Behind every great individual there is usually a group of other folk or just one person that makes it all happen. In 1964 one such lady married the widowed father of one of the most popular composers in history: Sir Paul McCartney. It was at a time when Beatlemania was well and truly established in the UK and also the year that the Beatles had their first number one hit in the USA. For twelve years Angie McCartney and her daughter Ruth were at the heart of their family. Ruth was legally adopted by Jim, becoming Paul and his Brother Michael McCartney’s legal step-sister. One can only imagine what life might have been like in the McCartney family during the years 1964 to 1976, the year that Jim sadly died following a long illness. From ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ to the legendary Wings Over The World Tour, which spanned 1975-1976, and which spawned the amazing triple album ‘Wings Over America’. It was Angie that began the early Wings ‘Fun’ Club for Paul, until the volume of work became so great, that it had to be handed over to a specialist team in London. This was at a time when Jim’s health was deteriorating, and Angie needed all her time to nurse him. Hunter Davies, who was at Jim’s house researching and interviewing for his Beatles’ biography, remembered Jim listening to an acetate disc of “When I’m Sixty-Four”. Davies wrote that Paul recorded the song specifically for his father, as Jim was then 64 years old and had married Angie two years previously. The Beatles song ‘Blackbird’ from the 1968 ‘white album’ was written by Paul for Angie’s mum (hear her tell the full story here), and the Beatles song ‘Golden Slumbers’ from Abbey Road was inspired by Ruth. (Hear Ruth tell the full story here). Jim and Angie lived in a beautiful house called Rembrandt that Paul had bought for his dad for £8,750 when he returned following The Beatles’ triumphant tour of America in 1964. It was to Rembrandt in Baskerville Road, Heswell, a town on the Wirral Peninsula, that Paul would escape to visit Angie, Ruth, Jim and Paul’s brother Michael, who had moved in with his dad. Paul would turn up with the likes of his fiancée, the actress Jane Asher, complete with his dog Martha in tow, and any number of comtemporary stars of the day. There was nothing to sugest that these people would ever loose contact with each other, whatever the future might bring.
Photos taken at the farm in Scotland, this or that restaurant, or at Rembrandt. Just ordinary family snaps of a family ‘away from it all’. Jim was to suffer greatly from arthritis and it was found that he and Angie could no longer cope with a large house like Rembrandt, so Paul bougt the house back from them, moving them into a small bungalow nearby. (20 Beverly Drive, Gayton, Wirral, Merseyside). Then, following his long illness, Jim McCartney passed away on 18th March 1976. Nothing would be the same again for Angie and Ruth, though quite why Paul should be seen to ostracize both Angie and Ruth remains a mystery.
Two days later, 20th March, Paul was singing his heart out at the Falkoner Theatre, Folketeatret, Copenhagen. Today Angie and Ruth have settled in California along with Ruth’s husband Martin, and have established a highly successful portfolio of business enterprises including McCartney Multimedia which spans all facets of modern media prom,otion, including web services, music, design, advertising: to name but a few. Angie remains the remarkable woman that once supported Jim, Paul and the whole McCartney ‘clan’ all those years ago, creating her own business brand ‘Mrs. McCartney’s Organic Teas’, a profit percentage of which goes to the Linda McCartney Breast Cancer Centre in Liverpool. “I will be 82 on 14th November – God willing” She told me, “and am honestly delighted to be able to be working so hard”. Her line of teas may be ordered online at http://www.mrsmccartneysteas.com/. She is also a regular contributor to my show every Wednesday in a little feature ‘Dick’s Domestic Tips’. I only hope that Sir Paul remembers his stepmother with affection. He recently re-married in London to the lovely Nancy Shevell and I can’t help but wonder if Nancy may have asked Paul, ‘Don’t you think we ought to invite your stepmother and stepsister?’ Even a reconciliatory phone call to California might be an idea. I have Angie’s and Ruth’s number if Sir Paul needs it. I for one am proud to call them both my friends.