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2002-Dec-15: Yoko Looking to Take Legal Action

Updated December 18.  The Los Angeles Times reports today that Yoko Ono has asked her attorneys to see if she can take legal recourse with Sir Paul for having reversed the "Lennon-McCartney" song writing credit on 19 of the songs on his new Back in the U.S. album.  According to Peter Shukat, one of Ms. Ono's lawyers, the change in credit runs counter to an agreement forged between Sir Paul and John Lennon 40 years ago.  Mr. Shukat is now looking into whether or not legal action can be taken to stop the modification of the credit:
"This was done against her wishes.  It's ridiculous, absurd and petty. Paul is hurting his own legacy with this. He and John made an agreement 40 years ago that they would share credit in this way. To change it now, well, John's not here to argue."
Sir Paul's spokesman, Geoff Baker, said on Friday that Sir Paul and John Lennon never had a firm deal requiring the credits to be cited in a certain way:
"This is not a divisive thing.  It's not Lennon or McCartney. Look, even if Paul did 95% or more on these songs, he's not asking that John's name be taken off. He just doesn't think it should be first."
This is not a new issue for Sir Paul.  On the Anthology album, Ms. Ono denied Sir Paul's request to transpose the credits on his song Yesterday.  Yoko Ono is currently in Japan and is unavailable for comment.  However, in a recent Rolling Stone magazine article, she warned Sir Paul not to toy with the credits:
"If those songs are credited to McCartney-Lennon and the rest of the 200 or so are credited to Lennon-McCartney, people may think Paul wrote those songs and John wrote the rest.  When the suggestion was first made by Paul, I said, 'This is like opening a Pandora's box, Paul. Don't do it.' I still stand by that statement."
Beatles historian, Martin Lewis, had this to say about the issue:
"It's been a battle for years, and in the case of Anthology Vol. 2 in 1996, the spat caused delays while they argued and we had to reprint the packaging. They had God-like talent but they still have human foibles, like vanity.  The fans want them to live up to the philosophies of their songs. What is incontestable here is that Paul McCartney is one of the greatest songwriters. In 100 years, people will know that he wrote Yesterday."
In an interview last year, Sir Paul addressed the issue saying:
"It actually is one of the reasons we're not the best of friends. At one point, Yoko earned more from Yesterday than I did. It's the only song none of The Beatles had anything to do with."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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