The Beatles lose control of Northern Songs to ATV

March - September 1969

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To John and Paul, Northern Songs wasn’t just a collection of compositions, it was like a child, creative flesh and blood, and selling it to their business antagonist Sir Lew Grade was like putting that child into an orphanage.

Peter Brown, from Apple – From “Solid State” by Kenneth Womack

The music publishing company Northern Songs was created in February 1963  founded by music publisher Dick James and his partner Charles Silver to publish songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. In February 1965, it became a public company on the London Stock Exchange.

After the death of Brian Epstein in August 1967, John Lennon and Paul McCartney sought to renegotiate their publishing deal with Dick James. In 1968, they invited him for a meeting at Apple, filming the encounter and acting brusquely towards him. As a result, already-cool relations between Dick James and the individual Beatles became even cooler.

As Northern Songs was a public company, Sir Lew Grade, head of ATV (Associated Television), started to buy some shares from small shareholders, and succeeded to buy about 137,000 of those.

I felt that we ought to be in the music business, and as Northern Songs, which owned the rights to The Beatles’ music, was a public quoted company, I decided that my company, ATV, should buy some shares. Not a lot, but we built up about six or seven per cent. Then, I thought, ‘I might go for it all.’

Sir Lew Grade, head of ATV (Associated Television) – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

ATV had made offers to Dick James to buy his Northern Songs share since August 1967, but Dick James had so far refused.

He’d been romancing me to sell out to him ever since Brian’s death. It was a standing joke between us. “Oh no,” I’d say, “not that again, Lew!”

Dick James – From “Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles” by Philip Norman

End of 1968 / early 1969

Late 1968, Dick James became worried about the erratic behaviour of John Lennon – his drug conviction, the nudity of the album “Two Virgins, his involvement with Yoko Ono and their “bagism” concept – and the consequences it might have on the value of Northern Songs in the London Stock Exchange.

Also, The Beatles now felt Dick James owned a too large share in their music, as demonstrated by the following dialogue from the visit of Dick James at Twickenham Studios on January 10, 1969.

Paul McCartney: “Lisp Of A Baby’s Prayer”… “Alphabet Song.” What’s that one?

Dick James: Oh, Christ, I don’t know the whole catalog yet. 4,000 songs is a lot to absorb.

Ringo Starr: “Nobody Loves a Fairy When She’s Forty.” [laughs]

Paul McCartney: This is it? This is the lot?

Dick James: This is a very good list. That’s the entire catalog up to ’65.

Paul McCartney: All of these are ours?

Dick James: Yeah. Yeah.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Is this the catalog that’s just gone on sale?

Dick James: It’s the one we just bought.

Michael Lindsay-Hogg: You bought it. Oh, great.

Dick James: Yeah, Northern Songs… Which includes Paul and John. And…

Paul McCartney: Just about.

Dick James: What are you talking about, “Just about”?

Paul McCartney: Nothing. Uh, no comment.

Dick James: Very substantially, sir.

Paul McCartney: Yes, right. Okay.

Early March 1969

The arrival of Allen Klein in the Beatles business (and the difficulties this would likely create considering the reputation of the American businessman) decided Dick James and Charles Silver to finally sell their shares in Northern Songs to ATV for £1,525,000, giving John and Paul no notice or the chance to buy them out. That way, ATV acquired 1,604,750 shares, which, in addition to the 137,000 they already had, gave them nearly 35% of the company.

What I did, I did in their interests as well as mine, and the rest of the shareholders. I hope that, one day, I can justify my decision to them. I was not acting behind their backs. I believed I was acting for them and for the whole future good of the company. Look, I haven’t jumped off the boat. I’m still with it! Over the years, I’ve resisted thousands of offers, including some from carloads of Americans, but the ATV bid seemed to make good sense. Remember that they came to me. I didn’t go to them. But, with their offer and the new dimension and expansion, it meant I felt we should accept. Looking at it objectively, I knew we could all prosper enormously. I really thought I was acting for them. The deal would have been worth similar amounts to each of the two Beatles had they accepted. I just hope that our friendship can go on. I have great faith in the boys, but I felt that, as magnificent songwriters as they are, I had to relieve them of the responsibility for the company’s future affairs. It is a big responsibility and it has got to meet new dimensions and I think I acted for the best. If they object, then I must accept it until they realise I was right.

