When The Beatles made their historic US TV debut on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964, they took little chances of blowing it. Thus, it was up to Paul McCartney, with his enchanting, saucer-like eyes, and more importantly, his smooth, unthreatening vocal style on numbers like All My Loving and Till There Was You to sing lead on the majority of the songs the band played that fateful night.
Macca has earned a reputation (some would say well earned) for being something of a softy, but his roots are steeped in 1950s rock ’n’ roll and R&B. In 1964, he paid tribute to his boyhood hero, Little Richard, by covering Long Tall Sally, and five years later, gave props again (and threw in a little Fats Domino action, for good measure) on his own howler, Oh! Darling.
While he might not have equalled John Lennon for the title of Man Of A Thousand Voices, McCartney could handle anything he put his mind and throat to. Straight-up love songs (Michelle), Vaudeville send-ups (Honey Pie), C&W satire (Rocky Raccoon) or the precursor to heavy metal (Helter Skelter) - he did it all, beautifully.
Listen: The Beatles - Yesterday
"I'm surprised no one has mentioned Paul McCartney yet. He's godlike..." (From Wiley via Facebook, thanks)
"Robert Plant, Axl Rose, James Hetfield, David Gilmour, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are the best lead singers!" (From Sondre via Facebook, thanks)
"Paul McCartney." (From Terry via Facebook, thanks)