8 Surprising Facts About Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney (left) and Ringo Starr of The Beatles
Paul McCartney (left) and Ringo Starr of The Beatles / Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Whether with The Beatles, Wings or solo, Paul McCartney has given us scores of classic songs that will live on through the ages, as long as music is enjoyed. Here are a few things you may not have known about Sir Paul McCartney, "The Cute One."

1. Paul McCartney twice failed auditions to be a choir boy.

Yes, the world's most popular singer flunked his choir boy auditions—not once, but twice. Paul claims that he deliberately tried to fail one of the auditions, because he didn't want to be a choir boy.

And yes, let's be fair—despite the two rejections, Paul did eventually become a choir boy at his church.

2. Paul McCartney's voice cracked in his debut as a Beatle.

Paul McCartney officially played his first gig as a member of The Quarrymen (the group that evolved into The Beatles) on October 18, 1957. The concert took place at the Conservative Club, and for Paul's first solo, he was (naturally) a bit nervous. His voice kept cracking, much to the gleeful delight and derisive laughter of bandmate John Lennon.

3. Paul McCartney was jailed in 1960 after lighting a condom on fire.

In 1960, The Beatles were playing in Hamburg, Germany, but after local complaints, the band was told to leave the country. Paul and bandmate Pete Best were packing in a dark room and lit a condom to get some light. Accused of trying to set the building on fire, they were arrested by the local police and spent a few hours in jail before heading back to England.

4. Paul McCartney is an accomplished painter.

In the past two decades, Paul has had over 70 of his paintings exhibited at the Walker Art Gallery in his hometown of Liverpool.

5. Paul McCartney played to what's believed to be the largest paid audience in recorded history.

In 1989, Paul played a solo concert to a crowd of 350,000-plus in Brazil.

6. Paul McCartney witnessed the 9/11 attacks.

On September 11, 2001, Paul was on an airplane in New York City. He looked out the window and saw one of the planes crash into the Twin Towers. Paul said that after he got off the plane, he went right to a bar to get a drink.

7. Paul McCartney is an honorary Detective with the NYPD.

Paul was made an honorary detective by the NYPD after giving a charity concert for 9/11.

8. Paul McCartney's first instrument was not a guitar.

The first musical instrument Paul played was the trumpet. His first trumpet was a gift from his dad for his 14th birthday. But Paul soon traded the trumpet for a guitar. You can't sing while playing the trumpet.