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Happy birthday Macca! A look back at Sir Paul McCartney’s life as he turns 78

He is beloved by millions of fans around the world.

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Sir Paul McCartney is celebrating his 78th birthday (Ian West/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney is celebrating his 78th birthday (Ian West/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney is celebrating his 78th birthday (Ian West/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney is 78.

The beloved former Beatle marks the milestone on Thursday and appears to be celebrating it in the US with wife Nancy Shevell.

They were pictured together in affluent New York resort The Hamptons this week. Liverpool-born Sir Paul is one of the most influential figures in popular music and has enjoyed an almost unrivalled career lasting more than 60 years.

To celebrate his birthday, here are pictures from throughout his life:

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This grainy snap, thought to have been taken in 1959, captures a moment in rock ‘n’ roll history – Sir Paul McCartney (left), John Lennon and George Harrison rehearsing as The Quarrymen, a year before they evolved into the Beatles (Tracks Ltd/PA)

This grainy snap, thought to have been taken in 1959, captures a moment in rock ‘n’ roll history – Sir Paul McCartney (left), John Lennon and George Harrison rehearsing as The Quarrymen, a year before they evolved into the Beatles (Tracks Ltd/PA)

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This grainy snap, thought to have been taken in 1959, captures a moment in rock ‘n’ roll history – Sir Paul McCartney (left), John Lennon and George Harrison rehearsing as The Quarrymen, a year before they evolved into the Beatles (Tracks Ltd/PA)

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Seven years later and a world away, Sir Paul (waving) and his bandmates, now including drummer Sir Ringo Starr, are the biggest pop group on the planet. They are pictured here boarding a plane in London in 1966 (PA)

Seven years later and a world away, Sir Paul (waving) and his bandmates, now including drummer Sir Ringo Starr, are the biggest pop group on the planet. They are pictured here boarding a plane in London in 1966 (PA)

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Seven years later and a world away, Sir Paul (waving) and his bandmates, now including drummer Sir Ringo Starr, are the biggest pop group on the planet. They are pictured here boarding a plane in London in 1966 (PA)

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A year on and the Beatles are still the world’s number one band. Sir Paul, on the left, is joined by John, Ringo and George for June 1967 rehearsals for the international television programme Our World (PA)

A year on and the Beatles are still the world’s number one band. Sir Paul, on the left, is joined by John, Ringo and George for June 1967 rehearsals for the international television programme Our World (PA)

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A year on and the Beatles are still the world’s number one band. Sir Paul, on the left, is joined by John, Ringo and George for June 1967 rehearsals for the international television programme Our World (PA)

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It is May 1974 and Sir Paul is no longer a Beatle. The band broke millions of hearts when splitting acrimoniously in 1970. Sir Paul is pictured at Heathrow airport with wife Linda and his daughter Stella, today a major fashion designer (PA)

It is May 1974 and Sir Paul is no longer a Beatle. The band broke millions of hearts when splitting acrimoniously in 1970. Sir Paul is pictured at Heathrow airport with wife Linda and his daughter Stella, today a major fashion designer (PA)

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It is May 1974 and Sir Paul is no longer a Beatle. The band broke millions of hearts when splitting acrimoniously in 1970. Sir Paul is pictured at Heathrow airport with wife Linda and his daughter Stella, today a major fashion designer (PA)

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In 1983 two of the world’s biggest stars – Sir Paul and Michael Jackson – got together in the studio to work on their duet Say Say Say (Linda McCartney/PA)

In 1983 two of the world’s biggest stars – Sir Paul and Michael Jackson – got together in the studio to work on their duet Say Say Say (Linda McCartney/PA)

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In 1983 two of the world’s biggest stars – Sir Paul and Michael Jackson – got together in the studio to work on their duet Say Say Say (Linda McCartney/PA)

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Sir Paul sits at a piano while rehearsing for a solo appearance at the 1986 Royal Variety Performance at London’s Theatre Royal (PA)

Sir Paul sits at a piano while rehearsing for a solo appearance at the 1986 Royal Variety Performance at London’s Theatre Royal (PA)

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Sir Paul sits at a piano while rehearsing for a solo appearance at the 1986 Royal Variety Performance at London’s Theatre Royal (PA)

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In 1991 Sir Paul and first wife Linda launched the UK’s first-ever National Vegetarian Day in London. The couple were both passionate about animal rights and it is a cause Sir Paul continued to champion following Linda’s death in 1998 at the age of 56 (PA)

