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We still love you, Sir Paul McCartney. Oh yes we do!
Fans in New York and New Jersey (and likely from many other places) wrapped their arms around beloved adopted son Paul McCartney on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium with an organic, heartfelt “Happy Birthday” rendition for the global entertainment and pop culture icon.
McCartney turns 80 on Saturday, June 18, 2022 — a fact that the 60,000 people in attendance apparently knew without being prompted.
The still-vibrant “Cute Beatle” closed out his 13-city “Got Back” tour of the United States not far from where America’s never-ending love affair with all things Beatles began in New York City nearly 60 years ago.
While McCartney spoke briefly between his tunes halfway into the show, a building roar erupted from the upper decks of the end-zone seats opposite the stage. It first appeared to be a ruckus of some kind — the swelling, disorienting murmur such as those heard when a fight erupts.
But this commotion was no fight — it was an eruption of glee.
Generations of McCartney fans were singing “Happy Birthday” to the songwriting genius two days early. The murmur quickly spread from the cheap seats and around the arena.
Most of the fans singing to Sir Paul were not even alive when he and the other Beatles conquered America in 1964.
The Beatles famously arrived in the U.S. on Feb. 7 that year at JFK International Airport, about 19 miles east of MetLife Stadium, to the breathless roar of screaming young fans.
More than 70 million Americans — nearly 40 percent of the entire population of the U.S. — tuned in two nights later to watch the band perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” from Midtown Manhattan.
“We know what songs you love” — Paul McCartney
The Beatles at one point that year held down the top five spots on the American pop charts — a feat unmatched in music history.
America’s obsession with The Beatles and their music has now transcended two and even three new generations.
At one point during the MetLife show on Thursday, a couple and their three small children — perhaps none older than 8 or 9 — danced gleefully as McCartney performed “Love Me Do.” The young children responded instinctively to the Beatles’ sound, much the way their grandparents might have in 1964.
“Love Me Do” was only a No. 17 hit in the U.K. when first released in 1962. It rocketed to the top of the American charts in 1964.
Everything changed for The Beatles when they arrived in the United States, McCartney noted during the show.
“We know what songs you love,” he told the crowd. Those songs, he said, are almost always Beatles classics.
The girls in England could scream, he joked. But American girls brought Beatlemania to a whole new level. He then invited the women in the audience to give the distinctive Beatles scream — to which they deliriously responded.
Bruce Springsteen performed “Glory Days” and “I Want to be Your Man” with McCartney during the second half of the show — leading into Beatles’ anthems “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude” as rain began to fall on the packed arena.
Springsteen’s fellow American rock icon and N.J. native Jon Bon Jovi stepped on stage near the end of the gig.
He offered Sir Paul official birthday wishes and released balloons into the air.
But MetLife Stadium had already shown its love for Sir Paul on the eve of his 80th birthday — without being asked.