COLUMN SEVENTY-THREE, JULY 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
(Photo by Linda McCartney from her book, SIXTIES: PORTRAIT OF AN ERA)
Way back in the early "70s when Paul McCartney said he was going to
quit the band that had been the giants of pop music and the models for the
trends, the tastes and the philosophies of much of the world's youth for the
previous six years, he couldn't really quit---not contractually.
Contractually, Paul couldn't quit under any
circumstances. Along with John
Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, he was a party to a partnership
agreement signed in April of 1967 that pledged his services to the Beatles for
According to the terms of the. agreement, all of
Paul's rights in any branch of the entertainment industry belonged to Apple Corps Ltd., which
was wholly owned by the four Beatles.
Constructed at a time when Paul himself was in command of establishing the Apple empire, the agreement provided that any monies earned by any of the Fab Four from any activity in the entertainment industry must be paid to Apple,
they all would've
which still acts as a
kitty for the four partners and their heirs and which still collects royalties
from all intellectual properties of the years covered by the contract. At the
time, Apple was under the managing directorship of Neil Aspinall, who started
out as the Beatles? original road manager. When the four battling giants
couldn't talk to one another, they all could talk to Neil. That's because he
had the trust of all four.
For example the profits from John's Plastic Ono Band
didn't go to John, but were paid into the Apple treasury to be shared with the
other three Beatles. Similarly, the
fees earned by Ringo As a movie actor for his roles in Candy and in The Magic
Christian also went into the general pool.
Specifically, the agreement provided that Paul or any
of the other three Beatles "shall not, without consent of the company and
of the other entertainers, appear alone or with any other person in any branch
of the entertainment industry." This meant that if Paul did decide to take
a walk, the other three, if they got angry enough, could have tied him up in the
courts and kept him out of work until 1977.
And even if the other three Beatles agreed to call it
quits and let Paul go off on his own they couldn't cancel their agreement
without practically going broke themselves.
According to financial experts, the tax consequences
of such a step would have been ruinous, not only to John, George and Ringo, but
to Paul as well.
Today, Neil remains the managing director of the still prospering Apple Corps Ltd. It was Neil who oversaw the reissue of compilations of all Beatles products of recent years. ##
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