Paul McCartney has generated a controvery over rearranging the surnames that adorn the credits of classic Beatles songs he sings on his latest double live album, Back In The U.S., released November 2002. 19 Beatles songs are listed with the credit 'by Paul McCartney & John Lennon'.

    Folklore tells a tale of John and Paul making a pact while still in their teens that their songs, whether composed together or separately, would be credited as Lennon-McCartney. With the publishing of the band's autobiography Anthology in 2000, a different story has now been revealed.

    Lennon is said to have asked Beatles manager Brian Epstein to publish Beatles songs with the credit being titled as Lennon-McCartney. Macca inquired about the billing arrangement and seemed content with their agreement. This action was never resolved before Epstein's death in 1967 nor Lennon's in 1980.

    McCartney confirmed that arrangement made between Epstein and Lennon, stating, "The truth is that this is much ado about nothing and there is no need for anybody to get their knickers in a twist".

    Defending his decision to flip the Lennon-McCartney label on his new album and listing his name first, he added, "I think it is fair and accurate for the songs that John declared were mine to carry my name first".

    However, this is not the first time Macca introduced this credit switcharoo on his famous songwriting partner. McCartney published Beatles credits on his 1977 double live album, Wings Over America, as McCartney-Lennon for five songs on that collection. Lennon was alive at the time and made no public statement of opposition to Macca's actions.

    Furthermore in 1963, the first Bealtes album, Please Please Me, published the Beatles original songwriting credits as McCartney-Lennon, not as they are now internationally recognized as the Lennon-McCartney brand. What's in a name? Well, Sir Paul seems to feel this is no big deal.

    McCartney said he had asked Yoko Ono, proir to his first wife's death in 1998, to switch the credit on "Yesterday" only. Sir Paul is the lone Beatle performing on the original 1965 recording that he composed without input from the Late John Lennon. This uncomfortable fact has created tension between the two.

    Ono is in opposition to Sir Paul's decision to rearrange the credits of Beatles songs on his latest release. Her spokesman, Elliot Mintz, commented no legal action will be taken. McCartney's spokesman, Geoff Baker, stated the credit correction was simply to rectify a historical imbalance.

RockonTour   Issue #16
Mitt Namlitt - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2003 RoT
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Who's On First?
Lennon & McCartney undergo role reversal

by Timothy Tilghman