The world doesn’t need another Beatles podcast. It simply doesn’t.
There are already countless podcasts, and many of them are very good; well researched, insightful, and fun. Everyone has their must-not-miss favorites to listen to while they drive or jog or cook. (Once, while listening to a SATB episode — which did not include myself, thank you very much — I was so distracted by the show that I labeled the peaches I was putting in the freezer “Beatles.” That raised a few eyebrows when we pulled those peaches out months later).
So, having already determined that the world doesn’t need another Beatles podcast, why am I writing a manifesto justifying the existence of my new podcast?
That’s a good question. Now watch as I dodge and choose not to answer it in the next sentence.
When Karen floated the idea of the podcast, my first reaction was reluctance, due to my already hectic schedule. If I were to agree, it would add another task I was simply not sure I had the time to do. I also didn’t want to infringe on the other podcasts who cover the same territory, considering I’ve interviewed with more than a few of them and always had an excellent experience. I’m also, to be blunt, fairly inept technologically, which means any and all tech would fall on Karen’s (more than capable) shoulders.
However, I miss writing the book reviews and analyses that I used to be able to write when I had the uninterrupted time to work on them. Viewing the podcasts as the verbal equivalent of those reviews — ones which I could produce in a discussion with Karen over approximately an hour, rather than the several hours, at least, it takes to produce a written analysis — convinced me that the podcast approach was a good idea. What Karen and I want to provide with the podcast — what we believe “All Together Now” offers, hopefully episode in and episode out — is the same level of analysis you would receive if you were taking a graduate-school level reading seminar on the Beatles. We’re going to categorize, and discuss, and look at methodology, chronology, and sourcing. And, if people want to hear them, I will occasionally digress down various history-related rabbit holes to provide examples of certain issues from other historical subjects.
That’s our hook, and our goal. If it works for you, and you find the podcast worthwhile, then I guess the world did need another Beatles podcast. Sorta.
Erin is being modest. Of COURSE the world needs another Beatle podcast–especially one hosted by our favourite Beatle historian! The link below should take you to our podcast website, where you will also find a brief descriptor of our podcast approach and a few words about the hosts, Erin and yours truly. If you have any problems connecting, please let me know.
So, without further ado, our first podcast: A review of Conversations With McCartney, by Paul Du Noyer.
46 thoughts on “Conversations With McCartney”
Well I’m definitely hyped about this!
Thanks Anne–we hope you enjoy it!
A few addendums …
The book concerning the meeting between the soldier from Abilene, KS and General Eisenhower is from Stephen Ambrose’s “Citizen Soldiers.” And the byline for the book “Northern Songs” says: By Brian Southall, with Rupert Perry. So both should have been credited, evidently with Southall’s credit coming first. We now return to our regularly scheduled podcast, already in progress.
I’m super excited for this, but will you be making it available via iTunes? This is the only way I currently know how to get podcasts onto my device (an older iPod).
Hi Simon; being podcast neophytes, Erin and I haven’t gotten that far yet but it’s certainly a possibility. In the meantime you can click the link and listen to the podcast directly on our webpage.
I’ll defer any and all tech questions to Karen, Simon, since I wouldn’t be of any help in that area. But just let me congratulate you on still having a functioning older iPod. Mine quit on me, all at once, about a year ago, and I miss it. I liked its simplistic utility.
I should have specified, our “podcast” webpage.
Hi Karen and Erin – just wanted to congratulate you on your first episode. I enjoyed the relaxed style of the conversation, combined with the academic detail you were both providing.
Particularly enjoyed the Eisenhower story! Paul was an early guest on my pod and I’m still in touch with him -might mention it to him at some point!
Thanks so much Joe, so glad you enjoyed it.
Still getting our land legs, so to speak, but the audio editor is now my best friend–which was put to good use editing out my meowing cat, the weather warnings buzzing on my phone, my a/c going on and off, and my seasonal allergy coughing.
Paul was an early guest of yours? Impressive!
Thanks, Joe! I’m glad it worked for you, but feel free to let us know what you think we might need to polish and/or tighten up.
Isn’t that a great story about Eisenhower? Eisenhower evidently remained very fond of Abilene, even though he never lived there again after he left for West Point (where he was a middling student but an evidently brilliant full-back on the school’s American football team). There’s an excellent presidential library in Abilene, (it’s also where he and his wife are buried) and, because of Eisenhower’s involvement with WWII and the emergence of the Cold War and his two terms as President, a lot of interesting material and archives are located there.
