a musician.

Next: All the McCartney boys.

2. Just before fame hits

Paul McCartney with his father and brother Mike
Paul McCartney (left) with his father James and brother Mike. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1960

Not long after he turned 18 years old, Paul McCartney and The Beatles headed to Hamburg, Germany. The extended stay saw the band perform on an almost nightly basis. McCartney made time to take this photo with his father and younger brother in the midst of that busy schedule.

Next: Camera-ready.

3. Ready for the bright lights

Singer-songwriter Paul McCartney of The Beatles
Singer-songwriter Paul McCartney of The Beatles. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1962

Look at the above photo and Paul McCartney’s boyish looks, and it’s easy to see why he was known as the cute Beatle. By the end of 1962, the band was ready to hit the big time and become a worldwide sensation.

Next: That didn’t take long.

4. The first of many awards

The Beatles High kicking winners of the Melody Maker poll awards for 1963
Paul McCartney (middle) and The Beatles cleaned up at the 1963 Melody Maker Poll Awards. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: Sept. 11, 1963

In between releasing debut album Please Please Me in early 1963 and follow-up With the Beatles later that year, The Beatles won at the Melody Maker Poll Awards in September. They won for best single with “She Loves You” as well as for best vocal group.

Next: Airtime.

5. Paul has hops

The Beatles rehearsing at the Prince of Wales Theatre for their Royal Variety Performance.
The Beatles rehearsing for their Royal Variety Performance Nov. 4, 1963. | Ron Case/Getty Images

Photo date: Nov. 4, 1963

We know Paul McCartney is a multi-talented musician, composer, and all-around artist (he’s an accomplished painter), but he probably could have been a good athlete if he chose to go that route. Just look at the airtime he achieves in this photo. He’s also the one Beatle who had more than a passing interest in English soccer. He favors Everton, but he doesn’t mind Liverpool, either.

Next: Behind the scenes.

6. Nice work if you can get it

The Beatles relax in a hotel room in Paris, 16th January 1964.
Paul McCartney (right) and The Beatles relax in a hotel room in Paris with band manager Brian Epstein.| Harry Benson/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo date: Jan. 16, 1964

The Beatles played all over Europe during the peak Beatlemania days in the early- to mid-1960s, which included a stop in Paris in January 1964. The group spent a lot of its downtime together, as this behind-the-scenes photo shows.

Next: The first and last time.

7. Playing Las Vegas

Paul McCartney plays the slots in Las Vegas
Paul McCartney tries his luck on a slot machine in Las Vegas. | Harry Benson/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo date: Aug. 20, 1964

Beatlemania was in full effect in the United States in 1964, and the group made two stops in the U.S. that year. It toured 23 cities in August and September of that year, including the group’s first and only performance in Las Vegas.

Next: Ticket to ride.

8. Nice wheels

Paul McCartney of The Beatles sitting astride his motor bike, 1965.
Paul McCartney astride his motorcycle. | Express Newspapers/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1965

The hit songs, and the fame and the money that came along with them, allowed Paul McCartney to splurge a little bit. He bought a motorcycle and also ponied up for an Aston Martin DB5, which might be one of the most famous rock star cars of all time.

Next: Time to fly.

9. The jet set

Paul McCartney of the Beatles steps off a Pan Am flight at London Airport
Paul McCartney at London Airport after visiting girlfriend Jane Asher in the United States. | Leonard Burt/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo date: April 12, 1967

The Beatles stopped touring well before 1967, but Paul McCartney was still jetting all around the world. He was back and forth between England and the United States visiting then-girlfriend Jane Asher in 1967. The group headed to India in 1968 to meet with a guru, which produced some prolific creativity heard on The White Album.

Next: Life at home.

10. Pet sounds

English singer-songwriter and musician Paul McCartney with his dog, English Sheepdog Martha, and two kittens
Paul McCartney with his dog and two kittens. | Les Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo date: June 20, 1967

We know bandmate John Lennon was a famous cat-lover, but Paul McCartney was, too. He had two cats and a dog at home in London. His pet-friendly attitude predated his vegetarian diet, which he started in 1975.

Next: Turning the tables.

11. Say cheese

Paul McCartney takes some shots with a Russian Zenit Photo-Sniper camera outfit while waiting for the Magical Mystery Tour bus.
Paul McCartney snaps some photos. | Keystone Features/Getty Images

Photo date: Sept. 1967

It’s safe to say there are thousands of Paul McCartney photos in the world, if not more. That tends to happen when you play in one of the most influential bands ever and follow it up with a successful solo career. In 1967, McCartney turned the tables, grabbed a camera, and took some photos of the press during the Magical Mystery Tour period.

Next: Happy days.

12. Tying the knot

Paul McCartney marries Linda
Paul and Linda McCartney shortly after their wedding ceremony. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: March 12, 1969

When Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, it wasn’t a big, fancy wedding ceremony but instead a subdued service at a register’s office in London. The ceremony happened March 12, 1969, and the couple remained together until her death in 1998.

