Paul McCartney on Life, Art and Business After the Beatles

He’s No. 1 in Billboard chart history with The Beatles — plus No. 12 on his own. Now, at 77, Paul McCartney is writing a musical and reclaiming the rights to his Beatles songs in the United States: “If you’re in it, why not win it?”

It’s hard to imagine Paul McCartney coming into the office. He has always been casually cool — first as a mop-topped Beatle, then as the laid-back leader of Wings, and most recently as a stadium-filling solo star. But on a recent sunny London Monday, in the Soho Square townhouse headquarters of his company MPL, there he is, humming to himself and dancing slowly across his cozy office — imposing desk on one end, comfortable sofa on the other — as a Wurlitzer jukebox plays “Friendly Persuasion” by Pat Boone. “I like the melody,” he says.

At 77, McCartney is well past the age — to say nothing of the tax bracket — at which most men are content to stay home. And it would be hard to argue that he wasn’t entitled to take it easy: The Beatles are officially the No. 1 act on Billboard’s ranking of the top-charting artists of all time, and he’s No. 12 as a solo artist (including his work with Wings). Yet he’s as active as ever. Last fall he released Egypt Station, which became his first No. 1 album in the United States since 1982’s Tug of War, after which he embarked on a Freshen Up tour that grossed $129.2 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. He still comes into the office, though, “maybe a day a week,” he says. “And I’m on the phone and email.”

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