Discovering Paul McCartney’s Guitar Heroes

Paul McCartney has established himself as one of the music industry’s best. He formed the infamous Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership with John Lennon, which would immensely set the standards in music to great lengths.

But just like the rest of us, Macca had to start somewhere else and he got lucky he’s had a few heroes to look up for.

In the early-Beatle days, McCartney and Lennon played versions of Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly during the band’s earliest gigs and jam sessions for cover. These stylings would soon manifest in their earlier writings and would help them catapult to fame.

McCartney spoke on the wide range of artists who influenced him as a young man in a 2007 interview with Classic Rock Magazine. “I listened a lot to Lead Belly, to all of those guys,” Macca answered. “But I never got stuck in one groove. One day it would be, ‘Oh wow, Chuck Berry! ’ and the next, ‘Oh wow, Scotty Moore! ’ I was a bit of a magpie, really, picking up various styles and gradually assimilating them.”

Moreover, he also revealed the guitar heroes that helped him hone his talents in finger-picking the guitar, and later on the bass instrument. “Well, my interest in fingerpicking came from Chet Atkins,” Paul continued. “I remember a lot of us tried to learn ‘Trambone’, an instrumental that’s on an album of his called Down Home. Otherwise, I loved Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Lonnie Donegan’s guitarist, Denny Wright, who was fantastic. I liked acoustic folk playing by Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.”

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