Sir James Paul McCartney, CH, MBE (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He gained worldwide fame as the bass guitarist and singer for the rock band the Beatles, widely considered the most popular and influential group in the history of pop music. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon is the most celebrated of the post-war era. After the band's break-up, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.
McCartney has been recognised as one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. More than 2,200 artists have covered his Beatles song "Yesterday", making it one of the most covered songs in popular music history. Wings' 1977 release "Mull of Kintyre" is one of the all-time best-selling singles in the UK. A two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988, and as a solo artist in 1999), and a 21-time Grammy Award winner, McCartney has written, or co-written, 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009[update] he has 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr all received appointment as Members of the Order of the British Empire in 1965 and, in 1997, McCartney was knighted for services to music. McCartney is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated net worth of US$1.2 billion.
McCartney has released an extensive catalogue of songs as a solo artist and has composed classical and electronic music. He has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, seal hunting, land mines, vegetarianism, poverty, and music education. He has married three times and is the father of five children.