Could Paul McCartney sing his own Songs?

I have heard the Beatles songs are now owned by Michael Jackson or Sony as such. I was wondering how this would affect Paul, could he sing say Yesterday or Eleanor Rigby in concert if he wanted to, or would this violate some contract. It would seem strange to be forbidden to sing a song you wrote. Does anyone know such contracts work.

Jackson/Sony only own the publishing rights, and they don’t own the entire catalog. The only time it’s really affected McCartney in concert is when he wanted to hand out sheets of lyrics to the audience, but decided against it because he would have had to pay them to do it.

Cecil’s take from 1995, there might be status changes to the situation since then.

To the best of my knowledge, Jackson owns the publishing rights, so can’t actually stop any performances of the songs. As far as I know, he actually has to pay McCartney royalties whenever the songs are reproduced. I think he only has the publishing rights (sheet music).

Previous threads on the topic:
[thread=411719]Michael Jackson is LOSING the Beatles catalog![/thread]
[thread=385344]Is Michael Jackson’s Beatles Library getting more or less valuable as time goes by?[/thread]
[thread=359355]Michael Jackson & Beatles songs[/thread]
[thread=335755]Does Michael Jackson indeed own the Beatles Catalouge?[/thread]
[thread=325241]Michael Jackson sued over $, Beatles songs…[/thread]
[thread=239454]Jacko is broke. What about the Beatles’ songs?[/thread]
[thread=144211]Who owns the music of The Beatles?[/thread]

The first two posters are right as far as I know. With all of Jackson’s debt issues, I think he’s sold some of his stake in the catalogue, as well. And McCartney has said he doesn’t care about the publishing issue because the rights to his songs will revert to him soon, anyway, although I’m not sure what law is involved there.

McCartney has sung his old Beatles songs in concert for years. His “Back in the U.S.” live album is filled with them, including songs written by John Lennon and George Harrison. Recently, he did “A Day in the Life,” which was believed to be the first time any of the Beatles ever performed the song live.

Even if he didn’t own the performance rights (which he does), it doesn’t prevent him from singing the songs. You can sing a song by any songwriter in a concert provided you pay the proper fees, and most venues own a blanket license so the performer doesn’t have to worry about it.

Any idea if he sang both parts, or did someone else sub for the Lennon lyrics?

I saw him ages ago (when Linda was alive) and I remember him doing Yesterday, We Can Work It Out, Back in the U.S.S.R., Fool on the Hill and other Beatles standards, along with his solo stuff.

I believe he faced the wrath of Yoko Ono after he changed the long-standing “(Lennon/McCartney)” songwriting credit to “(McCartney/Lennon)” in the song listings on the Back in the U.S. album.

But why? If I make a table, and I sell it to you, I don’t get the right to eat my breakfast at it for the rest of my life. I didn’t have to sell it. I chose to do so because I wanted the cash more than I wanted the table.

IP works the same way. (Although, as noted upthread, because of the rights at issue, Jackson/Sony’s ownership doesn’t prevent McCartney performing these songs.)


Along with a lot of other people. But it does make sense as a way to specify who wrote what and doesn’t affect anyone’s royalties.

I suspect Yoko didn’t like the fact it would emphasize the fact that McCartney wrote more Beatles songs than Lennon

He sung it all. But he did mess up some of his own lyrics.

I think she’s just opposed to anything that takes any measure of credit away from him. But I think Paul later acknowledged it wasn’t the most tactful thing to have done, or at least that it didn’t look good, after the other Beatles chimed in to say changing the credits wasn’t a great idea.

Essentially, we’re saying the same thing.

McCartney didn’t propose that all Beatles songs be credited to “McCartney-Lennon” – only those he wrote. So you’d have “Lennon-McCartney” for songs John wrote, and “McCartney-Lennon” for songs Paul wrote. I don’t know about the true collaborations, but I suspect they would have remained the same.

I can understand Paul prefering not to have Lennon’s name come first on something like “Yesterday,” where John wasn’t involved in the songwriting. And by keeping John’s name on the songs, the change would have no effect on royalties.

But that sort of listing would have an effect on Lennon’s reputation, since he wrote fewer Beatles songs than McCartney. This has been documented, of course (even by Lennon himself), but the change in credits would have made it clear to the casual fan.

I saw him perform live in Tel Aviv four weeks ago. He sang both parts, although he substituted the last verse with a segue into the chorus of “Give Peace a Chance”.

…more like if you once made a table, and lost the rights to it, you couldn’t ever make a table like that again.
New wood, new tools–?
Nope, not legal.

Actually, as noted upthread, that’s not how copyrights in music works. You can perform a work without permission, but you must pay royalties.

This whole thing is a big crock, in my opinion. In fact, one of my early Beatles albums (“Please Please Me” or “With the Beatles,” perhaps?) credits McCartney first on all compositions. I believe McCartney when he said that his original agreement with Lennon was to alternate. And I don’t see why anyone should be able to stop him from putting it that way on his own albums.

I keep wanting to answer the OP “Better than anyone else in the world.”

McCartney-Lennon is the writing credit on all original Beatles songs up to, but excluding, She Loves You which was released on 23 August 1963.

This list comprises three singles (Love Me Do, Please Please Me, and From Me To You) and all tracks on the first album Please Please Me.

That’s what I said, dude.


Wikipedia has an article on everything.

Or, if you prefer,