Linda and Paul McCartney
On September 24, 1941, Linda Louise Eastman was born. Her parents were Lee Eastman, who was an attorney, and Louise Eastman. Linda was raised in New York at Murray Hill. The first school she attended was Fox Meadow School. The High School which she attended was Scarsdale High School; in 1959, she graduated. Not long after, she went to the Sarah Lawrence School in Bronxville, New York. Yoko Ono was also a student there at a previous time.
"All my teen years were spent with an ear to the radio," Linda said.
She oftentimes attended shows at the Paramount Theatre in Brooklyn. 'They'd have twenty acts on, twenty-four hours a day. Alan Freed was the MC, but sometimes they'd get Fabian or Bobby Darin to MC. I remember seeing Chuck Berry sing "School Days" for the first time,' she said.
She eventually traveled to Arizona, where she attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, which, at the Tucson Art Centre, she took a small course in photography. She said, “Arizona opened up my eyes to the wonder of light and color.”
During the time that Linda was attending the University, her mother was killed in a plane crash. She was so badly affected and grieved by her mother’s death, that she sought solace and comfort in the arms of a man named Melvin, who was a geophysicist student. She married him, and soon, a little girl named Heather was born to them. However, the marriage between Melvin and Linda was not to last long. Linda said, "When he [Melvin] graduated, he wanted to go to Africa. I said, 'Look, if I don't get on with you here, I'm not going to Africa with you. I won't get on with you there."'
In reference of her marriage to Melvin, Linda stated, "My mother died in a plane crash, and I got married. It was a mistake." Linda and Mel's divorce was reported to have been agreeable.
Linda moved back to New York after her divorce from Melvin, and soon became a receptionist for Town and Country magazine. However, her successful career in photography began one day when she spotted the Rolling Stones on a yacht on the Hudson River. She soon became an avid and well-known photographer, as a result of her unique photographs of the popular bands.
During her photography career, she dated rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix, Steve Winwood, Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison, Neil Young, and Eric Burdon. She had also dated Warren Beatty. Soon she was to meet the love of her life, Paul McCartney.
Linda eventually became a photographer at the popular rock venue, the Fillmore East, and, shortly after, she photographed other admired musicians such as The Beatles, The Doors, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Beach Boys.
In Austria, in 1965, during the filming of Help! she first photographed the Beatles. However, she did not meet them until 1967, in London, during the time when she was photographing the bands Traffic and the Animals. One evening while she was in London, Chas Chandler, ex bass player of the animals, took her to a club called Bag O’ Nails, where she was first introduced to Paul McCartney.
Later on, she met Paul again, when he arrived in New York for press conferences, and to promote Apple. During one of the press conferences, Linda gave Paul her phone number, and some days later, he contacted her and they arranged to meet at Nat Weiss’s flat.
Paul eventually returned once again to London, though, a month later, he went to Los Angeles, where he had another opportunity to meet up with Linda. During this time, they spent a week together. After their time spent together, Linda went back to New York for a while, then, months later, was invited by Paul to London.
Linda recalled, "I came over and we lived together for a while, neither of us talked about marriage, we just loved each other and lived together. We liked each other a lot, so being conventional people, one day I thought: okay, let's get married, we love each other, let's make it definite."
On March 12, 1969, at 9:45 am, Paul married Linda. Mike McCartney, Paul's brother, was supposed to be the best man for their wedding, however, he was an hour late as a result of a train delay from Liverpool. When he arrived, he was saddened by his late arrival and said, "Forgive me, it wasn't my fault. Have you been done?" Mal Evans and Peter Brown were witnesses to the wedding, and little Heather was bridesmaid.
However, none of the Beatles were in attendance for the wedding, as the group was in the midst of separation.
The news of Paul's and Linda's marriage quickly spread throughout the countryside, and on the morning of their wedding, the media and several fans gathered outside Paul's Cavendish Avenue house.
The wedding reception was held at the Ritz hotel, Piccadilly. That same evening, Paul went back to the studios to complete the production of the Jackie Lomax single.
In 1970, soon after the split up of the Beatles, Paul’s debut Album “McCartney” of which the song “Lovely Linda” was the initial track, was released. John Lennon and George Harrison also released solo albums within a year.
Family life was of great importance to Linda and Paul, and during their marriage, they raised four children: Mary who was born in 1969, Stella, who was born in 1971, James Louis, who was born in 1977, and Heather. The children were raised on a farm on Scotland and rural houses in remote settings in Southern England, as the McCartneys preferred a quiet, peaceful, low key setting for their children.
Paul taught Linda to play synthesizer, percussion, and the keyboards, and they eventually released the album “Ram.” Soon, Paul formed a new band called “Wings,” of which his wife was a member, a co-songwriter, and player; Denny Laine was guitarist. The band released a best selling single “Mull of Kin Tyre,” and a popular album “Band on the Run.”
In addition to the song "Lovely Linda," Paul also wrote the song "Maybe I'm Amazed" for her. Also, Paul and Linda wrote the theme “Live and Let Die” for the James Bond film, and they were nominated for a best-song Academy award.
During one of their tours, in 1989-1990, they played for three million people, in 102 shows throughout the world, in thirteen countries. Linda continued to tour with Paul, and in 1997, for Paul’s Grammy-nominated album “Flaming Pie,” she sang the backup vocals.
“Wide Prairie,” produced by Paul McCartney, was Linda’s first solo album. She also wrote the songs on the album, and played a variety of keyboards, and Paul sang back-up vocals, played some instruments, and their son James played lead guitar.
In addition to music, Linda also wrote books, and appeared in the music video “Say Say Say,” which became a number one video in 1983. She also appeared on a British television series entitled “Bread.” “Give my Regards to Broad Street,” a 20th Century Fox film, which Paul McCartney produced, and starred, also gave Linda the opportunity to once again appear in a film.
Exhibitions of Linda’s photography are displayed in numerous galleries throughout the world, and her work is featured in several books, including “Sunprints,” “Roadworks,” and “Sixties.”
Linda’s idea of ready-made vegetarian meals was also a success; in 1991, the meals were on the shelves at popular supermarkets, and as many as five million of the popular meals had been purchased within that same year. To this day, her vegetarian meals are well-loved in the UK, and are displayed on the menu at London’s Hard Rock Cafe.
A book entitled “Linda McCartney's Home Cooking,” was published in 1989, and it became the best-selling vegetarian cookbook in the UK, as well as a best seller in the United States. Other books which were soon published included “Linda McCartney On Tour” and “Linda's Kitchen.”
Linda was also involved in campaigns for animals rights, for animals such as the endangered Lynx, and she was involved in an anti-fur lobby in the UK. She also supported such organizations as “The People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals.”
In addition, she worked for such programs as “Friends Of The Earth” and “The Council For The Protection of Rural England,” in order to help protect the world’s environment.
In 1995, it was announced that Linda McCartney had breast cancer. In an interview, in reference to his wife’s brave fight against cancer, Paul stated that his wife was "the most positive person on earth.” When he was asked about the lasting of their marriage, he said, "I guess it's because we just adore each other."
Paul was knighted in 1997, and Linda became Lady Linda McCartney.
Linda continued to undergo treatments, and in 1998, in spite of those treatments that she had undergone for the cancer, it had spread to her liver, and she died at the family ranch in Tucson, Arizona, on April 17th, 1998. Paul and the children were present at her side during her death.
"The blessing was that the end came quickly and she didn't suffer," Paul said.
Later, Paul McCartney stated, "As a mother, she was the best. We always said that all we wanted for the kids was that they would grow up to have good hearts, and they have."