Paul McCartney rocks on as he turns 70

British singer Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in London on Juine 4, 2012. The star-studded musical extravaganza comes on the third of four days of celebrations to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages) LEON NEAL

Paul McCartney performs during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in London on June 4, 2012.
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(CBS/AP) Paul McCartney - they say it's your birthday. The former Beatle, who turns 70 on Monday, celebrated his birthday in private, perhaps resting up between gigantic gigs this summer.

But he's showing no sign of slowing down as his music is passed down to generations too young to have seen him in Wings, much less the Beatles.

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Once a pot-smoking counterculture rebel, "Sir Paul" is very much part of the British establishment now, closing Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee concert earlier this month with a mix of favorites that included a raucous "All My Loving," one of the Beatles' first smash hits.

He's also preparing for a featured role closing the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27 - just another global audience measuring a billion or more for one of the most popular performers in pop history.

It's been a strong year for McCartney, who in October married his third wife, dark-haired American heiress Nancy Shevell, closing the book on his failed union and messy divorce from second wife Heather Mills. His first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 1998.

In February, he released "Kisses on the Bottom," a new album featuring a mix of covers and new songs.

McCartney has admitted dyeing his hair (which sometimes seems to have an odd burgundy tint), but his musical ability has not diminished with age.

He can still captivate a large arena with a simple acoustic performance of "Blackbird" and can shift gears at the drop of a hat for a mean, Vegas-style, pyrotechnic-aided rendition of "Live and Let Die," a James Bond theme song that has become a favorite part of his repertoire. His shows feature one hit after another, as McCartney rarely takes a break or even a sip of water.

John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono tweeted birthday wishes to McCartney Monday, and Paul Weller made a one-day only digital release of the Beatles' song "Birthday" as a tribute, with proceeds going to charity.

In the run-up to his birthday, McCartney, a longtime vegetarian, urged the public to cut back on meat consumption to help cut greenhouse gas emissions and ease the global warming crisis.

  • CBS News Staff

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