Would you like Paul McCartney playing music at your birthday party?

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Answered by: Dan, An Expert in the Celebrity News Category
SAN DIEGO -- You say it's your birthday? Wouldn't you like the real Paul McCartney playing music at your birthday party?

Paul McCartney performed at a private birthday party for about 150 people in Rancho Santa Fe Saturday night, with proceeds going to a charity for victims of land mines.

The command performance was a $1 million birthday present from financier Ralph Whitworth to his wife, who was still walking on air Sunday.

"Paul McCartney walked on stage and I thought somebody was playing a trick on me," said Wendy Walker Whitworth, who celebrated her 50th birthday on Saturday with a little help from her husband, friends and the legendary former Beatle and his current band.

"It was sooooo exciting," said Whitworth, an executive producer for CNN's "Larry King Live" and a huge McCartney fan who was enthused with Paul McCartney playing music at her grand affair.

With a voice still hoarse from excitement she added, "How would you feel? You can't believe it."

Believe it.

Managing partner of his $1.7 billion Relational Investors fund, Whitworth hired McCartney for a private, 90-minute concert at a Rancho Santa Fe restaurant turned into a birthday party nightclub for the occasion.

Cost: $1 million.

It was the first time ever that the former Beatle had performed at a private party, Whitworth said.

McCartney agreed to perform on condition that the money be donated to Adopt-A-Minefield, a group championed by his wife Heather Mills that seeks to clear mines and aid victims, Whitworth said.

And how does one hire McCartney for such a celebration?

"I knew him before," Whitworth said. "I just rang him up four, or five, weeks ago and said I had a great win-win idea. I don't think he would have done this just for the money. This was as much for the wonderful cause championed by him and his wife."

Said McCartney in a statement issued Sunday: "Normally, I don't do this sort of gig, but I was chuffed to do it because it was a win-win show."

"Ralph gets to be the great husband for organizing the surprise, his wife gets a rocking party, I get to rehearse the band for the tour and, most important, Adopt-A-Minefield gets $1 million," McCartney said.

McCartney has announced he will go on a concert tour of his native England for the first time in 10 years.

Whitworth went to great ends to hide the presence of McCartney's entourage in laid-back Rancho Santa Fe, one of the priciest locations in the nation with about 2,500 residents living on huge estates about 15 miles northwest of San Diego.

"We even minimized the advance team, limiting the number of people with English accents setting up things," Whitworth said. "Only 20 people knew this was going to happen."

So, under deep cover, a Paseo Delicias restaurant was converted into a nightclub.

Larry King and Katie Couric were among the 150 guests who came to Whitworth's ultimate birthday party, unaware that Sir Paul would be performing live and in person.

"He opened with 'Hello-Goodbye' and did 'Yesterday' with the same guitar he used on the Ed Sullivan Show," Ralph Whitworth said.

"Later, he gave Wendy a guitar pick. He got her on the stage and danced with her while playing 'Birthday.' That was memorable."

Other melodies in a 19-song set included "Hey Jude," it was an audience sing-along, as well as "I Saw Her Standing There," Whitworth said.

But now Whitworth has quite a challenge for his wife's next birthday. After all, how do you top a private Paul McCartney concert?

"I wanted to do something special for her 50th birthday," Whitworth said. "I'll say I have another 50 years to come up with something else like this."

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