It was of course the team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney — as singers, songwriters, and instinctive harmonists — that constituted the organic entity at the heart of the Beatles. Today McCartney turns 70.
One of McCartney’s earliest songwriting motifs was the projection of himself into the future looking back. It was a device he used to great effect in songs such as “Things We Said Today,” “I’ll Follow the Sun,” and “When I’m 64.”
All of 16 at the time he wrote “When I’m 64,” McCartney envisioned himself asking his prospective wife: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m 64?” The woman who seems to have been the love of his life herself died fourteen years ago at age 56, long before McCartney turned 64.
Bring to mind any one of his tough, beautiful, moving songs — “We Can Work It Out,” “What You’re Doing” (video below), “Tell Me What You See,” “I’m Looking Through You,” “Here, There and Everwhere,” “Penny Lane,” “Blackbird,” your own personal favorite. Recall the closing words of his throwaway rocker off The Beatles — “I’m glad it’s your birthday/Happy birthday to you.”