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Paul McCartney is a musician with many talents. Not only can he sing, but he also plays multiple instruments, including the guitar and the piano. However, Paul McCartney says he never truly felt like a real musician until one moment during his time with The Beatles

Paul McCartney learned to be a musician at a young age

Paul McCartneyh performs at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida
Paul McCartney | Alexander Tamargo/WireImage

McCartney grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool, England. He developed a love for music as a child, especially when rock n’ roll began to make its way into their town. While the “Live and Let Die” singer wouldn’t learn the guitar until his teenage years, he did have a piano in his house that he learned how to play. In an interview with Wired, McCartney shares how he taught himself to play the piano

“[My dad] said, ‘You’ve got to get proper lessons,’” McCartney recalled. “So, I took proper lessons and couldn’t really get on with it because the music I was hearing in my head…I couldn’t do that. Now, you know, I think kids learning, continue. I don’t want to tell you not to, but I couldn’t just ever get with it. I kind of learned myself. I just picked out chords on the piano. That would have been when I was about 14 or so.” 

Paul McCartney finally felt ‘like a real musician’ with The Beatles

In an interview on his website,, McCartney revealed the first time he felt like a real musician. The British artist said his idea of musicians mostly came from radio and TV. However, when Paul McCartney was with The Beatles, the band would perform on TV shows where there would be orchestras who would do the theme. He said working with people in the orchestra is when he felt like a “real musician.”

“Well, in the early days, my idea of what a real musician was came from radio or TV shows. As a band, we’d normally be playing in clubs and doing our own thing, not taking ourselves too seriously. Then if we arrived at something like the BBC for a radio show – or more often a TV show – there would be an orchestra that would do the theme tune, and these were the real musicians. These guys could even read music! I think once we were working with those kind of people, and they were liking what we were doing and I felt like we were playing well, that’s when I started to feel like a real musician myself.”

McCartney is one of the most successful musicians ever


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Whether he feels like a real musician or not is irrelevant because Paul McCartney is one of the most successful musicians of all time, even outside of The Beatles. McCartney has had many number one hits, including “Band on the Run,” “Say Say Say,” “Ebony and Ivory,” “Silly Love Songs,” and “With a Little Luck.”

Several of his albums have also charted well, such as Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Ram, McCartney, and Wings Over America. He continues to make music today and performs in front of sold-out crowds.