3rd hand story, so I don’t know how accurate it is, but a librarian I used to work for decades ago claimed she met an elderly lady librarian from Abilene at a librarian’s conference, and this lady claimed that she knew the Eisenhower boys when they were teenagers, but she wasn’t allowed to associate with them, because her parents argued they were from “the wrong side of the tracks.” And, interestingly, if you go to Abilene, the house Eisenhower grew up in is, literally, right next to the railroad tracks … just, evidently, on the wrong side. Small town snobbery at its most blind, I suppose, considering Eisenhower became President and one of his brothers President of an Ivy League college.
Further to the Klein discussion in the podcast, I found this excerpt in my files today which I think came from the Bob Spitz bio (unfortunately I didn’t make a note about the source):
Given my background and interests, I wish we had more time to delve into Paul’s emotional state during this period. It could almost be a podcast by itself.
Those quotes sound like a mashup between the Playboy interview with Joan Goodman and/or his section on Klein in MYFN. I can’t single out which one off the top of my head, and they’re similar enough in tone and description.
That line of his: “You all can get on with Klein and everything, just let me out,” reinforces Paul’s 1970/71 message far more so than his current “we would have lost everything” message. Paul certainly didn’t have the power to demand the others leave Klein even if he was allowed by them to leave, and their reaction following their loss at trial shows that, in contrast, they doubled down on their endorsement of Klein: the November 1971 interview reinforces that John trusts Klein totally in financial and legal matters. How much Paul’s switch to the “we would have lost everything” version that he’s been arguing more frequently for the last ten years or so is influenced by Klein’s current, very poor, reputation is an interesting question. It seems as if Paul doesn’t feel he has to defend not choosing Klein as manager anymore, because he assumes that now everyone agrees with him/acknowledges that Klein was the wrong choice. (Although he does evidently feel that he has to defend the lawsuit). So since Paul doesn’t have to bother to prove Klein as the “bad guy,” he can metaphorically move the narrative goal posts: switch from “I initiated the lawsuit because I wanted out because I didn’t trust him” to “he was a crook, and I was the only one who saw that, so I had to sue the Beatles to save all of us.” It’s an expansion from the breakup period argument of Paul suing the others to save Paul, to his current argument of Paul suing the others to save all of them.
Again, being hamstrung by my own lack of financial and legal expertise frustrates me, because so many of the claims made in this time period by both sides are obfuscated in finances and legal issues. Klein knew dollars and cents, and he knew that having McCartney’s income contributions into the common pool was infinitely better than not having them: that’s just common sense.
What we don’t know is what Klein told John, George, and Ringo about this, and/or what they understood about the financial consequences of the various scenarios where Paul leaves/Paul stays. Beatles historiography seems fairly universal that John’s business acumen was next to non-existent, but I honestly haven’t seen too much opinion, one way or another, on Ringo’s. And what of George? He was more involved in the business and production side of Apple than the others, and the official narrative certainly portrays him as the one most interested in business and finance. Which I guess is a very long-winded way of asking: Do we believe Klein would have given them accurate estimates on the financial losses and/or consequences that would have occurred had they done what Paul evidently asked, and allowed him off the f’ing label? And do we believe John, George and Ringo were capable of understanding the financial scenarios Klein presented to them? Or did they even bother with all that? Was there a dollar limit: “Well, if Apple projects to earn 3 million dollars a year less if Paul isn’t signed to the label, we can let him walk, but we’re not going to let him leave if the figure is above 5 million, annually.” (And I’m just completely throwing out random numbers, there). How much of John, George, and Ringo’s refusal to let Paul leave is Klein forecasting financial devastation, or at least hardship, if he does ,and how accurate would that forecasting be? And would John, George and Ringo be savvy enough to spot it if Klein hedged his bets by exaggerating the financial doom and gloom is Paul is allowed to leave?
Another reason I’ve seen reported for why the other three would not dissolve the contract was due to tax reasons, an issue that first crops up as the primary means for refusal in John’s December Melody Maker rebuttal and later on in “Apple to the Core,” (that all of them would take some massive tax hit that was so punitive it would be better to remain tied together financially) so my question is: how much of a tax hit did the Beatles take when the partnership did dissolve? Was it really so punitive that that was a legitimate reason for attempting to keep the four of them wedded legally and financially, or was it an excuse, with the financial threat level perhaps exaggerated, laid out by Klein to John, George and Ringo? A sort of, “If you let Paul leave, you, personally, will lose (x) amount of money: if you maintain Apple and the Beatles as a business entity, you save (x) amount of dollars. Now, what do you want to do?” Ugh. I don’t even do my own taxes: I can’t even fathom trying to do the Beatles’.
