Sir Paul McCartney
The most successful composer and recording artist of all time, Sir Paul McCartney was a founding member of rock-n-roll's most iconic band, The Beatles, and along with fellow bandmate John Lennon was part of the most celebrated songwriting partnership in rock history. With an innate knack for beautiful, complex melodies, powerful vocals and a unique bass-playing style, his music struck emotional chords that transcended generations with songs like "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby," "Let It Be" and "Yesterday," the latter being the most covered song in music history. Taking command as The Beatles' de facto music director in the late-1960s, McCartney steered the band through its most creative phase that included iconic albums like Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The White Album (1968) and Abbey Road (1969). Following their acrimonious split in 1970, McCartney embarked on the most successful solo career of the four members, starting with Wings, which he formed with first wife Linda McCartney, producing numerous hit singles throughout the 1970s, including "Band on the Run," "Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Live and Let Die." Suffering the losses of Lennon to a bullet in 1980, Linda to breast cancer in 1998 and George Harrison to cancer in 2001, McCartney single-handedly carried The Beatles torch and continued his solo success with Flaming Pie (1997) and Memory Almost Full (2007). Though he suffered public embarrassment with his tumultuous marriage to model Heather Mills, McCartney maintained his stature as the most popular and successful member of The Beatles, and he continued releasing critically and commercially well-received music well into the 21st century.