McCartney wrote many songs with John Lennon, though (excepting some of their early songs) they rarely wrote a song together; rather, one of them would write most of it and the other would finish it or make a few key changes; their partnership was more a competition than a collaboration. Nonetheless, due to an early agreement between the two, all Beatles songs written by either of them are credited to both. On Beatles records, the credit was "Lennon-McCartney", on his own records it was "Paul McCartney and John Lennon".
One of McCartney's greatest songs, covered by a record number of artists, is the poignant ballad "Yesterday". McCartney conceived the melody in a dream, (coupled with the lyric "Scrambled Eggs / Oh my darling you've got lovely legs") and was not sure for some time that it was original.
In the years of the Beatles' greatest popularity, Paul was generally regarded as the best-looking and was the one who aroused most interest in female audiences. Ironically, he was the last to marry, and the only one never to divorce. Whilst involved in a long term relationship with actress Jane Asher, McCartney met and fell in love with Linda Eastman, a photojournalist; he and Jane split and Paul married Linda in 1969, while still a member of the Beatles. He adopted Linda's daughter (from her first marriage), and they went on to have three other children together. They remained happily married until her death from breast cancer in 1998.
In the latter years of the Beatles' reign over pop-culture, McCartney wrote several universal ballads such as "Hey Jude", "Let It Be", and "The Long and Winding Road".
After the Beatles broke up, Paul immediately began a solo career, literally driving around Britain in a van, looking for somewhere to perform with his makeshift new band. That band developed into Wings and produced a number of notable singles, including "Band on the Run", "Uncle Albert", "Live and Let Die" and "Listen To What The Man Said"; he insisted that Linda be in his band, in spite of her insistence that she was not talented enough, so they did not have to be apart while he toured. After hearing Linda sing, many of Paul's fans seconded her opinion. Linda later became a valuable member of the band and an inspiring musician throughout the remainder of her life.
Paul and his wife became outspoken vegetarians and animal-rights activists after owning cattle and watching them outside the window as they cooked and ate meat. In 1991, Linda introduced her own line of vegetarian meals to the general market.
In 1995, McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr released the first of the Beatles' Anthology albums, consisting of alternate takes and live recordings of Beatles songs; volumes two and three were released the next year. This was the first album of new material released since their last album Let It Be in 1970. The Anthology certainly came as a surprise when it was released fifteen years after the death of former band mate, John Lennon.
In the 1990s McCartney was involved in a high profile feud with John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. Their dispute centred around the writing credits for a number of Beatles songs. He had wanted to change the credits for some songs from the traditional 'Lennon/McCartney' to 'Paul McCartney and John Lennon'. Yoko Ono was personally offended by this move which she felt broke an agreement that the two had made while Lennon was still alive to credit songs as a team. The two other Beatles agreed that the credits should remain as they always had been and McCartney withdrew his request.
The feud was reminiscent of the disagreement that had marred McCartney's relationship with Lennon for some years after the break up of the Beatles. Both had written angry references to the other into their songs, and had criticized each other personally.
On March 11, 1997, Paul, suddenly Sir Paul McCartney, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and in 1999 was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist (he was inducted with the rest of the Beatles in 1988). In 1997 he also made his first venture into classical music with Standing Stone, a work that received a mixed response.
After Linda's death in 1998, Paul pledged to continue her line of food and keep it free from GMOs. Paul continues to release albums (Run Devil Run, Wingspan, Driving Rain), as well as campaign for the groups Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, among others. Paul and Linda had three children—one, Stella McCartney, is an award winning fashion designer and animal rights activist.
He married Heather Mills, a former model and anti-landmines campaigner, in June 2002 in a highly elaborate ceremony at a castle in rural Ireland. Under her influence, he has campaigned against landmines himself, and donated substantial sums to the cause. In early 2003, for example, he held a personal concert for the wife of banker Ralph Whitworth and donated one million dollars to Adopt-a-Landmine. Mills and McCartney had their first child, Beatrice Millie, on October 28, 2003.
McCartney continues to tour throughout the United States and the rest of the world. McCartney says he hopes to keep playing even after he is 64, a reference to the Beatles song, When I'm Sixty-Four.