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James McCartney

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James McCartney
Background information
Birth nameJames Louis McCartney
Born (1977-09-12) 12 September 1977 (age 46)
London, England
Occupation(s)Musician, writer
Years active1997–present

James Louis McCartney (born 12 September 1977) is an English-American musician and songwriter. He is the son of singer, songwriter, and former Beatle, Paul McCartney. He has contributed to solo albums by his parents, including Flaming Pie (1997) and Driving Rain (2001) by Paul McCartney, and Wide Prairie (1998) by Linda McCartney. He has released two EPs and two albums. His most recent, The Blackberry Train, was released on 6 May 2016.[1]

Early life[edit]

Two-year-old James in 1980, carried by his father Paul McCartney

James Louis McCartney was born at Avenue Clinic in St John's Wood, London on September 12, 1977.[2] He is the son of songwriter and former Beatle Paul McCartney and his first wife Linda McCartney. He was named after both his paternal grandfather Jim McCartney and his father, whose full name is James Paul McCartney, as well as Linda's late mother, Louise Sara (née Lindner) Eastman. His mother was Jewish,[3] meaning that he and his siblings are Jewish, but his father is the son of a Catholic mother of Irish descent.

He spent the first two and a half years of his life on the road while his parents toured with their band Wings. After the band broke up in 1980, the McCartneys settled in Rye, East Sussex. He attended the local state secondary school, the Thomas Peacocke Community College.[2] He has said his earliest inspiration to learn guitar was Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. He began playing music when his father gave him a Fender Stratocaster at age nine. The guitar had previously been owned by Carl Perkins.

In 1989, McCartney and his sisters Mary McCartney and Stella McCartney again joined Paul and Linda on a world tour. He continued his education with a tutor while on the road. In 1993, at age 16, while surfing with friends, he was swept out to sea. The coast guard was called, his family rushed to the site, but he emerged safe on his own 40 minutes later.[2] In 1995, James introduced his sister Mary to television producer Alistair Donald, whom she later married.

On 17 April 1998, in Tucson, Arizona, James, along with his father and sisters, was at his mother's side when she died from breast cancer, which had been diagnosed in 1995. Later that year, he graduated from Bexhill College, near his home in East Sussex, where he pursued studies in A-level Art and Sculpture.

Music career[edit]

1997–2007: Early years[edit]

James has played guitar and drums on some of his father's solo albums, including Flaming Pie (1997) and Driving Rain (2001), as well as co-writing a few songs.[4] On Flaming Pie he has an electric guitar solo on the track "Heaven on a Sunday".[5] On Driving Rain, he co-wrote the songs "Spinning on an Axis" and "Back in the Sunshine Again" with his father, and played percussion on the former track and guitar on the latter.

He also plays lead guitar on his mother's posthumously released solo album, Wide Prairie (1998), which included tracks recorded privately over the previous twenty years.[6]

In 2004, he again left the McCartney family home and began living in a flat in Brighton, where he waited at tables while he attended college and worked on his music.[7] In 2005, he accompanied Paul during his 'US' Tour.

2008–2011: Available Light and Close at Hand[edit]

Around 2008, he began working with David Kahne, his father, and a number of other musicians on recording his own music.[8] He made his US performing debut with his own original solo material on 14 November 2009 at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, during the Fourth Annual David Lynch Weekend for World Peace and Meditation in Fairfield, Iowa.[8] He performed under the pseudonym Light.[9]

Available Light was McCartney's first official release as both a performer and songwriter. The EP included four original songs composed by James as well as a cover of Neil Young's classic "Old Man". In addition to composing the songs and singing, he plays electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano and bass on the recordings. Produced by David Kahne and Paul McCartney, the EP was recorded between Sussex, London and New York over the previous year,[10] including Abbey Road Studios.[11]

He stated, "The music was inspired by The Beatles, Nirvana, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Radiohead—and all good music. It is basically rock n' roll, clean sounding and vocal. The words on the album refer to spirituality, love, family, trying to sort out one's life, and many other things".[9]

He previewed tracks from Available Light when he toured the UK for the first time in February and March 2010,[9][12] though he at first performed under a pseudonym.[4] The album was released electronically September 2010 on Blake Morgan's Engine Company Records,[4][13] (now ECR Music Group)[14][15] to positive reviews.[11] Close at Hand, his second EP, was released in 2011.[16]

McCartney's The Complete EP Collection was released on 22 November 2011. The album combines the previous two EPs along with five new original tracks and two new covers.[17] It is his first physical release, the two individual EPs being digital only.[17] Like the EPs, it was produced by Paul McCartney and David Kahne, and is being released by Engine Company Records (now ECR Music Group).[14][15][16] Rolling Stone called the opening track, "Angel", a "light and cheerful pop track".[17] AntiMusic dubbed the release "whimsical and reflective, sharp-witted and affectionate. Full of smart, engaging pop songwriting".[18] In a Rolling Stone song exclusive about the track New York Times, James notes he composed the main riff on a family trip when his father "... was just inches away from me".[19]


In April 2012, McCartney told a BBC interviewer that he had mooted the idea "a little bit" of forming a "next generation" version of the Beatles with Sean Lennon, Zak Starkey, and Dhani Harrison.[20]

McCartney released his first album on 21 May 2013, titled Me.[21] The album was supported by a tour of the US, starting on 6 April 2013.[21]

McCartney played at San Francisco's Outside Lands Music Festival in August 2013.[22] He recorded The Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye" with The Cure for the album The Art of McCartney, a collection of The Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney solo covers.

