L is for La, La, La Lovely Linda. Born Linda Louise Eastman on 24 September 1941 in New York, Linda Eastman married Paul McCartney on 12 March 1969 in the midst of the beginning of the end of the Beatles. She met him in 1967 in London while on assignment to photograph popular musicians of the era. While she and McCartney unofficially met at the Bag O’Nails club in London, she later became one of the few photographers allowed access to the Beatles during the launch party of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The photo below is one she took during that engagement. It is one of my favorites.
I’m including her as part of the Beatles A to Z because I believe her influence on Paul McCartney helped to ensure the endurance of the Beatles music, especially in the aftermath of John Lennon’s murder in 1980. After their marriage in 1969, Paul adopted Linda’s daughter Heather. After Linda and Heather settled into life in London with Paul, things began to become even more contentious with the Beatles.
According to various accounts, their business dealings became much more complex – and a mess – after the formation of Apple Corps in 1968 and the untimely death of their longtime manager Brian Epstein in 1967. It was the additional burden of the business aspect of the Beatles, along with desires on all sides to head in different directions artistically, that lead to the infamous breakup of the Beatles in April 1970. Linda McCartney unwittingly found herself in the middle of it all.
On 10 April 1970 Paul McCartney formally announced the breakup of the Beatles, releasing his first solo album McCartney. The first song, of course, is “Lovely Linda,” which is the shortest song in the extensive McCartney catalog at 42 sec. The entire album sets the stage for things to come. Paul McCartney did all vocals and instruments himself, with the exception of a few vocals provided by Linda. By this time, the McCartneys, which now included daughter Mary and would soon include daughter Stella, had moved to Scotland in order to get away from the legal nightmare that was the Beatles.
It was during this time in Scotland that Paul and Linda McCartney began to form the idea of putting together a new band. I don’t know how, but somehow Paul McCartney persuaded his wife, who had no musical training at all, to form a band with him. I can’t imagine the amount of courage it would’ve taken to get on stage for the first time with her very famous husband. While it took a few years to get things right, the band the two ultimately formed, Wings, went on to be hugely successful during its ten year run, 1971-1981. That band deserves a series of posts in and of itself.
In later years, Linda created a line of vegetarian food and published a book of her photography called Linda McCartney’s Sixties: Portrait of an Era in 1993. She and Paul eventually had three children, Mary (1969), Stella (1971), and James (1977). In 1995 Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately she lost that battle on 17 April 1998 in Tuscon, AZ. There is so much more to say about Linda McCartney that I do plan an additional post focused on her photography, which is amazing, and the documentary Wingspan: Hits and History, which focuses on the McCartney’s band Wings.
- K is for Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- Yet Another Sunday (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- F is for Fab Four/For No One (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- J is for John Lennon (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- B is for Beatleology (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- E is for Eleanor Rigby (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- A is for Abbey Road/And In The End (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- G is for George Harrison (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- The Beatles 2.0: Paul McCartney’s Son Tries to Kill Music (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)
- Paul McCartney, The Fresh Air Interview (russelllindsey.wordpress.com)