Next: Things get ugly.

13. Bad Beatles breakup

Paul McCartney and his wife Linda
Paul and Linda McCartney take a break during The Beatles breakup lawsuit. | Leonard Burt/Central Press/Getty Images

Photo date: Feb. 19, 1971

By 1970, The Beatles were done as a group. To seal the deal, Paul McCartney filed a lawsuit to officially break up the band. It was an acrimonious split that required years of legal wrangling, but by 1975 it was official — The Beatles were no more.

Next: Back at work

14. Band on the Run

Paul McCartney with his wife Linda and their pop group Wings.
Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, and their pop group Wings. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Photo date: Dec. 1, 1972

A creative talent like Paul McCartney can’t be stifled, so after The Beatles called it a day, it didn’t take long for him to get back to work. He released solo records in 1970 and 1971, and by the end of 1971, he formed his new group, Wings. The group started touring in 1972 and eventually produced some of McCartney’s best songs after The Beatles.

Next: Look at that hair.

15. Glorious mullet

Paul McCartney sporting a fantastic mullet.
Paul McCartney sporting a fantastic mullet. | Evening Standard/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1973

We’ve seen the bowl cut, the mop top, and Paul McCartney’s long hair around the time of his 1969 wedding, but this hairstyle might be his most memorable. We’d usually say someone sporting this kind of mullet desperately needs a haircut, but Paul pulls it off just fine.

Next: Thumbs up.

16. A sigh of relief after a low moment

Paul McCartney thumbs up
Paul McCartney gives a thumbs up to the press after being deported from Japan. | Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Photo date: Jan 28, 1980

Nine days doesn’t sound like a long time. Nine days in a Japanese prison, however, probably feels like an eternity. Authorities caught Paul McCartney with marijuana in his suitcase as Wings entered the country for a tour. The police threw him in jail, the band canceled the tour, and he was deported back to England. It was one of the biggest celebrity scandals of the day.

Next: Two legends side by side.

17. The hits keep on coming

Paul McCartney Michael Jackson
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson collaborated on three songs. | AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: Dec. 19, 1983

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson are two of the most beloved musicians of all time (and two of the richest), and their paths crossed in the early 1980s. Paul played on “The Girl Is Mine” from Thriller, and Jackson appeared on “Say, Say, Say” and “The Man” on McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album.

Next: On the road again.

18. Back on tour

Paul McCartney performs on November 6, 1989 in Lyon, France
Paul McCartney performs in Lyon, France. | Jean-Marie Huron/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: Nov. 6, 1989

Paul McCartney was busy recording throughout the 1980s, but it took him the better part of the decade to hit the road for a tour. After the Wings tour fiasco in 1980, McCartney didn’t play live again until 1989’s Paul McCartney World Tour in support of his album Flowers in the Dirt with Elvis Costello.

Next: What took so long?

19. About time for a big honor

Paul MCCARTNEY Lifetime Achievement Grammy
Paul McCartney with his Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy. | Mark Loundy/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: Feb. 21, 1990

Most music fans would tell you Paul McCartney was due for a lifetime achievement award by 1970 thanks to his output with The Beatles. The folks behind the Grammy Awards thought differently. It took a little longer than expected, but Maca received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 32nd edition of the Grammys in 1990. As we’ll see in a few minutes, that’s a rabbit’s pace compared to another lifetime honor.

Next: Going Down Under.

20. Life on the road

Paul McCartney Sydney, Australia

Paul McCartney at Brashs Music Store in Sydney, Australia. | Patrick Riviere/Getty Images.Photo date: March 1, 1993

Remember how we just mentioned the 1989 world tour was Paul McCartney’s first in almost a decade? Well, fans didn’t have to wait too long to see him again. The New World Tour lasted nearly all of 1993. McCartney, wife Linda, and an assembled band played 77 shows around the world.

Next: A fitting tribute to Linda McCartney.

21. A cause close to the heart

Paul McCartney PETA
Paul McCartney presents the first Linda McCartney Memorial Award. | Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: Sept. 18, 1999

Paul McCartney was able to give a fitting tribute to Linda McCartney a little more than one year after her death. At the 1999 PETA Awards, he gave the first Linda McCartney Memorial Award to Pamela Anderson. The couple were vegetarians and passionate animal rights advocates.

Next: A bit of Maca trivia.

22. Paul McCartney knows all about receiving the Hall call

Paul McCartney James Taylor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2000
Paul McCartney (right) hands James Taylor his award during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. | Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: March 6, 2000

It makes sense when you think about it, but it’s still worth noting: Paul McCartney is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He entered with The Beatles in 1988, and in 1999 he earned the Hall call as a solo artist. A few more fun facts:

  • He has 21 Grammy Awards with The Beatles and solo.
  • As of 2014, he’d sold more than 15.5 million records in the United States.
  • He’s written or co-written no fewer than 32 No. 1 Billboard songs during his career.

