McCartney celebrates his 80th birthday with Springsteen, 60,000 friends

East Rutherford, NJ – It’s hard to think of a better way for Paul McCartney to celebrate his 80th birthday than to sing “Days of Glory” onstage with Bruce Springsteen or have some 60,000 well-wishers sing it.

That’s right, the “cute Beatles” will turn 80 on Saturday. It’s one of those cultural attractions that brings breathtaking breath – has it been that long? Along with an appreciation for what he still has to offer.

It’s been over half a century now since the Beatles broke up, and it’s a realization that strikes you as a ’70s-era joke about young people saying, “Was Paul McCartney in a band before the Wings?”

Like many members of the “I Wish I Died Before I Got Old” generation, including Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and former Beatle Ringo Starr, McCartney continues to act, continuing to share his music from the stage. Another icon of the 1960s, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, is set to play at the Starlight Theater in Kansas City on his 80th birthday Monday.

“He’s got such a youthful vibe,” said Bob Spitz, a Beatles biographer. “There is still some of that 21-year-old shining in all of his shows.”

It would be a cliché – and wrong – to suggest that time had no negative effect. The crispness of his voice was evident as he sang “Blackbeard” Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, the last night of a short tour of the United States. He struggled for the high notes in “Here Today,” his love letter to John Lennon, who was robbed of his long life by a killer’s bullet.

The band’s empathetic skill, combined with the imagination and voices in the audience, stain tough spots.

“Yeah, yeah, well, I have a birthday coming up,” McCartney said, sweeping signs in the audience remembering him. “I’m not trying to ignore it, but…”

The crowd performed a spontaneous song of “Happy Birthday,” even before jersey player Jon Bon Jovi blew out a handful of balloons during an appearance to lead them in another clip.

That other jersey guy, Springsteen, joined McCartney in the duo on “Glory Days” and a version of “I Wanna Be Your Man.” He later appeared to join the guitar duel from the song “Abbey Road”.

For most artists, the emergence of such local kings will be a difficult moment. Most artists can’t immediately get enough of “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” to follow along.

To celebrate Christmas, Stereogum magazine asked 80 artists to choose their favorite McCartney song, and the selections are remarkable in their breadth – from the pre-Beatles 1958 piece “In spite of all the danger” (performed by McCartney on MetLife) to a 2016 collaboration with Rihanna and Kanye West “FourFiveSeconds” (which it didn’t).

David Crosby and Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys chose “Eleanor Rigby”. Veteran Wayne Quinn of The Flaming Lips chose the song Magical Mystery Tour. Steve Earle chose Every Night, while Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott went against the cute “Little Lamb Dragonfly” style. Mac DeMarco chose Ram’s epic, “The Back Seat to My Car.”

Many note the unfairness of choosing only one.

The Stereogum feature articulated the diverse entry points of musicians of different generations into a living and breathing catalog. For example, she revealed that a largely overlooked album such as 1980’s “McCartney II” had a much greater impact on the development of artists than he expected its reception at the time.

The McCartney team announced Friday that “McCartney 2”, along with his other albums 1970’s McCartney and 2020’s McCartney 3, have been put into a bundled collection that will go on sale in August.

How big is the songbook? McCartney performed 38 songs on MetLife, 20 of which were Beatles songs, and even managed to miss an entire decade. Remember the nineties?

With the help of Peter Jackson, who reimagined the “Back” sessions for the TV project last year, McCartney was able to perform a virtual “duet” in which Lennon sang his part of “I Have a Feeling” from an Apple rooftop concert McCartney also paid tribute to George Harrison, who died in 2001, with a version of “Something” that started with Paul on the ukulele that George gave him and designed for a full band version.

Spitz recalled a clip from a Beatles-era movie of Lennon telling the interviewer that he would be surprised if it went on for more than 10 years. McCartney stood beside him, laughing.

Lennon was right about the Beatles as a unit, but not about the music. He wouldn’t have imagined that in 2022, an adult standing in line to get to MetLife would be heard asking a companion, “Where’s Mom and Dad?”

Christmas ahead, cheerful and irrepressible McCartney left with a promise when the latest fireworks exploded and he went offstage.

“See you next time.”


This story corrects the third year to the last paragraph until 2022.