Once a pot-smoking counterculture rebel, “Sir Paul” is very much part of the British establishment now, closing Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee concert earlier this month with a mix of favorites that included a raucous “All My Loving,” one of the Beatles’ first smash hits. He’s also preparing for a featured role closing the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27 – just another global audience measuring a billion or more for one of the most popular performers in pop history. It’s been a strong year for McCartney, who in October married his third wife, dark-haired American heiress Nancy Shevell, closing the book on his failed union and messy divorce from second wife Heather Mills. His first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 1998. In February, he released “Kisses on the Bottom,” a new album featuring a mix of covers and new songs. McCartney has admitted dyeing his hair (which sometimes seems to have an odd burgundy tint), but his musical ability has not diminished with age. He can still captivate a large arena with a simple acoustic performance of “Blackbird” and can shift gears at the drop of a hat for a mean, Vegas-style, pyrotechnic-aided rendition of “Live and Let Die,” a James Bond theme song that has become a favorite part of his repertoire. His shows feature one hit after another, as McCartney rarely takes a break or even a sip of water. John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono tweeted birthday wishes to McCartney Monday, and Paul Weller made a one-day only digital release of the Beatles’ song “Birthday” as a tribute, with proceeds going to charity. In the run-up to his birthday, McCartney, a longtime vegetarian, urged the public to cut back on meat consumption to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and ease the global warming crisis.

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