They probably are a mashup, Erin; I found them in my files with other quotes from the Spitz bio so the mashup is probably mine.
It’s interesting that Klein saw Paul as the golden goose, in that Paul’s songs were typically more commercial than John’s (althought by the time of Abbey Road George was stepping up with songs like Here Comes The Sun, Something, etc.) I would rather doubt that Klein used this angle with George, John, and Ringo though; I would guess that Klein simply sidestepped who he believed would be the main money-maker and just promoted the idea that he, with his business know-how, would make them pots of money.
That letter John wrote to Paul in Melody Maker in which he opines about their “tax problems” always struck me as the kind of thing someone would say when they’ve had a scare put into them without fully understanding why. In the same vein, John saw Klein as getting them out of financial trouble without having a full understanding of how Klein was going to do it but trusting that he would–a trust fuelled by Klein’s careful massaging of John and Yoko’s respective egos.
Paul’s later disclosures about his emotional state regarding Klein was probably as big of a motivation to start legal proceedings as was his perceived need to save the Beatle financial empire. I think you referenced that in the podcast–that these are not mutually exclusive motivations. As a mental health practitioner, I must say I can only imagine how utterly alienated and bereft one would feel when you believe you are losing EVERYTHING: your long-term friendships and support systems, your reputation, and your livelihood–all in front of the world media. We don’t use the phrase “nervous breakdown” in psychology–there’s no such diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–but it’s as close to an accurate descriptor of Paul’s emotional state that I’ve ever heard.
We have multiple interviews and sources from the Fab Four narrative with various Beatles claiming they wouldn’t not legally force a Beatle who wanted to leave to stay. Yet when that actually became a real scenario, we know that’s exactly what happened. So that begs the question: were they lying in those repeated earlier interviews? Vastly ignorant of the wealth and financial issues such a breakup would incur? Was there ever serious debate among the Fab 3 to let Paul leave without resorting to legal disputes? And how much of their refusal to allow Paul to leave was based on financial and legal information they were being supplied by Klein, someone who, presumably, did not want to be seen as the manager who presided over the Beatles’ split (let alone the one responsible for it) and had both a reputational and financial self-interest in not losing Paul McCartney?
That vein of John trusting Klein to keep him out of financial trouble without having any interest or knowledge of how Klein was expected to do that is an interesting one to tap into, Karen. The moment I obliquely referred to in my earlier post about John demonstrating complete and utter trust in Klein financially comes from Klein’s Vetter Playboy interview. If memory serves, Vetter witnesses Klein telling John he has some financial documents for him, regarding the Beatles dissolution, and John just tells Klein to give him the cliffs-notes version, and Klein promptly tells John that it says what they already know: that they’re going to take a tax hit when the band officially dissolves.
It’s an interesting moment: John doesn’t even bother to read the documents Klein is offering him: he is completely accepting of whatever Klein tells him they contain. Vetter views this as a demonstration of John’s complete trust in Klein. So the question becomes: was that a one time thing, or an established pattern in how John and Klein’s business relationship worked, with John relying entirely on Klein’s cliffs-notes version for his understanding of the various breakup era business issues? We have reason to believe John reached a point where Klein was evidently capable of convincing John of things that John himself should have known were untrue (“John, do you remember when you wrote 70% of the lyrics of ‘Eleanor Rigby?”) It’s really not much of a stretch to theorize that John, who everyone agrees was ignorant regarding business matters, and who publicly embraced his emotional and instinctive motivations for choosing Klein, blindly believed Klein’s financial advice, whatever it may be.
For a innately smart guy, John could be so utterly naive. I recall Pete Shotton saying that it took John a long time to trust someone, but when he did, he did with both feet (cue Magic Alex…)
I enjoyed the pod, thank you! I had read this book not long ago from the library and enjoyed it, but didn’t feel the need to own a copy; I appreciated the historiography stuff where you evaluated the book and noted that the interviews come from everywhere and every time and are not necessarily annotated, and how that can create confusion. thanks for pointing out his language regarding Klein and his lack of mitigating modifiers — I hadn’t really consciously noted that, but it feels totally obvious now. 🙂 And also, appreciate the point that sometime between MYFN and now, Paul has changed what he has to say about his lawsuit against the Beatles and their appreciation or lack thereof. 🙂 Anyway, Thanks for the great listen! Only thing is, the episode ended really abruptly and I hung around for a while, unsure if that was meant to be the end, hah.
Kristy, so glad you enjoyed the pod — even more glad you checked the book out from the library!
