Happy Birthday Paul McCartney: Memory Almost Full

70 years young today, Paul McCartney looks back on a life full of amazing memories, and ahead to a future full of joy and celebration.

HOUSTON - June 18, 2012 - Happy Birthday Sir Paul McCartney! The legendary Beatles member, songwriter, philanthropist, and animal advocate is 70 years old today. He’s still putting out albums, still touring, and still vibrant with life and enthusiasm. No one can say that the groundbreaking artist doesn’t have an amazing legacy, or that he hasn’t changed the world for the better using more than just his amazing music. His heart for charity, animal advocacy, and humanitarian causes is unmatched.

On August 19, 2009, my husband, dad-in-law, and I, took the long and winding road from Houston to Arlington, Texas, blasting Paul McCartney’s music the entire way. Our destination was Cowboys Stadium, where McCartney and band were slated to play the last installment on their Summer Live tour. We were exhilarated. My dad-in-law, Allen, has been a Beatles fan since his early teens, and still chronicles his childhood based on Beatles releases and tours.

“I remember what year that was,” he will often say at the beginning of a nostalgic story. “It was 1969, because that was the year ‘Yellow Submarine’ came out.”

Besides the fact that I am very proud that Allen has exceptional taste in music, his obsession with The Beatles also makes it unprecedentedly easy to figure out what to get him for Christmas and birthdays. In fact, he has a whole collection of posters, magazines, and keepsakes which he has amassed over the decades, and when the clock in his house chimes the hour, it plays Beatles tunes.

Of all the venues I’ve ever been in, Cowboys Stadium is by far the largest. With a maximum capacity of 110,000 people, it was nearly full that August evening and everyone was giddy. With so many fans present you can imagine the electrifying effect we experienced when McCartney himself walked onto the stage. Despite the fact that the band (Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Paul “Wix” Wickens, and Abe Laboriel Jr.) looked Polly-Pocket-sized from where we sat, McCartney resonated with an energy and charisma that filled the entire stadium.

As ‘Drive My Car’ began to play, it was not hard to understand how or why this friendly chap from Liverpool had rocketed to international stardom, being one of the most likeable, artistic, and easygoing characters in the music industry to date. The set list that evening included many of the Beatles earliest hits, in addition to some of McCartney’s newest compositions, all of which the crowd received with wild appreciation.

As one ponders the history of Paul McCartney, one can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have lived a story worthy of a Blockbuster drama or a New York Times bestseller. One can only imagine how it must feel, at 70 years of age, knowing that the musical and philanthropic legacy you have worked so hard to build will outlive you for centuries to come.

For just this reason, ‘Memory Almost Full,’ McCartney’s 2007 release, is possibly the most moving of all his many albums. While timeless songs like ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘Hey Jude,’ and ‘Let It Be’ can never be outdone, ‘At The End Of The End’ is likely one of his most striking songs when it comes to emotional depth and lyrical meaning.

“On the day that I die, I’d like jokes to be told,
And stories of old to be rolled out like carpets
That children have played on and laid on while listening to stories of old …

“At the end of the end, it’s the start of a journey to a much better place,
And a much better place would have to be special;
No reason to cry, no need to be sad, at the end of the end.”

At 27 years of age, like most people, I view death as an unwelcome thief. I have felt his presence when loved ones leave this world. I have seen his terrible exploits in the news and read about his grim work in books. I have campaigned against death by hosting charitable concerts, participating in relays for cancer research, and organizing fundraisers for no-kill animal shelters. As a people, we are constantly inventing new medicines, better technologies, and building more advanced hospitals, so that we can postpone death as long as possible.

While all these things are good and admirable, how refreshing it is, midst the overwhelming fear and sorrow, to see a man so content with his life and legacy that he considers death with such peace. In the twilight of his epic career, McCartney hopes his memory will be celebrated with joy, laughter, and song.

Not quite so fast Paul. There are still plenty of concerts to play and many, many songs to be written!

It is with justifiable anticipation that the world awaits McCartney’s future endeavors, since The Walrus has had such an amazing past and present. 

Most recently, McCartney confirmed that he’ll be performing at the July 27th opening ceremony of the Olympics in London. And last week, his website published a commemorative ‘Memory Almost Full’ premium collection comprised of photos and music videos for ‘Dance Tonight’ and ‘Ever Present Past.’

“That was me at the scout camp, in the school play,
Spade and bucket by the sea, that was me.
That was me playing conkers at the bus stop,
On a blanket in the bluebells, that was me.

“The same me that stands here now,
And when I think that all this stuff
Can make a life, it’s pretty hard to take it in.
That was me!

“That was me, Royal Iris, on the river,
Merseybeatin’ with the band, that was me.
That was me sweating cobwebs under contract
In the cellar on TV, that was me. 

“The same me that stands here now,
If fate decreed that all of this
Would make a lifetime, who am I to disagree?
That was me!

“That was me, acapella at the altar
In the middle of the picture, that was me.
That was me at the party sweating cobwebs
In a cellar on TV, that was me!

“The same me that stands here now
And when I think that all this stuff
Can make a life, it’s pretty hard to take it in,
That was me!”

About the Author, Jennifer Grassman:

Singer, songwriter and pianist, Jennifer Grassman is an award-winning recording artist and founder of SeeTalkGrow, a 100% online music, film, technology, and communications conference. Subscribe by RSS feed and read more at www.JenniferGrassman.com or www.SeeTalkGrow.com. Follow Jennifer in this column and at her music column, The Business of Being Diva here inWashington Times Communities. Also keep in touch via @JGrassman@SeeTalkGrow, and like Facebook.com/JenniferGrassmanMusic and Facebook.com/SeeTalkGrow.

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Jennifer Grassman

Jennifer Grassman is a singer, songstress and pianist who inadvertently became a music industry trailblazer in the wake of the digital revolution. In addition to penning her quirky music industry column, "The Business of Being Diva," Jennifer writes songs and performs concert tours. Jennifer’s accomplishments include being nominated Houston’s best female vocalist and best songwriter and was named best keyboardist in the 2010 Houston Press Music Awards. She assisted in a campaign that raised more than $100,000 for CrimeStoppers and was commended by musician Tori Amos for her charitable efforts on behalf of domestic-abuse victims.  Jennifer has released three CDs, the most recent of which, "Serpent Tales & Nightingales," received accolades from Christianity Today, the Houston Chronicle and Brian Ray and the guitarist of Paul McCartney's band. You can check out Jennifer’s music at www.JenniferGrassman.com, like her on Facebook and tweet her at www.Twitter.com/JGrassman.

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