Happy birthday, sir.
Happy birthday, sir.

Paul McCartney was born 76 years ago today, on June 18, 1942 in Liverpool. This fact may not seem significant. It may, indeed, not even be significant. But since the relative serenity of World War II, when Nazis at least had the decency to wear armbands, seems increasingly distant, some of us find it worth remembering that the birthday boy in question constituted somewhere between 25 and 49 percent (depending on the phase) of the four-headed Shakespeare that defined sublimity for the second half of the 20th century.

Then they broke up, as every band must, and they all went solo. Paul never again had a good haircut, but he did have some truly excellent songs. I compiled a few below because even though his reputation has been massively refurbished in the past 15-20 years, it's still all too easy for people to dismiss McCartney as the least cool Beatle. But even if you limit the discussion to the first post-Beatles decade, I say that Paul had the best solo career of the four. But I'm biased because ever since I was able to form cogent thoughts about things, I have known that Paul, through no fault of mine or his, is and has always been my Beatle. (Which is why I'm not deputizing "Birthday" into the discussion.)