If you’ve watched Peter Jackson’s new documentary, The Beatles: Come Back, up close, then you might have learned some interesting things about the Beatles. However, some may not realize that the documentary foreshadowed two major events in the group’s history. Publisher Dick James talks to Paul McCartney about the band’s catalog in one scene. John Lennon tells George Harrison that Allen Klein is a genius in another.
These two men would soon see the fate of The Beatles wrapped around their fingers.
Dick James was in Paul’s ear as The Beatles rehearsed at Twickenham Studios
In the opening act of Jackson’s documentary, Paul, Ringo and director Michael Lindsay-Hogg sat down with Beatles publisher Dick James browsing through a few songs he had recently purchased with Northern Songs. “4000 songs is a lot to absorb,” said James. “It’s a very good list. That’s the entire catalog until ’65, ”he continued. “Is this all ours?” Paul asked.
“Is this the catalog that has just been put up for sale? Lindsay-Hogg asked. “This is the one we just bought,” James said. “Yeah, Songs from the North. Which includes Paul and John. Paul slipped inside, “Pretty much. “” What do you mean by “Roughly”? James asked. “No comment,” Paul replied.
James went on to say that they would reprint the music for sheet music due to the expanding market. He also explained how the Beatles checked their sheet music for errors.
When George arrived, Ringo asked him if he wanted to see “what have you got half a percent of?” “Not really,” he replied. Privately, James told Paul they had to pay a high price for the new catalog.
It was a little while, but it said a lot.
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James becomes sort of a villain for the group
While the Beatles felt indebted to James for being a key figure in starting their careers, he eventually became a villain to them as well.
By 1963, James was new to the world of music publishing, but he was hungry to be the publisher of The Beatles. To impress the group’s manager, Brian Epstein, he arranged the group’s first televised performance on Thank your lucky stars.
First, James got the rights to Please make me happy. Then he suggested that he and Epstein create a separate company called Northern Songs, which would house the entire Beatles catalog. Epstein and the Beatles signed the necessary contracts “without really knowing what it was,” Paul said (by Beatles bible).
“We said to them, ‘Can we have our own business? They said, ‘Yeah.’ We said, “Ours? They said, ‘Yes you can. You are awesome. This is what we are going to do now. So we really thought that meant 100 percent ownership. But of course that turned out to be 49% for me, John and Brian, and 51% for Dick James and Charles Silver, ”explained Paul.
James and Silver actually owned 25% each, while John and Paul owned 20% each and Epstein 10%. So basically James made a lot more money from Beatles songs than they were. In 1969, they lost full control of the rights to their catalog when James sold his share of Northern Songs without offering John and Paul the option of repurchasing it. Years later, the catalog would end up in the hands of Michael Jackson.
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John praised Allen Klein after they first met
We don’t see Allen Klein, but he’s a key figure in The Beatles: Come Back and in the rest of the days the group together. In the third part of the Jackson documentary, John told George that he had met Allen Klein, the manager of the Rolling Stones, and that they spoke until two in the morning.
John praised Klein. He said, “He knows everything about everything. A very interesting guy… He even knows what we are like. The way he described each of us, you know, and what we’ve done and what we’re going to do and so forth.
However, Glyn Johns, the sound engineer for The Beatles, told John that Klein was very strange but intelligent.
There was a reason John said this to George and not Paul.
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Drama with Klein is part of the reason the Beatles broke up
When the Beatles met Klein, Ringo, who never really had an opinion, said Klein was a “con artist who is on our side for a change”. Later, John, George and Ringo voted for Klein to be the group’s manager. Therefore, Paul’s idea of having his new brother and stepfather, John and Lee Eastman, as managers was rejected.
It was an unfortunate mistake because, as the Los Angeles Times Klein wrote, turning out to be “somewhere between fishy and downright twisted.” The decision to continue with Klein became one of the key factors in The Beatles’ demise.
Thus, as the New York Times pointed out, Jackson’s documentary might not show the Beatles separation, but it certainly shows all of the factors that could possibly lead to it.
“Jackson’s film makes it clear that the end was near,” they wrote. “If there is one real culprit in the breakup, it is the trade disputes that followed in 1969, when the group fought over its leadership, and Lennon and McCartney tried, unsuccessfully, to take control of the company. company that held their writing rights. “
“Our movie doesn’t show the Beatles breaking up,” Jackson said, “but it does show the one singular moment in history that you could possibly tell was the beginning of the end.”