Paul McCartney, a household name and famous musician in his own right, is perhaps most well known for being one of the famous four members of The Beatles. Was it the prestige of being one-fourth of the world’s most well-known band that got him knighted?
Paul McCartney was knighted for his musical achievements. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the knighthood to McCartney in a ceremony that celebrated his “services to music”.
Almost anyone that has access to an internet connection or even just a passing interest in music will have heard of McCartney and The Beatles. A band whose fame and influence will be etched into the history of music forever, McCartney was one of the illustrious four, recognized for his talents with a knighthood.
A celebration for service to music seems fitting for the man that was not only simply a band member of The Beatles but one of the original members and co-writer alongside legend John Lennon. Even before the band that later managed to take the world by storm, the two songwriters were already writing music together.
It’s common and understandable in other collaborations or partnerships that each individual has a specific sphere they are most comfortable in, for example, one writer will compose the music and the other will pen the lyrics. For McCartney and Lennon, it was different.
In their case, the songs that they wrote together were hand-crafted by the two of them in tandem, weighing in on both the lyrics and the music in equal measure. Their ability to dive into a song together and perfect it made them peerless.
The fact that to this day the pair remains one of the best-selling collaborations is a testament to the wickedly successful synergy they had managed to harness. It was a harmony that they would take to The Beatles.
McCartney and The Beatles
When having a discussion about cultural icons that transformed the landscape of music, there are naturally going to be a few standout contenders at the forefront of the conversation. One of those, without a shadow of a doubt, is The Beatles.
Although all members of the band contributed in different ways, much of the songwriting was done by the powerhouse duo of McCartney and Lennon. Understandable when taking into account what was previously stated about their aptitude in that space.
Both McCartney and Lennon had a savviness and skill when it came to putting out chart-topping hits, capable of arranging smash hits on the fly, writing between tours, or as the result of playful musical experimentation.
Their natural propensity for composing music that transcended genre not only saw them crushing the top of the music charts domestically but further afield as well, in charts that had as of yet been untouched by musicians outside of their borders.
In what is now referred to as a “British Invasion”, The Beatles would take America and the rest of the world by storm in a wave of Beatlemania. Fuelled by the songwriting talents of McCartney and Lennon, combined with a group dynamic during performances, propelled them to the very top of the industry.
Service to Music
‘Service to music’ is a fitting reason for a knighthood when taking stock of all the achievements that McCartney has under his belt. Even before the Knighthood, McCartney was already swimming in accolades and awards from every imaginable source in the music world.
Even beyond simply writing music for himself or The Beatles, McCartney has been involved in the production of wildly popular songs with other high-profile famous artists. Among the litany of chart-toppers he has written and co-written are collaborations with names of the likes of Elton John and Michael Jackson.
He is steeped in awards, including an Academy Award and almost 20 Grammys amongst them, both as a member of The Beatles and as a solo artist. Officially and unofficially, McCartney is almost universally recognized and acknowledged for both the breadth and depth of the value that he has contributed to the music scene.
The bequeathment of knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II isn’t the only nation-wide acceptance and affirmation of his talent, either, having received the Gershwin Prize. Similar in intent to the purpose of the knighthood he received, the Gershwin Prize acknowledges a dedication to the contribution of popular music.