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James McCartney (Father)
Paul’s father, generally known as Jim. He was born at 8 Fishguard Road, Everton, Liverpool, on 7 July 1902, the son of Joe and Florence McCartney.
He had two brothers and three sisters. A bad fall at the age of ten resulted in a broken eardrum, but this didn’t prevent him from learning to play the piano by ear. He started work at the age of fourteen as a sample boy at A. Hanney & Co, the cotton brokers of Chapel Street, Liverpool, where he received six shillings a week.
At the age of seventeen he began playing ragtime music and his first public appearance with a band was at St Catherine’s Hall, Vine Street. Even in those days gimmicks were considered useful in the promotion of bands, so they called themselves the Masked Melody Makers and wore black masks.
But when they began to sweat, the dye from the masks ran down their faces, which put paid to that. Dressed in dinner jackets, they became known as Jim Mac’s Band and performed locally for about five years, one of their notable appearances being at a local cinema where the film The Queen Of Sheba was playing. Their brief was to provide musical background for the silent movie. It was during this period that Jim penned an instrumental number called ‘Eloise’.
At the age of 28 he was promoted to the post of salesman and his earnings rocketed to £250 per year. On 15 April 1941, at the age of 39, he married Mary Mohin at St Swithin’s Roman Catholic Church in the Gillmoss area of West Derby in Liverpool and they moved into furnished rooms in Anfield. The couple were to have two children, Paul and Michael.
The cotton exchange was closed during the war years and Jim went to work at Napiers, an engineering firm which produced engines for the Sabre plane. During the evenings he was on call as a voluntary fire fighter. At the end of the war he found work as an inspector for Liverpool Corporation’s Cleansing Department and later returned to his job at the cotton exchange.
His younger son Michael was to comment: ‘we both owe him a lot. He’s a very good man, and he’s a very stubborn man…. it would have been easy for him to have gone off with other birds when Mum died, or to have gone out getting drunk every night. But he didn’t. He stayed home and looked after us.
In 1964 Paul asked his father to retire. He was then earning ten pounds a week. Paul also suggested that he move into a nice house ‘over the water’ and bought Rembrandt, a detached house in Baskervyle Road, Heswall, Cheshire, for £8,750.
On Jim’s 62nd birthday, the same year, Paul presented him with a horse called Drake’s Drum. Two years later be proudly led the steed into the winner’s enclosure at Aintree after it had won the race immediately preceding the Grand National.
Paul was also to delight his father when he put the words to ‘Eloise’ and recorded the number in Nashville under the title ‘Walking in The Park With Eloise’.
Jim was remarried on 24 November 1964 to a widow, Angela Williams. Over the next ten years Jim became crippled by arthritis and had to move to a nearby bungalow. As a result, Paul bought Rembrandt back from him.
He died on 18 March 1976. Paul was performing on a European tour with Wings at the time. Jim’s second wife Angela told Mike McCartney that just before he died, Jim had said, ‘I’ll be with Mary soon.’ He was cremated at Landican Cemetery, near Heswall, on 22 March.
Copyright: Bill Harry, from 'The Beatles Encyclopedia', published by Virgin Publications.
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