Early Life | The Beatles | Solo Career | After The Beatles
James Paul McCartney was born in Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, England on June 18, 1942. He has one brother, Michael, who was born on January 7, 1944. He was baptized Roman-Catholic but raised non-denominationally. Money was a problem in the McCartney household, causing the family to move several times during Paul's childhood. His father, Jim, earned only about £6.00 a week, which was less than Paul's mother, Mary, earned. McCartney attended Stockton Wood Road Primary school, the Joseph Williams Junior School, and passed the 11-plus exam in 1953 along with three other students to gain entrance into Liverpool institute. There he met George Harrison, who also attended the school and lived nearby. On October 31, 1956, when Paul was fourteen, Mary McCartney, a heavy smoker, died of an embolism after an operation to spot the spread of breast cancer.
McCartney's father was a trumpet player and pianist, who led "Jim Mac's jazz Band" in the 1920s, and encouraged his two sons to be musical. After Mary's death, Jim bought Paul a nickel-plated trumpet, which he later swapped for a £15 Framus Zenith (model 17) acoustic guitar. Paul soon learned to play left-handed and also learned his father's Spanish Guitar, and eventually the piano. But he found that he learned better by ear, and did not pay attention in music classes.
Paul McCartney met John Lennon when he was fifteen years old at the Woolton fête on July 6, 1957 . Both Jim McCartney and Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of their friendship; Mimi said that Paul was too "working class," while Jim said that John would get Paul into trouble. The two boys would indeed get into trouble together, shoplifting and playing pranks on their teachers, but Paul could charm his way out of most situations. Paul joined Lennon's band, The Quarrymen, and eventually convinced John to allow George Harrison to join the band as lead guitarist after hearing Harrison play. Lennon's Art School friend, Stuart Sutcliffe, joined the group on bass. The group tried several names, including The Silver Beetles, before settling on The Beatles in August, 1960.