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Unless you’ve been willfully ignoring all pop culture since 1962, then you probably know who Paul McCartney is. One of the creative forces that made The Beatles one of the biggest musical groups ever has lived almost his whole life in front of a camera. McCartney could have called it a day after The Beatles broke up, but he’s continued making music and is one of the most celebrated talents we’ve ever seen.

Let’s take a photographic journey through Paul McCartney’s amazing life (including the one big reason he gave the thumbs-up on page 16).

1. Early life

Paul McCartney age 6, 1948
Beatle-to-be Paul McCartney (front) at the age of six with brother Mike in 1948. | Keystone/Getty Images

Photo date: Circa 1948

Paul McCartney was born at the height of World War II on June 18, 1942. He has a younger brother, Peter Michael McCartney, who also grew up to be a musician.

Next: All the McCartney boys.