Sir Paul McCartney has outlined the importance of the abolition of National Service in the UK, which until the end of 1960 required men between the ages of 17-21 to serve a period of up to 2 years in the Armed Services, on the formation of The Beatles, saying had they been a couple of years older it is likely they would never have started the band.
“One of the most amazing things for The Beatles is that we just missed it,” he explains to the Radio Times. “A couple of years earlier, we would have been in the army, and it’s very doubtful that The Beatles would have formed.”
Sir Paul also told of how Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has described The Beatles as ‘lucky’, due to the band sharing vocal duties between its four members.
Both McCartney and John Lennon would share lead vocals in the legendary band, primarily on tracks largely written by the individual, while George Harrison became a more regular fixture on Beatles albums as his songwriting talents progressed during their career. Ringo Starr, of course, would also be handed a track by John and Paul to lend his unique style to.
“I talked to Keith Richards a couple of years ago, and his take on it was: ‘Man, you were lucky, you guys, you had four lead singers,’ whereas The Rolling Stones only had one,” he said.
Keith Richards describes his meeting with McCartney in his recent autobiography, where he reiterates the point and tells of how the unexpected hook-up led to the pair sharing tunes and memories from their respective careers.