Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM (born 18 June 1942) is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of the Beatles (1960–1970) and Wings (1971–1981), he has been described by Guinness World Records as "The Most Successful Composer and Recording Artist of All Time", with 60 gold discs and sales of over 100 million albums and 100 million singles. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as a member of the Beatles, and with Lennon formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. After leaving the Beatles, he began a solo career and later formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda Eastman, and singer-songwriter Denny Laine.
According to the BBC, his Beatles song "Yesterday" has been covered by over 2,200 artists—more than any other song. Wings' 1977 release, "Mull of Kintyre", became one of the best-selling singles ever in the UK, and he is "the most successful songwriter" in UK chart history, according to Guinness. As a songwriter or co-writer, he is included on thirty-one number one titles on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2012 he has sold over 15.5 million RIAA certified units in the United States.
He has composed film scores, classical and electronic music, and released a large catalogue of songs as a solo artist. He has taken part in projects to help international charities, and has been an advocate for animal rights, vegetarianism, and music education; he has been active in campaigns against landmines and seal hunting, and supported efforts such as Make Poverty History. His company MPL Communications owns the copyrights to more than 25,000 songs, including those written by Buddy Holly, as well as the publishing rights to the musicals Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line, and Grease. He is one of the UK's wealthiest people, with an estimated fortune of £475 million in 2010. He has been married three times and is the father of five children.