McCartney's newest studio album, The Blackberry Train, was released on 6 May 2016.[1]


In February 2024, McCartney released his first single, "Beautiful", after not releasing any music in nearly eight years. In April 2024, McCartney released the single "Primrose Hill". The song features a collaboration with Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon.[23]In May, McCartney released his third single, "Nothing".[24]

Personal life[edit]

Like his elder half-sister Heather McCartney, James lived a relatively private life before going out on tour for his music.[2] His sisters are Stella, a fashion designer, and Mary, a photographer. [9] He has a much younger half-sister, Beatrice Milly McCartney, born in 2003 to Paul and his second wife, Heather Mills.

He follows a vegetarian diet, leaning towards veganism,[25] and is an animal rights activist.[citation needed]

In November 2012, James performed at a London benefit for the David Lynch Foundation, which his father also supports.[26][27]

McCartney practices Transcendental Meditation: "Transcendental Meditation plays a big role in my life as it has done for my father and the other Beatles. I meditate regularly—twice a day. ... I find that just 30 minutes of Transcendental Meditation refreshes me as if I had slept a few hours!"[25]


Studio albums[edit]

  • Me (2013)
  • The Blackberry Train (2016)

Extended plays[edit]


  • Beautiful (2024)
  • Primrose Hill (2024) (with Sean Lennon)
  • Nothing (2024)
  • Circle Game (2024)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Complete EP Collection (2011)



  1. ^ a b Leven, Ivor (6 May 2016). "Reviewed: The Blackberry Train By James McCartney". Losangelesbeat.come. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Alison Boshoff. "WALRUSGUMBOOT'S ARCHIVED NEWS: Reluctant McCartney's life as a recluse". Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Secret History of Paul McCartney, the Jewish Beatle". The Forward. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Parker, Lyndsey (10 September 2010). "Apple Not Far from the Tree: Paul McCartney's Son to Release Debut EP". Yahoo Music News. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  5. ^ Duffy, Thom (12 April 1997). "Album Track Previews". Billboard. p. 76.
  6. ^ "Wild Prairie". BBC. 3 September 1998. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Shy James McCartney considering working with dad on own disc". Hello Magazine. 3 December 2007. Archived from the original on 19 September 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  8. ^ a b Marinucci, Steve (4 November 2009). "Paul McCartney's son says he's ready to follow in dad's footsteps". Beatles Examiner. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d "Paul McCartney's son hits the road". The Independent. 2 February 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  10. ^ "James McCartney Releases Debut EP Available Light". Top 40 Charts. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  11. ^ a b Friedman, Roger (21 September 2010). "Paul McCartney's Son, James, Releases First Album". Parade. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  12. ^ Ottesen, Ida (March 2010). "James McCartney Plays Liverpool". New Beats Media. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  13. ^ Weiss, David (19 September 2010). "James McCartney Releasing "Available Light": 5 Questions for David Kahne, Co-Producer & Mixer". SonicScoop. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  14. ^ a b Weiss, David (1 August 2012). "Engine Company Records (NYC) Expands, Relaunches as ECR Music Group". SonicScoop. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Engine Company Records Announces Its Re-Launch And Expansion As ECR Music Group". HM Magazine. Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  16. ^ a b "James McCartney Biography". JamesMcCartney.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  17. ^ a b c Fuentes, Catherine (20 October 2011). "Exclusive Song Premiere: James McCartney's Cheerful Pop Track 'Angel'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  18. ^ "James McCartney to Release two CD Set". AntiMusic. 21 October 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  19. ^ "Song Exclusive: James McCartney's 'New York Times': Hear a song from 'The Complete EP Collection'". Rolling Stone. 29 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  20. ^ Youngs, Ian (3 April 2012). "Paul McCartney's son James on playing the Cavern Club". BBC News.
  21. ^ a b Lopez, Korina (7 February 2013). "James McCartney to release full album, go on tour". USA TODAY. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
  22. ^ "James McCartney at Outside Lands 2013". Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  23. ^ McCartney, James (April 2024). "James McCartney on X: 'Primrose Hill' is here! Today I am so very excited to share my latest song co-written by my good friend @seanonolennon. With the release of this song it feels like we're really getting the ball rolling and I am so excited to continue to share music with you". X/Twitter. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  24. ^ "x.com". X (formerly Twitter). Retrieved 31 May 2024.
  25. ^ a b "McCartney, Jr: meditation and vegetarianism". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  26. ^ Transforming Lives From Within Benefit Gala Dinner, David Lynch Foundation UK Archived 4 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ "James McCartney Headlines David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala in London". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2012.

External links[edit]