You say it’s your birthday

Sir Paul turns 80 today, and I am among the millions who fervently hope he will remain with us for many years to come. It’s hard to think of any other individual who has influenced our modern popular music landscape as profoundly.

The musical inventiveness of McCartney was/is astonishing. That inventiveness started in his early Beatles days and has continued in the decades that have follows.

Like J.S. Bach before him, a man whose music said “Yes, you can do this and get away with it,” McCartney inspired everyone who followed to be more daring with rhythm, chromaticism, genre mashing, and all around delightfulness.

After all these years, I remain astonished at the inventive music of Penny Lane. It precisely evokes the mood of playful bemusement of Paul’s childhood, as the lyrics describe him taking in the mysterious antics of adult Liverpudlians.

Or take, for example, the music of For No One. Even if you didn’t understand the lyrics, you would be learning you everything you need to know about the mind numbing depression and lack of closure that accompanies romantic heartbreak.

There are so many examples of this in the man’s canon. His music is literate in a way that so much popular music isn’t. With each song he invents something musically new, expanding the vocabulary.

And I hear he’s also the nicest guy in the world. Sir Paul, Happy Birthday to you.

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