That issue of modifiers and qualifiers from Paul is such an interesting one, and probably why his absolutist statement — “He was a c***; we would have lost everything” — jumped out at me. John has a history of exaggerated comments, but Paul has a pattern of at times gentle but deliberate obfuscation, so when he deviates from that pattern, it’s interesting. It’s also an issue that any and all absolutist statements and language — ‘never, always, everything, whatsoever’ — ring alarm bells for me. It’s not a methodological error in and of itself, because Paul isn’t a secondary author; he’s the source. But if you’re dealing with absolutist language, it’s safe to say it should be examined closely, because odds are it could be an exaggeration. And thanks also for the note regarding the abruptness of the ending: we will take that into account when we record the next one.
Maybe you could have a nice game-show host ending. “Thanks everyone, have a good night, and see you next time onnnnnn—–” 😉
that was the plan….!
It did end abruptly Kristy, due to my not-so-elegant editing. I planned on adding an end note but I’m not sure what happened to it. Anyhow, thanks for the feedback!
Enjoyed the podcast, thanks Karen and Erin. Only issue was loss of productivity at work caused by this and numerous other podcasts!! Regarding “Losing Everything,” rock history is ripe with examples of criminal mismanagement. Young, naive artists living the rock lifestyle were (are) easy pry. During roughly the same era: Don Arden, mgr – Small Faces (Ronnie Lane died sick/penniless, Steve Marriott not far behind at passing), Saul Zaentz, mgr-CCR (John Fogerty sued for plagiarizing himself-went to Supreme Ct), Stan Polley, mgr, plus Apple receivership temporarily cutting off royalties, Badfinger (Pete Ham & Tom Evans suicides). During Elvis’s last several years, how helpful was Col. Parker? There are probably many others I’m forgetting. I like most of Paul’s music, outside of that, I’m not necessarily a big fan. Yet, I almost believe what he says. If all four blindly followed Klein, no telling what might have happened. But I don’t believe he was the one who keenly saw Klein as unscrupulous…..was Eastmans in his ear.
Hi SAK–good point about the dangers of mismanagement in rockdom. I’m guessing Paul probably heard alot of those horror stories and feared the worst re Klein.
Thanks, SAK! We’re glad you liked the podcast — to hell with work productivity. And thanks for the examples of rock mismanagement where artists really did lose everything/close enough to make it seem that way.
Your final point — that Paul only saw Klein as unscrupulous because that’s what the Eastman’s were telling him (or, at the very least, that that was a significant part of his refusal to trust Klein) is such a key one. (It’s not something Paul addresses in these interviews, though. Accd. to these interviews, Paul’s evaluation of Klein is totally, 100% Paul. But we know that the Eastman’s advice heavily influenced Paul’s reaction to Klein, and certainly influenced his legal and financial response to Klein. The accusation Klein repeatedly makes in this time period is that the Eastman’s were misleading Paul; feeding him information to make them distrust him. We have no evidence that the Eastman’s told Paul anything untrue — there was enough accurate information to make Paul wary of Klein regardless — but there’s also little reason to doubt they weren’t advising Paul to put his financial future in Klein’s hands.
It was not only the Eastman’s. Peter Asher left Apple because of Klein and took James Tayllr with him. He said that he had heard a lot of unfavourable stuff about him from his US contacts, among them most likely his then girlfriend (and later wife) Betsy Doster, who had worked for Klein.
Excellent point, Jesse. So not only is Paul hearing that trusting Klein is a bad idea from Peter, he’s also hearing it from the Eastman’s, and, reportedly, from Mick Jagger, who warned Paul away from Klein but evidently failed to do so when Paul asked him to talk to the other Beatles about Klein.
The element of John (and, to a lesser extent, George and Ringo) being attracted to Klein due to emotional reasons is a powerful one because, as we’ve seen, you can’t use logic or evidence to argue against emotion. When John was reportedly confronted with issues surrounding Klein’s reputation, his response was to A. argue that that evidence was proof of Klein’s countercultural status, and that the criticism was motivated by the establishment and B. argue that no one who’s reputation is that bad can really be that bad, Alice-in Wonderland logic that Paul described as “Lennon-esque crap.” When Jagger did reportedly tell John that Klein could make it difficult to get ahold of your own money, John misconstrued that as proof that Klein didn’t throw money around, interpreting a seemingly negative comment in a way that reflected positively on Klein. I’m not sure what evidence Paul and/or other sources could have offered that would have convinced John that Klein was not the correct choice, because what evidence we have indicates John dismissed or misinterpreted the evidence that told him what he didn’t want to hear. I think a lot of it comes back to the issue of trust: Paul trusted the advice from sources like Peter Asher and the Eastman’s. John trusted advice from Yoko and, as he said in LR, his instinct to go with Klein. It’s akin to a royal court where two princes are being fed information from courtiers as they engage in a power struggle.