Dick James – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

To telephone John and Paul would have been difficult. The call would have gone through a number of people and there was a need to keep it confidential.

Dick James – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

This can’t be true! George Martin had said.

‘Yes, it is,’ Dick replied. ‘I have sold. I’m tired of being threatened by The Beatles, and being got at. So I decided to sell.’

Martin: ‘Why didn’t you ask The Beatles first?’

James: ‘If I’d done that it would have been all over the place and then I could never have done the deal with Lew Grade.’

‘I told him he was a rat,’ Martin remembers. ‘I felt he’d betrayed everything we’d done together and I felt I was in a position where I could say that.’

From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

Dick James had seen the writing on the wall; it was in Allen Klein’s handwriting and James was determined to pull out. The value of Northern Songs depended on the willingness and ability of Lennon and McCartney to compose together. Already John and Paul had refused to sign an extension on their songwriting contract with Northern Songs and James had good reason to doubt the longevity of their relationship.

Peter Brown – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

John and Paul invited Dick James to their office at Apple to confront him. James had had enough of them belly-aching and wanting more money and Brian Epstein was dead, so no longer could Dick go to Brian and say, ‘Hey, get these boys off my back.’ So, James looked to sell his shares in Northern Songs …

Ray Coleman, journalist – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

We never met this Charles Silver guy, a character who was always in the background. He was “the money”, that was basically who he was, like the producer on a film. He and Dick James went in together, so Silver always got what was really our share. There were the two of them taking the lion’s share, but it was a little while before we found out.

Paul McCartney – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

ATV now needed to acquire additional 16% shares to gain majority control of Northern Songs.

March 28, 1969

On this day, newspapers reported that Dick James and Charles Silver had sold his shares to Sir Lew Grade’s ATV. John furiously reacted, reading the news:

I won’t sell. They are my shares and my songs and I want to keep a bit of the end product. I don’t have to ring Paul. I know damn well he feels the same as I do.

John Lennon – From “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years” by Barry Miles

We are not going to sell and we advise all our friends to hang on to what they’ve got! Dick James? We don’t think he was very nice! Although he says he was acting in our interests, you would have thought the first thing he would have done would have been to consult us.

John Lennon – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

You can safely assume that my shares are not for sale to ATV.

Paul McCartney – talking to the Daily Express

Although he was scared of [Allen] Klein, James made his fortune on those two kids, John and Paul. I told him he was a bastard to sell to Grade.

John Eastman – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

It was also announced that ATV had bid £9.5 million to acquire the rest of the company. Paul and John were then offered £2.3 million by ATV for their shares but turned down the offer.

Early April 1969

On April 2, 1969, Paul and John met Dick James at Paul’s home in Cavendish Avenue. This was a short meeting that didn’t bring much.

Everything was very civilised. I explained why I had done what I had done, supported by the board. Paul sort of shrugged it off. John, who always placed great emphasis on respect and integrity for each other, was very cynical. I said: “Your financial gain will at least give you, regardless of what your earnings are from records, a substantial income.”

I tried to point out to John that his capital gain, which wasn’t like earnings from records, on which tax was astronomical because his royalties were subject to ordinary tax… the reward he would get from his shares was, in fact, a capital gain and that was at the lowest rate of tax you pay anywhere in the world.

I endeavoured to give John that point of view and I said, “At least that means you can put some money by for your children.” To which he retorted, quite cynically, “I have no desire to create another fucking aristocracy.” That’ll be the only four-letter word that you’ll get from me, but that is verbatim what he said.

Dick James – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

McNab, Ken; McNab, Ken. And in the End (p. 85). Birlinn. Kindle Edition.

On the same day, Paul and John, joined by Yoko Ono and Allen Klein, met with The Beatles’ merchant bankers, Henry Ansbacher and Company, to define a strategy to gain a controlling interest in Northern Songs.

While ATV had nearly 35% of the company, The Beatles controlled 29.7% (Paul had 751,000 shares; John had 644,000 and help another 50,000 on trust; Ringo Starr had 40,000; George Harrison had sold his shares but his wife Patti had 1,000; Apple controlled another 30,000).

