You say it’s your birthday?
Well, happy birthday to you, Paul McCartney. The Beatles legend turns 80 on June 18, two days after his big Got Back tour on Thursday June 16 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
We can’t help but wonder: is the show going to be a hometown birthday bash? McCartney is originally from Liverpool, of course, but he has homes all over the world, including a triplex on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
What makes the New Jersey and New York area seemingly special for McCartney? He has family here. McCartney married Edison native Nancy Shevell in 2011. She graduated from JP Stevens High School and served as a board member of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. His family operated the New England Motor Freight company based in Elizabeth (for decades their trucks were often seen on the highways of New Jersey).
Shevell’s cousin, talk show host and journalist Barbara Walters, helped bring the couple together, according to reports.
“Barbara was his emotional confidante and matchmaker,” a friend of the couple told The Observer of New York. “She hosted many dinner parties for them and always made sure to invite people she knew Paul would want to meet.”
Both Shevell and Walters have a deep connection to Asbury Park: Asbury Park elders Harry and Mina Walters are Barbara’s aunt and uncle, and Shevell’s grandparents.
Harry, originally from England, opened a dry goods store on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, which became the Walters department store. He also owned stores in Long Branch and Freehold.
A daughter, Arlene Walters, married Myron “Mike” Shevell. Nancy is their daughter.
“My uncle Harry Walters was a prominent citizen of Asbury Park,” Walters wrote in his autobiography, “Audition.” “They seemed to have a very good marriage. Everyone in the Walters family came to them for advice, comfort and, oh yes, money.
Paul and Nancy have been spotted in New Jersey for the past decade, usually for family events. In 2010, the couple attended the annual Rutgers Chabad National Founders Dinner at the Hyatt in New Brunswick. Shevell’s father, vice chairman of the board of directors of NJ Transit, was one of the honorees of the evening, along with Governor Chris Christie.
“It just shows you, no matter who you are, if your girlfriend tells you you’re going to be somewhere, right? You go,” Christie said at the time. “Paul McCartney at the Chabad House fundraiser – New Jersey only.”
Nancy’s father died in January in Palm Beach, Florida.
Paul, Nancy and her in-laws dined at Jimmy’s Italian restaurant in Asbury Park in 2017. In 2019, McCartney performed “I Saw Her Standing There” at the Hudson House in Jersey City during a New England Motor Freight party there -down. He was a regular at the company’s annual parties at Elizabeth’s old headquarters.
Just before the COVID-19 lockdown, McCartney strolled down Main Street in Metuchen in February 2020. John Manzo, owner of Be My Guest Personal Chef & Catering, was driving down Main Street when he noticed someone taking pictures.
It was Paul.
“I’m on the phone with my buddy and I’m like, ‘Paul McCartney is right in front of me,'” Manzo previously told USA Today Network NJ. “I got next to him and rolled down the window.”
Manzo asked for a photo. Paul, apparently alone, obliged. He asked Paul what he was doing in Metuchen.
“He said his wife lived here,” Manzo said. “I said to him, ‘You’re awesome!’ Paul looked at me and said, ‘You’re awesome!’ ”
So who’s bringing the cake to MetLife on Thursday? Paul’s rep doesn’t say, but noted that if there was, it would likely be a surprise.
The MetLife show will be the closing night of McCartney’s 13-city U.S. “Got Back” tour, which kicked off April 28 in Washington at Spokane Arena.
He last shot in 2019.
“I said at the end of the last tour that I’ll see you next time,” McCartney said in a statement. “I said I would contact you again. Well, I’m back!”
Paul McCartney, 8 p.m., Thursday, June 16, MetLife Stadium, Route 3, East Rutherford. Starting at $149.50. Face masks and vaccination are not mandatory. www.metlifestadium.com.
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