Paul McCartney at 70 – from the Cavern Club to the White House

To celebrate the former Beatle's birthday, we've dug out some memorable clips of his career highlights over the decades...

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Assuming those wild-eyed hippes were lying and he wasn’t killed in 1966, today marks Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday. Many happy returns, Sir Paul!

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Not that we’re jealous, but the Hofner bass-wielding former Beatle has achieved more in his 70 years than most of us can ever dream of doing: he’s played in front of millions of fans, written some truly genre-defining music and raised more money for charity than a hundred Mike Smashes. Thanks to a combination of talent and nous, McCartney is now one of the wealthiest people in the UK and a living musical legend.

But where would he have been without the aid of television (and, in his heyday, newsreels) to bring his songs, words and occasionally questionable moustaches to the attention of the wider world? Nowhere, that’s where! Well, maybe not. But in any case, to mark the beginning of the former Wings frontman’s eighth decade on this planet, let’s have a look back at some classic clips of him in action over the years…

At the Cavern Club (1962)

Recorded just a few months before Beatlemania became an international phenomenon, this clip captures the Beatles performing the bluesy track Some Other Guy in front of a rapturous full house at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.

Arriving in America (1964)

Like lead dumped in the water supply, the Beatles’ arrival in the States induced a collective madness of the kind not seen since Elvis first thrust his pelvis on TV and invented rock ‘n’ roll.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5opFHD9cXo

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

The Beatles’ first big-screen adventure helped cement their reputation, with a brilliant soundtrack and some hilarious performances, including this one from Wilfrid Brambell – known to Brits as “dirty old man” Albert Steptoe on TV – playing Paul’s “very clean” grandfather…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXP6q_Hw-1M

All You Need is Love (1967)

Proving they were more than just musical innovators, this performance taken from Our World was the first ever use of a live, global TV link and was seen by 400m people in 26 countries.

Live Aid (1985)

While he enjoyed a successful career with Wings during the ‘70s, McCartney’s next milestone gig to make the airwaves was his performance at Bob Geldof’s now-legendary charity event Live Aid, from which this rendition of Let It Be is taken.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ax0_lhKnHCY

The Simpsons (1995)

When America’s favourite canary-coloured family dedicated an episode to riffing on vegetarianism in the nineties, Paul and Linda McCartney made an appearance to reassure Lisa that forsaking meat didn’t have to be a bad thing… (NB, excuse the quality of the clip – it’s the only one on YouTube).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MH4fsXU5A6E#t=03m38s

Live 8 (2005)

Returning for the charity show’s 20th anniversary, McCartney once again wowed audiences with a performance that included cameos from various pop stars, like this version of Baby You Can Drive My Car featuring George Michael.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xldYPFzYdCY

Honoured by Obama (2010)

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And the recognition keeps on coming: McCartney was honoured at the White House by President Obama in 2010 with the Gershwin Prize for his contributions to popular music.