On April 5, The Financial Times reported:

It appears that Dick James, managing director of Northern Songs, has failed to persuade Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney to accept the £9 million bid for Northern from ATV.

On April 10, ATV officially launched its bid for the control of Northern Songs.

On April 11, The Beatles announced they planned to make a counter bid.

Suddenly, I found a fellow turning up called Allen Klein, who represented John and Paul. I had an instinctive feeling that this fellow was going to stop me from getting the entire company.

Sir Lew Grade – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

We are determined to buy Northern Songs. Music is an essential part of our business and there’s no denying the brilliance of The Beatles as musicians.

Sir Lew Grade – April 12, 1969 – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

The publicity caused some broker firms to form an alliance known as the Consortium and acquire 14% of the Northern Songs shares. This meant ATV or The Beatles would have to convince the Consortium to sell them their shares to take control of Northern Songs.

The consortium consisted of clients of three leading London brokers, Astaire & Co., W.I. Carr and Spencer Thornton and included theatre owners Howard & Wyndham, the Ebor Unit Trust, the Slater Walker Invan Trust and merchant bankers Arbuthnot Latham.

Allen Klein’s strategy

Allen Klein’s strategy was to make a public offering of £2.1 million to acquire a further 21.3%, or 1.15 million shares, which would give them a majority shareholding. Considering that The Beatles was negotiating at the same time with Triumph Investment Trust for the control of NEMS, both ventures were stretching the group’s finances to the limit, meaning they needed to put their own shares up as collateral to fund the purchases.

The Beatles would bring about £1 million and Henry Ansbacher and Company the remaining sum (about £1.1 million), with a guarantee made of Apple Shares, John Lennon’s entire stock holding in Northern Songs (worth £1.25 million) and Allen Klein’s ABKCO’s shares in the MGM film corporation (worth £640,000).

On April 20, there was a massive row at Ansbacher’s because Paul, following John Eastman’s advice, refused to commit his shares in Northern Songs as part of the collateral required for the loan, considering it was a dangerous manoeuvre. In the process, John also discovered that Paul had secretly bought extra shares in Northern Songs, meaning the two no longer had an equal share; John was furious.

It was the first time that any of us had gone behind anyone else’s back. When I asked Paul why he was buying these shares, he said, ‘I had some beanies and I wanted more!’

John Lennon – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

I once bought some Northern Songs shares. John and I once said if we ever wanted to invest in anything, the best thing to invest in were ourselves. Lennon-McCartney, that’s the best thing to invest in. If we get a chance, we’d buy some shares. One day, I rang up Peter Brown and asked him to buy some shares. It was like two hundred or something. It wasn’t a major holding or anything. In the end, the big game was on and we were in big boardrooms with Mr Klein and it was deadly serious and suddenly, it came up. ‘Oh, Paul bought some shares!’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, it was all right, wasn’t it?’ And they accused me of trying to corner a market, or something, and it went down like that. John definitely thought that. If I had wanted to corner a market, I would have bought more bloody shares than two hundred!

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

There are rumours in the city that The Beatles are planning a counter bid in the ATV/Northern Songs takeover battle. But, John and Paul have advised their shareholders not to sell. They just don’t want to sell. They don’t want to be owned by ATV.

Derek Taylor – April 20 statement – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

On April 24, The Beatles offered 42 shillings and 6 pence per share to acquire the 20% shares they needed, which would have cost them £2.1 million pounds. They also announced they would extend their contracts with Northern Songs for an extra two years and would add additional assets to the company. They added in their press statement that they “would not be happy to continue, let alone renew, their existing contracts with Northern under the aegis of ATV”. (from “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years” by Barry Miles).

On April 30, The Beatles published quarter-page ads in four national newspapers, promising to extend their songwriting services to Northern Songs and saying they would not interfere in its management (from “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years” by Barry Miles).

From They May Be Parted on Twitter: “@mccartneyproj That particular ad ran on page 4 of the April 30 Guardian” / Twitter

In April 1969, Allen Klein also approached EMI and Capitol to try to gain assistance to buy the consortium’s shares, but the record companies declined. The Beatles also issued a press statement in which they invited a representative of ATV to join the board if they gained control of Northern Songs.

