Mike McGear, de jongere broer van Paul McCartney (foto YouTube), viert vandaag zijn 75ste verjaardag. Hij is vooral bekend vanwege twee hitjes uit de jaren zestig met de groep Scaffold.

Mike McGear werd geboren als Mike McCartney. Net als de twee jaar oudere Paul he was born in the Walton General Hospital in Liverpool, where their mother, Mary McCartney, had previously worked as a nursing sister in charge of the maternity ward. The children were baptised in their mother’s Catholic faith, even though their father was a former Protestant, who had turned agnostic. Religion was not emphasised in the household, so neither Paul nor Michael was enrolled in a Catholic school as his father, Jim McCartney, believed that they leaned too much towards religion instead of education.
At age 17 (toen zijn broer dus al bij The Beatles speelde, maar voorlopig nog zonder veel succes) McCartney started his first job at ‘Jackson’s the Tailors’ in Ranelagh Street, Liverpool. The year after, he took an apprenticeship at ‘Andre Bernard’, a hairdresser for ladies in the same street. So at the time the Beatles became successful, Mike McCartney was working as an apprentice hairdresser. However, he was also a member of the Liverpool comedy-poetry-music group The Scaffold, which included Roger McGough and John Gorman, and had formed in 1962 (the year of the Beatles’ first hit). McCartney decided to use a stage name, so as not to appear to be riding his brother’s coattails. After first dubbing himself “Mike Blank”, he settled on “Mike McGear”, “gear” being the Liverpudlian equivalent of “fab”. The band was subsequently signed to Parlophone, the Beatles’ label.
The Scaffold recorded a number of UK hit singles between 1966 and 1974, the most successful being the 1968 Christmas number one single, “Lily the Pink”, a modernisation of a folk song titled “The Ballad of Lydia Pinkham”. McGear composed the band’s next biggest hit, 1967’s “Thank U Very Much”. Although each of them was a talented composer and distinctive vocal performer, only McGear could even loosely be described as a professional musician and their more musical endeavours were usually augmented with contributions by session musicians. Elton John, Jack Bruce and Graham Nash were among the session musicians who performed on The Scaffold’s early records.
In 1968, he and McGough released a “duo” album (McGough & McGear) that included the usual Scaffold mix of lyrics, poems and comedy. The Scaffold ended up hosting a TV programme, which limited the musical portion of their career and they were dropped by Parlophone. McCartney then signed to Island Records and released a solo musical album entitled “Woman” in 1972 and a year later The Scaffold subsequently released their own album on the label called, “Fresh Liver”.
The Scaffold then added several other members and released two albums on Island in 1973 as Grimms, an acronym for Gorman-Roberts-Innes-McGear-McGough-Stanshall [kenners zullen een aantal namen van The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band herkennen]. However, McGear quit Grimms after the second album due to tension between himself and one of the poets added to the group.
McGear then signed to Warner Bros. Records and in 1974 released his second “serious” musical album, “McGear”, in which he collaborated with his brother Paul and Paul’s band Wings. Although four singles were released from these sessions, only “Leave It” enjoyed any moderate chart success (No. 36 UK). However, also recorded during McGear’s sessions with Wings was a Scaffold “reunion” song, “Liverpool Lou”, which became The Scaffold’s last top-ten hit. This led to the group’s re-formation in 1974, and they recorded and performed together through to 1977.
Individually, McGear released a few more singles. His final release, while still using the name Mike McGear, was the 1981 release “No Lar Di Dar (Is Lady Di)”. This was a satirical tribute to Lady Diana Spencer, released at the time of her wedding to Prince Charles.
In the 1980s, after retiring from music, Mike McCartney decided to end his use of the “McGear” pseudonym and revert to use of his family name.
McCartney was a photographer during his entire musical career, and has continued with photography since then. Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein nicknamed him “Flash Harry” in the early 1960s because he was always taking pictures with a flash gun. He has published books of pictures that he took of the Beatles backstage and on tour, and in 2008 brought out a limited edition book of photos he took spontaneously backstage at “Live8”. In 2005, McCartney exhibited a collection of photographs that he had taken in the 1960s, called “Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life”. In addition, an exhibition book was published of the collection.
The McCartneys have a stepsister, Ruth, whom their father Jim adopted in 1964 when he married her mother, Angela Williams. Mike married (in 1968) and later divorced Angela Fishwick. They had three daughters: Benna, Theran and Abigail Faith. He later married Rowena Horne; they have three sons: Joshua, Max and Sonny. [Wikipedia]

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