In 1991 Sir Paul and first wife Linda launched the UK’s first-ever National Vegetarian Day in London. The couple were both passionate about animal rights and it is a cause Sir Paul continued to champion following Linda’s death in 1998 at the age of 56 (PA)

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In 1991 Sir Paul and first wife Linda launched the UK’s first-ever National Vegetarian Day in London. The couple were both passionate about animal rights and it is a cause Sir Paul continued to champion following Linda’s death in 1998 at the age of 56 (PA)

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Arise, Sir Macca! The lad from Liverpool became a knight of the realm in 1997 when the Queen honoured him for services to music. It would not be his last visit to Buckingham Palace (Adam Butler/PA)

Arise, Sir Macca! The lad from Liverpool became a knight of the realm in 1997 when the Queen honoured him for services to music. It would not be his last visit to Buckingham Palace (Adam Butler/PA)

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Arise, Sir Macca! The lad from Liverpool became a knight of the realm in 1997 when the Queen honoured him for services to music. It would not be his last visit to Buckingham Palace (Adam Butler/PA)

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It is 2002 and Sir Paul is joined by his bride-to-be Heather Mills, as they prepare to tie the knot at a church in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland. However, Sir Paul’s second marriage was not to have a happy ending (Haydn West/PA)

It is 2002 and Sir Paul is joined by his bride-to-be Heather Mills, as they prepare to tie the knot at a church in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland. However, Sir Paul’s second marriage was not to have a happy ending (Haydn West/PA)

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It is 2002 and Sir Paul is joined by his bride-to-be Heather Mills, as they prepare to tie the knot at a church in Glaslough, County Monaghan, Ireland. However, Sir Paul’s second marriage was not to have a happy ending (Haydn West/PA)

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Sir Paul McCartney and Ms Mills went through a bitter split in 2008. He is pictured here leaving London’s High Court after reaching a settlement of £24.3 million in their divorce deal (Max Nash/PA)

Sir Paul McCartney and Ms Mills went through a bitter split in 2008. He is pictured here leaving London’s High Court after reaching a settlement of £24.3 million in their divorce deal (Max Nash/PA)

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Sir Paul McCartney and Ms Mills went through a bitter split in 2008. He is pictured here leaving London’s High Court after reaching a settlement of £24.3 million in their divorce deal (Max Nash/PA)

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A year on from his draining divorce, Sir Paul looked back to his best while promoting the food campaign Meat Free Monday alongside his daughters Mary (left) and Stella (right) (Carl Court/PA)

A year on from his draining divorce, Sir Paul looked back to his best while promoting the food campaign Meat Free Monday alongside his daughters Mary (left) and Stella (right) (Carl Court/PA)

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A year on from his draining divorce, Sir Paul looked back to his best while promoting the food campaign Meat Free Monday alongside his daughters Mary (left) and Stella (right) (Carl Court/PA)

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Sir Paul was all smiles again in 2011 as he married his third wife, American businesswoman Nancy Shevell. They tied the knot at Marylebone Town Hall, where Sir Paul walked down the aisle with his first wife, Linda (John Stillwell/PA)

Sir Paul was all smiles again in 2011 as he married his third wife, American businesswoman Nancy Shevell. They tied the knot at Marylebone Town Hall, where Sir Paul walked down the aisle with his first wife, Linda (John Stillwell/PA)

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Sir Paul was all smiles again in 2011 as he married his third wife, American businesswoman Nancy Shevell. They tied the knot at Marylebone Town Hall, where Sir Paul walked down the aisle with his first wife, Linda (John Stillwell/PA)

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Twenty years after being knighted, the Queen made Sir Paul a Companion of Honour. He paid tribute to his parents after receiving the award (Yui Mok/PA)

Twenty years after being knighted, the Queen made Sir Paul a Companion of Honour. He paid tribute to his parents after receiving the award (Yui Mok/PA)

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Twenty years after being knighted, the Queen made Sir Paul a Companion of Honour. He paid tribute to his parents after receiving the award (Yui Mok/PA)

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Hey Grandude! It is 2019 and perhaps the world’s most beloved pop star released a children’s book, inspired by the nickname his eight grandchildren gave him (Ian West/PA)

Hey Grandude! It is 2019 and perhaps the world’s most beloved pop star released a children’s book, inspired by the nickname his eight grandchildren gave him (Ian West/PA)

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Hey Grandude! It is 2019 and perhaps the world’s most beloved pop star released a children’s book, inspired by the nickname his eight grandchildren gave him (Ian West/PA)

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