Next: Helping out in a time of need.

23. The Concert for New York City

Paul McCartney during Rehearsals at The Concert for New York City
Rehearsals at The Concert for New York City in 2001. | Scott Gries/ImageDirect/Getty Images

Photo date: Oct. 20, 2001

You can say this for Paul McCartney — he loves playing music. He’s also a great humanitarian. After witnessing the Sept. 11 attacks from JFK Airport, he organized The Concert for New York City. Among the artists who performed were The Who, David Bowie, Elton John, Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger.


Next: Happier times.

24. The second Mrs. McCartney

Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney and wife Heather Mills McCartney. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Photo date: Nov. 5, 2005

Paul McCartney married for the second time in 2002, to Heather Mills. They were still a happy couple in 2005 when they attended a landmine benefit together, but by 2006, the relationship deteriorated, and they separated. Their divorce, a contender for one of the worst celebrity divorces ever, finally happened in 2008.

Next: What can’t he do?

25. Paul McCartney flexes his creative muscles

Paul McCartney London book signing 2005
Paul McCartney reads from his book “High In The Clouds” in 2005. | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Photo date: Dec. 14, 2005

Between playing music on almost any instrument — bass, guitar, piano, trumpet — singing, composing, and painting, Paul McCartney has a lot of creative bases covered. Well, he added another in 2005. He wrote and published a children’s book, High in the Clouds, which eventually became an animated film.

Next: Let us venture a guess.

26. Guitar for charity

Sir Paul McCartney Signs his ten foot Gibson Les Paul sculpture at More London Riverside by City Hall on September 12, 2007
Paul McCartney Signs his 10-foot Gibson Les Paul sculpture. | Getty Images

Photo date: Sept. 12, 2007

An oversized sculpture of a Gibson Les Paul guitar Paul McCartney signed helped raise money for the Prince’s Trust, Nordoff-Robbins Music and Teenage Cancer Trust in 2007. We’re pretty sure that if anyone is capable of playing a 10-foot tall right-handed guitar with no strings and making it sound good, it’s the left-handed McCartney.

Next: Another noteworthy award.

27. Rarefied air

Barack Obama presents Paul McCartney with the third Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
As of 2017, Paul McCartney was the only non-American to win the Gershwin Prize. |  Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: June 2, 2010

The Gershwin Prize awarded by the Library of Congress started in 2007, so it came along after the Grammys and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney is one of the select few to receive the award through 2017, and he’s the only non-American to take the prize.

Next: What took so long?

28. It’s about time

Paul McCartney Hollywood Walk of Fame
Paul McCartney touches his freshly unveiled star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. | Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: Feb. 9, 2012

Remember how we said the Grammys waited a long time to give McCartney a Lifetime Achievement Award? Well, the people in charge of the Hollywood Walk of Fame really made him wait. He received the 2,460th star on the walk in 2012, just a few months before his 70th birthday.

Next: A salute to the band that changed the world.

29. Fifty years later

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr Grammys 2014
Paul McCartney (left) and Ringo Starr on stage in 2014. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Photo date: Jan. 27, 2014

The surviving members of The Beatles — Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney — took the stage together in 2014 for The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles. Fifty years to the day after the band’s appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, a musical all-star lineup covered a slew of Beatles songs, then Ringo and Paul capped the event by playing two songs together.

Next: Still going strong.

30. A Desert Trip

Paul McCartney and Neil Young 2016
Neil Young and Paul McCartney (left) onstage during Desert Trip in Indio, Calif. | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Photo date: Oct. 8, 2016

What would entice you to head out into the California desert between Los Angeles and Phoenix? In 2016, the answer was probably the Desert Trip. The pair of three-day concert festivals brought together a who’s-who of classic rock artists, including Paul McCartney and Neil Young. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, and The Who were on the bill, too.

Next: This is nothing new.

31. More social activism from Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney March for Our Lives New York City March 24 2018
Paul McCartney at the New York March for Our Lives Rally. | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty Images

Photo date: March 24, 2018

Paul McCartney has never been shy about supporting the causes he believes in, and that was as true as ever in early 2018. He joined the New York edition of the March for Our Lives Rally for gun control.

Next: A nice companion.

32. Maca meets Queen Elizabeth, again

Sir Paul McCartney poses following an Investiture ceremony
Paul McCartney after being made a Companion of Honour in 2018. | Bradley Page/Getty Images

Photo date: May 4, 2018

Is there a British civilian honor Paul McCartney hasn’t received? If there is, we don’t know about it. He and The Beatles were made Members of the Order of the British Empire in 1965. He was knighted in 1997. Then, in 2018, Queen Elizabeth made him a Companion of Honour.

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