Paul McCartney Faces 'The Big One'

"Hope I die before I get old," Roger Daltrey of "The Who" and many other rockers used to say – before finding out there might be some delights yet ahead.

Not so the Beatles. Each in his own way envisioned a peaceful faraway future – and none with as much public enthusiasm as Paul McCartney, who 39 years ago began singing "When I'm 64" on the landmark 1967 album, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

"You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings go for a ride, Doing the garden, digging the weeds, Who could ask for more?" he sang, painting an idyllic view of a pleasant, settled-in life. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, When I'm sixty-four..."

On tour in recent years, he joked about the upcoming 64th birthday, saying no matter what shape he was in, he imagined he'd keep on singing.

But things have turned out a bit differently than he imagined.

The acrimonious separation of McCartney and his wife of four years — Heather Mills — is all over the papers, as are allegations that she had a wild and lewd past and only married him for the publicity and the money, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips.

McCartney says he and Mills "have both agreed to work at all times" in the best interest of their two-year-old daughter, Beatrice.

British music writer David Hepworth tells Phillips that way back when, the idea of McCartney ever getting to the age of 60 or 64 seemed like a kind of far-off country.

It won't be surprising, however, if he gets a lot of birthday mail from fans – and colleagues, some of whom have been cheered themselves by calls from Sir Paul.

"On my 64th birthday," recalls musician Paul Simon, who will turn 65 this coming October, "Paul McCartney called me up and sang 'When I'm 64.'"

McCartney, who has been in New York this week, is expected to fly back to Britain to mark his own milestone with family and friends – and perhaps – and he so often has in his life – take a sad song and make it better.

After all, says Hepworth, "He's still got his faculties... he could go on the road next year and still be the biggest rock star on the planet and that's not bad, a happy birthday in that sense."