Sir Paul issued a 700-word statement in which he defended his decision to change the credits on his recent album to read McCartney/Lennon on the songs he wrote (see December 18). In the statement, Sir Paul said:"I'm quite happy with the situation and I'm not worried about what Yoko Ono is saying as I am more excited about now, rather than then, having finished a great tour and winning No 1 tour of the year. The people whose opinion matters to me have had their say.
"But I think it's time that I made it clear what the facts are over this long running and rather silly dispute. John and I wrote many songs together but in an article in Playboy magazine John very accurately divided the credit for each of the Beatles songs between us and when I ran the exercise for myself a few years back I found that John and I were in complete agreement as to who had done what.
"At the very beginning, the first time this ever came up was at a meeting at Brian Epstein's office in Albemarle Street in London between Brian, John and myself. I arrived at the meeting to find that Brian and John had already independently decided the billing would be 'songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney'. I said: 'What about McCartney/ Lennon?' They said: 'We'll do this for now and we can change it around to be fair at any point in the future.' Being reassured by this I let the matter go and our songs became known as Lennon/McCartney songs, a fact I was perfectly happy about.
"Many years later, when we were involved in The Beatles Anthology project, instead of using the term Lennon/McCartney, the songs were credited as 'written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney'. I made a request to Yoko Ono to have my name put first on the song Yesterday, which John had often admitted he had nothing whatsoever to do with. I felt that after 30 years this would be a nice gesture and something that might be easy for Yoko to agree with. At first she said yes, but then she rang back a couple of hours later and reversed her decision. It was not a decision that was hers to make, but because of her objection I was not allowed to have my name in front of John's.
"Many people say to me that it doesn't matter and in many ways I agree, but an incident that happened recently made me wonder whether it wouldn't be such a bad idea to have each song labeled accurately. Late one night I was in an empty bar flicking through the bar pianist's music book when I came across 'Hey Jude written by John Lennon'. If there is an argument for 'correct labeling' I think this is probably the best one.
"Computers often allow certain space for labeling of any item and as we all know the end of the label often gets cut off a sentence or title. For instance, I recently went to see a film which the tickets described as 'Miss Congenia'.
"I personally don't see any harm in John's songs such as Strawberry Fields and Help being labeled 'by John Lennon and Paul McCartney' and my songs such as Let It Be and Eleanor Rigby being labeled 'by Paul McCartney and John Lennon'. It lays out the information so that no one is in any doubt as to who did what and I have also pointed out to Yoko Ono that I'm happy for our co-written songs to have John's name in front of mine.
"I think it is fair and accurate for the songs that John declared were mine to carry my name first.
"This isn't anything I'm going to lose any sleep over, nor is it anything that will cause litigation, but it seems harmless to me after more than 30 years of it being the other way for people like Yoko who have benefited, and who continues to benefit, from my past efforts to be a little generous and to not have a problem with this suggestion of how to simply map out for those who do not know who wrote which of the songs."
(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)
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