The Consortium’s decision

On April 13, an article in the Sunday Times, headlined “The Toughest Wheeler-Dealer in the Pop Jungle“, savaged Allen Klein’s reputation in the UK. The paper explained that Klein’s success came from “a startling blend of bluff, sheer determination, and financial agility, together with an instinct for publicity and the ability to lie like a trooper“. It also revealed that Klein had been involved in 40 lawsuits, that the SEC was investigating his affairs, and that the Stones’ North American royalties were paid directly into Klein’s own company.

The content of the paper was leaked by Leonard Richenberg, chairman of Triumph Investment, who had secretly paid for a private investigation on Allen Klein’s business activities.

The Sunday Times article decided Lee Eastman to come to London. Upon his arrival, he first exchanged with Leonard Richenberg to discuss how The Beatles could buy NEMS back, to no success.

Lee Eastman then met with the four Beatles and Allen Klein. John and Klein had recently found out that Lee Eastman had changed his name from Epstein to Eastman. Throughout the meeting, John called him “Mr. Epstein”.

We arranged to see Eastman and Klein together in a hotel where one of them was staying. For the four Beatles and Yoko to go and see them both. We hadn’t been in there more than a few minutes when Lee Eastman was having something like an epileptic fit, and screaming at Allen that he was “the lowest scum on earth”, and calling him all sorts of names. Allen was sitting there, taking it, you know, just takin’ it. Eastman was abusing him with class snobbery.

What Eastman didn’t know then is that Neil [Aspinall] had been in New York and found out that Lee Eastman’s real name was Lee Epstein! That’s the kind of people they are. But Paul fell for that bullshit, because Eastman’s got Picassos on the wall and because he’s got some sort of East Coast suit, form and not substance. Now, that’s McCartney.

We were all still not sure and they brought in this fella, and he had a fuckin’ fit. We had thought it was one in a million but that was enough for me, soon as he started nailing Klein on his taste. Paul was getting in little digs about Allen’s dress – who the fuck does he think he is? Him talking about dress! Man, so that was it, and we said, “Fuck it!”

I wouldn’t let Eastman near me; I wouldn’t let a fuckin’ animal like that who has a mind like that near me. Who despises me, too, despises me because of what I am and what I look like. This was supposed to be the guy who was taking over the multi-million dollar corporation, and it was going to be slick. Paul was sort of intimating that Allen’s business offices on Broadway were not nice enough – as if that made any fuckin’ difference! Eastman was in the good section of town. “Oh, boy, man, that’s where it’s at!” And Eastman’s office has got class! I don’t care if this is fuckin’ red white and blue, I don’t care what Allen dresses like, he’s a human being, man.

The more we said “no” the more (Paul) said “yes”. Eastman went mad and shouted and all that. I didn’t know what Paul was thinking when he was in the room; I mean, his heart must have sunk.

John Lennon

We were in opposition right from the beginning. I’m a pretty patient sort of guy. In all our arguments, I never raised my voice once.

John Eastman – From “Paul McCartney A Life” by Philip Norman

Allen Klein had to reassure the Consortium that he would play no part in the negotiations or the administration of Northern Songs. This, along with some commitments about the future structure of the Northern Songs board, convinced the Consortium to go with The Beatles.

However, on April 15 or May 15 (??), when the papers were all drawn up and waiting for John, Paul, George and Ringo’s signatures, John derailed the negotiations by announcing during an Apple board meeting:

I’m not going to be fucked around by men in suits sitting on their fat arses in the City.

John Lennon – From “The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years” by Barry Miles


ATV, however, were barely more successful. Its offer of ATV shares rather than cash didn’t impress the consortium’s members, and in May the consortium said it was unhappy with both offers and was keeping its options open.

Negotiations continued throughout the summer and into the autumn of 1969. Klein attempted to make a deal with Lew Grade, but Grade grew tired of his delaying tactics and made an approach to Peter Donald, a major shareholder in the consortium. Grade offered 40 shillings (£2) per share for the consortium’s 15% holding, which was less than The Beatles’ offer.

Donald accepted Grade’s proposal, and on this day Grade took control of 54% of Northern Songs. The Beatles had lost the publishing of the songs they had written. The group were resigned to selling their shares to ATV.

