Paul McCartney just turned 81. Which means he was born in 1942. He was born into what undoubtedly seemed to his parents as a world at war. And war wasn’t something that was happening elsewhere: the Nazis had bombed London and other cities from September 1940 to May 1941. Liverpool was one of the most heavily bombed cities.
1942 was a non-trivial year in terms of births of musicians: Brian Jones*, John Cale, Arthur Brown, Ian Dury, Spencer Davis, Andy Summers. And recording engineer Glyn Johns was also born in 1942; he was to work with The Beatles on the Let It Be recording and was the person who suggested that the band perform on the roof of the Apple Studio building.
Assuming that when one is around 16 the music that one listens to probably has a bigger effect overall than music heard at any other time in one’s life (i.e., childhood is behind and the edge of adulthood is sharply there), it is interesting to note some of the biggest songs in the U.K. in 1958:
- “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis was the first record to debut at #1 on the UK Singles Chart
- “Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers spent two months in the top 10
- “Chicago” by Frank Sinatra sold big for three months
And while expected musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and Little Richard had hits in the UK in 1958, it is worth knowing that Paul Anka, Harry Belafonte, Pat Boone, and Perry Como did, as well.
Quite an array of musical influences.