Sir Paul McCartney’s younger brother Mike paid a moving tribute to his mother on the anniversary of her death on Tuesday.
Macca’s younger brother, now 79, was just 12 when their mother Mary died of an embolism as a complication of breast cancer surgery. Paul, now 81, was just 14 years old.
The loss of his mother when he was barely a teenager haunted Paul throughout her life and was the inspiration for the Beatles hit “Let It Be” – particularly the lyrics “Mother Mary is coming to me”.
To mark the 67th anniversary of her death, Mike posted a rare photo of Mary on Twitter showing her looking into the camera for a seated portrait.
He penned a simple but sweet tribute alongside it, writing: “Mommy flew to heaven today ❤️.”
Emotional: Sir Paul McCartney’s younger brother Mike shared a moving tribute to his mother on Tuesday (Paul and Mike are pictured in 1965)
Sweet: Mike McCartney posted a sweet tribute to his mother Mary on the 67th anniversary of her death
“We were the original Fab Four, mom, dad, Paul and me,” Mike told the Daily Mail in 2014.
“When she died, I blamed everyone, including God, until I slowly figured out why she died.” I think the reason was that we wanted to learn from her death and appreciate every second of our lives.
“After they died, Dad bought me a banjo and Paul bought me a Spanish guitar.” He played the piano, which gave him a way to escape the poverty of his childhood. So we started playing.
“If Mom hadn’t died, there would have been no musical existence for me or my brother.” She would have wanted us to enter the professions. I guess it was fate or luck. Mom’s death isn’t what you want, but Paul and I had an affinity for it.
“We had an affinity with John, who also lost his mother. ‘Only people who have had death forced on them in that way understand that. It’s the things you don’t say.’
Paul and Mike were already close, but became even closer after their mother’s death – something that also linked Paul to fellow Beatle John Lennon.
When Sir Paul was asked in 2013 what he would do if he had a time machine, he replied: “Go back and spend time with my mother.”
Sir Paul’s mother Mary was a midwife. She died at the age of 47 from an embolism following surgery to treat breast cancer. Sir Paul, her eldest son, was just 14 years old at the time,
Family: Mike (pictured) was just 12 years old when his mother died – his older brother Paul was 14
Close: Paul and Mike (pictured in 1948) became even closer after Mary’s death
The Beatle has previously described how his mother inspired him to write the song ‘Let It Be’, which he wrote after she appeared to him in a dream.
He said Mary contributed “a good half” of the family income. The McCartneys were too poor to own a car, but they “almost had a TV.”
He added: “In the evenings when she came home she would cook, so we didn’t have much time together.” But she was just a very comforting presence in my life.
“And when she died, one of the difficulties I had over the years was that I couldn’t remember her face as easily. It’s like that for everyone, I think.
“Every day that goes by you just can’t visualize her face, you have to use photos and memories like that.”
Of the dream he said: “My mother appeared and there was her face, completely clear, especially her eyes, and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly, ‘Let it be.’
‘It was lovely. I woke up feeling great. It was really like she visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: be gentle, don’t fight things, just try to go with the flow and everything will work out.
“So as a musician, I went straight to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in difficult times, Mother Mary comes to me… and speaks words of wisdom, let it be.””
Interesting: Mike, once an apprentice hairdresser, was also in the spotlight as a member of The Scaffold (pictured at 20 Forthlin Road, McCartney’s childhood home).
He added that he met with Linda, his first wife, shortly afterward and said, “It was like my mother sent her.”
Sir Paul continued: “These words are really special to me because not only did my mother come to me in a dream and use them to calm me at a very difficult time in my life – but in fact things got better afterwards. “That – but also because I put it in a song and recorded it with the Beatles, it became a comforting, healing statement for other people too.”
“Let It Be” was released as a single in 1970 and became one of the Beatles’ most popular hits.
The album of the same name was released in May of the same year, shortly after the band announced their split.
Mike was the Beatles’ original drummer when the band formed in 1957 after Paul first met John Lennon.
But the dream was dashed when he broke his arm in an accident while in the Boy Scouts. Pete Best and later Ringo Starr drummed for the group at their peak.
Spotlight: Mike changed his name to McGear during Beatlemania (The Beatles are pictured in 1967)
Mike also had a taste for show business along the way and was a member of a satirical sketch group called The Scaffold before becoming a photographer.
At the height of Beatlemania, he changed his name to McGear to differentiate himself from his brother and make a name for himself.
“The Beatles became so famous that people called McCartney like you were Presley or Sinatra,” he says. “If I had continued to be McCartney, it would have looked like I was making money. I couldnt do that.”
After retiring from music in the 1980s, he decided to return to his family name and became known as Mike McCartney again.
Mike has three daughters named Brenna, Theran and Abigail Faith with his first wife, Angela Fishwick.
He has been happily married to his wife Rowena since 1982 and has three sons: Josh, Max and Sonny.
Still going strong: Sir Paul, 81, still plays live music (pictured on stage in Sydney on October 27)