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Sir Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney is the most famous and influential lefthander of our generation. He became visible to the world in the early 1960’s as a member of the Beatles, and many people picked him as their favorite member of the band because he was handsome, friendly, almost always smiling, and he was a great singer, song writer and lefthanded guitar player. But other people were not so sure about him… “There is something wrong with him”, or “He just doesn’t seem right”.
As a child, McCartney played piano and trumpet before trying his hand at playing guitar. Like so many other lefthanded people, he found it frustrating as he tried playing right-handed. After seeing a picture of American Country/Western Musician Slim Whitman playing lefthanded, he realized that he should be playing lefthanded and he reversed the strings, “and the rest is history”.
In a 1963 interview when asked about being lefthaneded, McCartney said "The only thing I couldn't cure myself of was being left-handed. I do everything with my left hand, and no matter how I try I can't change the habit. I just seem to do everything back to front. I used to even write backwards.” This was not exactly a ringing endorsement of being lefthanded, but his actions through the years have spoken much louder than those words.
For over 60 years, first as a member of the Beatles, then as a member of Wings, and then as a solo artist, McCartney has been recording and performing and playing various models of lefthanded bass guitars, acoustic guitars and electric guitars. His success inspired many people who had previously been told that “they should either play righthanded or not play at all”. Eventually guitar makers began to make more lefthanded guitars, resulting in more choices and better prices, and eliminating the need for lefthanders to restring their guitars or play them upside down.
McCartney is an 18-time Grammy Award Winner (including 9-times with the Beatles), and he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Beatle and as a solo artist. Among all his other awards and honors, in 1997 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his lifetime of achievements and contributions to music.
McCartney is 80 years old at the time of this article, and still going strong and showing no sign of slowing down. His two most recent album releases, Egypt Station in 2018 and McCartney III in 2020 have received critical acclaim as some of his best work of the past 20 years. He and his band continue to tour and they recently headlined the 2022 Glastonbury Festival.
So congratulations to Sir Paul McCartney, and thanks for all of the great music and for being an inspiration to so many other lefthanded people.