In the coming weeks Klein continued to negotiate with Grade. A deal was floated by which The Beatles’ shares in Northern Songs would be exchanged for cash and ATV stocks, which would mean the group still had a stake in the songs. Lennon and McCartney would re-sign to Northern Songs, would buy back Maclen (Music) Limited and would get sub-publishing rights in the US.

Although it would have been advantageous to Lennon and McCartney, the deal fell through when John Eastman rejected it as he had played no part in the negotiations. Lennon and McCartney received £3.5 million in ATV loan stock for their Northern Songs shares, and by December 1969 ATV had acquired 92% of the company.

From Wikipedia:

Under their publishing contract with Northern Songs, Lennon and McCartney were bound to continue their songwriting until 1973. Unable to gain control of Northern Songs, Lennon and McCartney sold their stock (Lennon’s 644,000 shares and McCartney’s 751,000) in October 1969, for £3.5 million. Starr chose to keep his shares (0.8%), but Harrison had already sold his shares (also 0.8%) in June 1968.

May 2

ATV claimed that they had support from shareholders holding 45 per cent of the Northern Songs shares and extended their offer until May 15.

Miles, Barry. The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years (Kindle Locations 9005-9006). Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

The Beatles are still fighting for control of Northern Songs – which has the right to almost every composition ever written by Lennon and McCartney – following the recent original take-over bid by ATV.

Emphasising this at a financial press conference this week, the group’s business adviser, Allen Klein, said that shareholders should see the wisdom of accepting the Beatles’ offer. Paul, John and the other Beatles would naturally be willing to contribute more to a company in which they had a stronger interest.

From New Musical Express, May 3, 1969
From New Musical Express, May 3, 1969

May 19, 1969

A strong feeling persisted that we should buy a music company, and we began building up a stake in Northern Songs, which was owned by Dick James, and which then controlled the Beatles catalogue. We reached a stake of approximately 40 per cent and tried to acquire the rest. John Lennon decided to appoint a young American called Alan Klein to handle the negotiations. I don’t think Paul McCartney was too keen on Klein, but he gave Lennon his support and went along with it. For the following two weeks I had meetings with Alan Klein for hours on end each day and didn’t like the way it was going.

One morning I called Peter Donald, who by that time had acquired control of the Howard and Wyndham Theatres, as well as some theatres in Scotland. Peter Donald’s company controlled 14 per cent of the Northern Songs shares. I had a strange feeling about Alan Klein because of all these unnecessary delays, so, when I called Peter Donald, I said, ‘I want to buy your 14 per cent of Northern Songs. How much do you want for it?’ We agreed a price and did the deal on the telephone. We now had well over 54 per cent of the company and therefore controlled Northern Songs. Alan Klein called me late that afternoon, and I must give him credit for what he said to me. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I have to admit it. You beat me to the punch. We’re now ready to sell you the shares at the same price you paid Peter Donald.’ He said he’d been considering doing the deal with Donald himself, but had obviously left it too late.

And that, my friends, is how we acquired the Beatles catalogue and got into the music business.

Lew Grade – From “Still Dancing : my story” by Lew Grade

Lew Grade’s ATV gained control of Northern Songs Limited after a long and bitter battle. John had become disillusioned by the terms of the deal worked out by Ormrod and the Consortium in which the new board would have three representatives from each side with David Platz as the MD. John said he didn’t see why The Beatles should bother to take over a company and then be told that they couldn’t do what they liked with it. He said that he would rather let Grade have it than be dictated to like this. The company would not have been theirs to play with, of course, since all they were buying was control, and other shareholders were nervous that Klein might finish up running it. The Consortium sided with ATV who got the majority they needed a mere 15 minutes before The Beatles’ offer expired. ATV now controlled virtually all of John and Paul’s songs, and all future songs until 1973. The Beatles finished up owing Ansbacher’s £5,000 for their services.

Miles, Barry. The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years (Kindle Locations 9060-9067). Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Monday, 19 May The Beatles’ battle for control of Northern Songs is lost when ATV teams up with a consortium of City brokers representing the other stockholders. The successful share holding group now means that six new members will join the board of Northern Songs. Four are representing ATV, one for the brokers and one for The Beatles themselves … John “It’s nice of them to give us one.” (Note: The Beatles now have a 30.3 per cent share of Northern Songs with ATV having 35 per cent.)

