Sunday, 22 May 2011


One of the Greatest Role Models of our Time.
24 September 1941 - 17 April 1998

It is now fifteen years since Linda McCartney passed away from cancer and yet it seems like yesterday. Linda was an accomplished photographer who captured the heart of the last remaining single Beatle, Paul McCartney. In 1967, Linda was invited by Brian Epstein (the Beatle’s manager) to photograph the Beatles.  The Beatles had just released the album; “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and a photo shoot and celebration was scheduled at Brian Epstien’s house and that is where the connection between Paul McCartney and Linda Eastman was made. A marriage that would span almost thirty years soon followed; see photo below.

However, Linda was not just the wife of a Beatle or Paul McCartney’s wife. That was only one part of who she was.  Linda was a dedicated, loving, caring homemaker to McCartney and their four children, Heather (from her first marriage), Mary, Stella and James. Family and love meant everything to Linda and she was totally dedicated to loving, nurturing and caring for her family. 

Aside from her strong family values, she had a great passion for photography. Linda never saw photography as a career; nonetheless she became a success at it. Linda saw her photography as fulfilling her ultimate fantasy. When Linda took photographs of musicians in the early sixties, she had no idea she was photographing future icons, for example: The Doors, Stevie Winwood and his band Traffic, Janis Joplin and many more. Linda would go on to photograph the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin and the Beatles, which led to her meeting Paul McCartney. Linda’s love of photography was not just about photographing musicians, she would be just as excited to photograph the waitress in a cafe.  Linda saw photography as capturing the life and soul of the moment. Making the picture tell a story and to make the person stop and look and think. Amongst her photographs are many landscapes, animals, and of course her family and friends. Paul and their children feature in many of her pictures.

Linda was a vegetarian and published two best selling vegetarian cookbooks. A lover of nature and animals, Linda also became deeply involved in animal rights and the protection of cruelty to animals.  The McCartney's owned a property in Sussex, England and a farm in Scotland, they had dozens of animals, including horses which was another of Linda’s loves. Linda and Paul would ride their horses every morning, it was how they kick started each day and horse riding can be for the horse enthusiast, a very effective release and an incredible high. The film clip that was made for McCartney’s song “Maybe I’m Amazed” just says it all.  It was a love song, written for Linda and the film clip clearly portrays the love and devotion within their family. Linda and Paul out horse-riding, playing with the children, the numerous family photographs mostly taken by Linda and the whole family dancing and singing, while Paul plays guitar. This three minute film illustrates the total love and commitment within their marriage and family.

Linda had it tough in the early days. Marrying a Beatle was something you just did not do, according to legions of Beatle’s fans. Paul McCartney was the only Beatle who had not married and many say the most handsome of the fabulous four. When the Beatles split up, the finger was pointed at Linda, as well as in many other directions. Many fans maintain that Lennon and McCartney’s wives; Yoko and Linda were responsible for the split.

In reality no-one knows why the Beatles split up, that’s another story. McCartney went on the form the band “Wings” and insisted Linda be up on stage with him. That move inspired a barrage of criticism, mostly from jealous fans who wanted to be in her shoes. Critics would insist she could not sing or her musical skills were amateur. However, Linda certainly could sing and she dug in her heels and kept on performing with her husband, because she said “We like being together.”  When the McCartney’s were on tour they took the children with them, they would hire tutors so their children could keep up with their school work. The McCartney's believed in keeping their family together as much as possible. Linda never cared what the critics had to say about her, her commitment was to her family.

Wings” disbanded about ten years later and McCartney went back into the studio to record. Linda went to work on her vegetarian projects and her photography book. She also became involved in the protection of animal rights. Linda’s books were best-sellers and she found she had many admirers and of course the critics were never too far away. The people that admired Linda were probably a little envious of her life, the critics on the other hand were plain jealous. There was not a mean bone in Linda’s body; Linda had a kind and caring soul, always taking care of everyone. Linda was a wonderful role model to her family and has raised four remarkable children, whom have all have become a success in their chosen careers. Probably the most famous McCartney child would be Stella McCartney, a well-known fashion designer in Paris. Heather became an accomplished artist, Mary is a photographer and James is a musician.

Linda’s examples of a loving family built on love, trust, honesty and commitment certainly endeared her too the public and many of Linda’s critic have longs since eaten humble pie. She was one of the most remarkable women of our time.  Her basic, down to earth values of family, morality and stability are strong examples to all families. The McCartney marriage was one the strongest ever seen in the show business world. A happy marriage lasting almost thirty years in show business today is almost unheard of.

In 1995, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. After consultation with many specialists, they commenced chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It seemed that in 1997 that Linda had beaten the cancer.  In-fact when many saw Linda at her daughter Stella’s fashion show in early March 1998, it was assumed that she was getting better. Sadly that was not the case, the cancer had moved to Linda’s liver and Paul and Linda knew of no cure. The only thing left to do was to make Linda as happy as possible during the time she had left. Paul and Linda reportedly went to their ranch in Arizona, where the couple had a getaway house. They rode and sat in the sun, talked and laughed. They also finished Linda’s album Wide Prairie. This album proves once and for all, that Linda can indeed, sing.

Fifty-six year old Linda McCartney died in her husband Paul’s arms on the morning of 17 April 1998.  Her children were also by her side when she passed over. Her body was cremated shortly there after and the McCartney’s returned home to Sussex, England to scatter her ashes. Such a beautiful life cut so tragically short. A wonderful, loving mother and wife; taken from her family way too soon. Paul McCartney has been quoted as saying that, “Linda will be most remembered for the message of love that she instilled in everyone.”

This warm, tender and affectionate person who touched so many peoples’ hearts will live on in her families’ and our memories forever.

Endnote: This tribute has been written and re-written several times. Linda McCartney was an inspiration to many. It is important that her message of love and compassion live on and are never forgotten.

 Coming Soon: A Biography of Lady Linda McCartney, watch this space.

Photos hold a Creative Commons licence and are linked in the caption to the source.

Copyright © 2013 Janelle Coulton