John, Jim, George and Ringo!
December 24, 2012 5:56 AM   Subscribe

When did Paul McCartney start going by the name Paul? Has this ever been addressed in biographies or interviews?

His full name is James Paul McCartney. His father's name was also James. Did they just start calling him Paul immediately, to distinguish between father and son? Did anyone ever call him James (or Jim or whatever)?
posted by paleyellowwithorange to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He has always been called Paul. Not sure if to distinguish from his dad but he has never been called James.
posted by shaarog at 6:03 AM on December 24, 2012

Not to get all Wikipedia on you, but do you have a source for that?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:31 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

There are several documentaries floating around with interviews from school buddies of John/Paul/George, and they always refer to Paul as Paul and don't mention anything about him being James at any point.

FWIW, most of my Irish uncles (who were born in the UK and are about the same age as Paul McCartney) have their dad's first name and have gone by their middle names since birth.
posted by apparently at 7:47 AM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Paul has always been Paul. I don't have a source but am basing this on the several dozen Beatles biographies I read between the ages of eleven and fifteen. Wikipedia, in the article on Paul's parents, says:
Although registered on his birth certificate as James Paul McCartney, their first son was known as Paul thereafter.[16]
With a citation:
Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles – The Biography. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-80352-6. Apparently this information appears on page 76.

Keep in mind that not only was Paul's dad Jim or James, but his great-great and great-grandfathers, too. And now his son.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:32 AM on December 24, 2012

Also, if you're interested in reading primary source accounts about Paul's early life, I'd most recommend the photo books by his brother, particularly Mike Mac's White and Blacks and The Macs: Mike McCartney's Family Album. On a related note, Michael is his brother's middle name as well; his first name is Peter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:42 AM on December 24, 2012

Keep in mind that not only was Paul's dad Jim or James, but his great-great and great-grandfathers, too. And now his son.

I know an English person who was registered at birth with one name, shared by his father, and possibly further back. Each of these people went by some other name. When he had his first son, he was given the same name too, but even in the birth announcement he mentioned that he would be called by some other name (not his middle name either).

I don't know how common this is in England, but calling sons with the same name "junior" or "II" is much rarer than in the U.S., in my experience.
posted by grouse at 4:06 PM on December 24, 2012

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