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

May 23

It was announced that Dick James would continue as MD of Northern Songs and Charles Silver would remain chairman of the board. The Beatles were invited to nominate a board member but declined.

Miles, Barry. The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years (Kindle Locations 9072-9074). Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, 25 September It is revealed that Associated Television has taken control of Northern Songs with a 54 per cent share holding. On the advice of Allen Klein, John and Paul will sell their stake in the company on Wednesday, 22 October.

September 25 ATV now controls 54 percent of the shares in Northern Songs, thereby gaining possession of publishing rights to most Lennon/McCartney compositions.

Winn, John C.. That Magic Feeling: 2 (The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy) (p. 241). Clarkson Potter/Ten Speed. Kindle Edition.

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, 22 October News report “The Beatles, chiefly John and Paul, sell their remaining interest in Northern Songs to ATV. John and Paul each receive in the region of £3 and a half million.”

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

Allen Klein “There were numerous occasions in 1969 when Paul not only co-operated with me, but actually sought my help or, at least, agreed that I should represent him.”

Badman, Keith. The Beatles: Off the Record . Music Sales. Kindle Edition.

With the Capitol deal, Klein was assured of his 20 per cent. He could now turn his attention back to the five-months stalemate over Northern Songs and Lew Grade’s ATV network. Grade, having gained effective control of Northern, now hoped to woo the Beatles into accepting him as a sort of supercharged Dick James. His plan was to buy out the Howard and Wyndham consortium’s blocking 14 per cent, but to persuade John and Paul to retain their 31 per cent, and extend their songwriting contract beyond the present expiry date in 1973. Late in October, ATV finally bought out its consortium partner, bringing Lew Grade’s share of Northern to slightly more than 50 per cent. Hours afterwards, it was announced that John and Paul, and Ringo, were selling their combined 31 per cent shareholding to ATV. The news, when it reached Apple – by a tip-off from the Financial Times – sounded very like defeat. Allen Klein, interviewed during his customary afternoon breakfast, claimed it as a victory. A threatened lawsuit against Northern for £5m in ‘unpaid’ Beatle royalties helped to persuade ATV to pay cash rather than stock for the Beatles’ holdings. Klein could thus congratulate himself on having enriched John and Paul by about a million and a half pounds each, and Ringo by £80,000.

Norman, Philip. Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles (p. 387). Pan Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

Press Office Release to UPI, AP, Reuters, PA: On behalf of The Beatles and their company, Apple Corps, their business manager Allen Klein of ABKCO Industries after discussion with The Beatles announced in New York today that all negotiations between The Beatles, Associated Television, and Northern Songs have been terminated by The Beatles. All of The Beatles and their companies intend to sell all their shares in Northern Songs to Associated Television at a price in accordance with the terms laid down by the takeover panel. John Lennon and Paul McCartney have no intention of involving themselves in any further relationship with Northern Songs or Associated Television beyond the fulfillment of their songwriting contract to February 1973. The Beatles intend to keep all their rights within their own company, Apple, which has divisions in records, music publishing, motion pictures, and television. After discussions with The Beatles’ solicitors and after taking advice of counsel, the writ served upon Northern Songs by The Beatles’ own Maclen Company will not be withdrawn and a statement of claim will be served within the next few days.

From “The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider Account of The Beatles & the Wild Rise and Fall of Their Multi-Million Dollar Apple Empire” by Richard DiLello

Mid-December, it was announced that ATV had acquired 96% of the shares of Northern Songs.

The Northern Songs saga prompted Paul to write the song “You Never Give Me Your Money“, released on the album “Abbey Road.

Allen Klein and Dick James, who sold our publishing in Northern Songs without giving us a chance to buy the company, were both hanging around in the background of this song. All the people who had screwed us or were still trying to screw us. It’s fascinating how directly we acknowledged this in the song. We’d cottoned on to them, and they must have cottoned on to the fact that we’d cottoned on. We couldn’t have been more direct about it.

Paul McCartney – From “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” book (2021)

Last updated on January 15, 2022

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

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