Another from roughly the same era, consider this lesson in music management from The Turtles: https://youtu.be/5JHN5HaUg28
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Hi Erin and Karen, congratulations on the podcast!
Long time lurker, first time commenter here.
First of all, let me say that I have just listened to the episode on Conversations with McCartney and really enjoyed it. I checked out the book from the library some time ago but, unfortunately, only had time to browse through it. I think I should read it again after having listened to your podcast.
Just out of curiosity, why did you choose to review this book for the first episode? Was it because you could use it as an example to flag up a number of historiographical issues?
Regarding Erin’s question, whether, from a legal and/or financial perspective, they could have lost “everything” if Paul did not sue the other three Beatles, when I was browsing the book I took it to mean everything financially, and if that is the correct interpretation, then my view would be that, yes, it is possible that they could lose all or most of their money if they stayed with Klein, although presumably they could also recover some of that loss by bringing a suit against Klein. (I just saw the comment from SAK so other than the examples they gave) I think Dennis O’Brien’s management of George’s business and the subsequent lawsuit between these two are illustrative in this regard.
That said, I do agree with you that Paul’s “I saved the other three financially by suing them” narrative is an afterthought, although I would also say that, with the benefit of hindsight, there could be some truth to afterthoughts too.
Personally, I believe that he was mostly motivated by the need to regain control of his life and his finances – it is possible that he would not have commenced the suit if George did not tell him to “stay on the fucking label” or John did not tell him to (paraphrasing here) get the others’ consent before John would even start to consider letting him leave the partnership. I say this as, defendants in lawsuits usually only become aware of the Writ of Summons filed against them when they were served with the Writ and a Writ of Summons is usually valid for service within 12 months from filing. IIRC, Paul was agonizing over whether to commence the lawsuit in summer (so it is possible or even likely that the Writ was filed in the summer but not served) and only decided to serve the Writ at the end of the year after those said failed attempts to resolve the issue by talking to John and George(I think the hosts of the Nothing is Real podcast explained this far better than me in their Ram episodes and I happen to agree wholeheartedly with them on this point. I am also fairly new to Beatledom so I make my points with the caveat that my beliefs may well change after taking a deeper dive.)
Thanks for commenting, M.D. I’m a lurker by nature myself, so I know how difficult it can be to post that first time, but I’m glad you did.
In all honesty, the reason we chose “Conversations with McCartney” as the inaugural book to analyze is simply because its one both Karen and I already had on our shelves; virtually no methodology or analysis went into our choice of it beyond availability. Karen’s Beatles library used to be fairly extensive, but she’s given much of it away; my own Beatles library is almost non-existent, because I accessed almost all of the books I used in my research via inter-library loan (and, not coincidentally, saved myself hundreds of dollars in the process. So if other Beatles authors are reading this; sorry, I didn’t bother to buy your book). I actually only have about 4-5 Beatles books that I own, all of them, such as “Conversations with McCartney,” gifts. But I was pleasantly pleased after re-reading the book to discover that it offered so many important discussion issues.
I will hopefully have a chance to respond to the latter part of your comment later; now it’s time for a week meeting. Thanks!
Thank you for your reply, Erin. This is as good a reason as any 😊.
Thanks for the “Nothing is Real” suggestion and pinpointing the “Ram” podcast as delving deeply into this issue. I always feel a small amount of trepidation when delving into the legal and financial “he said-she said” of the Beatles breakup, because, first, so much of the information we get in this time is heavily agenda driven but also because it’s not an area I’m an expert in, and I tend to avoid wanting to proclaim authority on subjects that I’m not an authority on. I feel I haven’t personally researched the issue extensively enough and/or lack the educational background to offer new insight into the subject beyond analyzing what has already been said.
Your information of the Writ of Summons is a great example of why this subject is so layered: I don’t recall hearing that information elsewhere: the date is always that the others (John, George, and Ringo) were notified of the lawsuit December 31, 1970, which means most authors have pinpointed the breaking point to Paul’s meeting with George in November 1970 and the “you’ll stay on the f’ing label” comment. But if, as you say, there’s a twelve month period in which the Writ is filed but not served, George’s comment could still be a breaking point … just perhaps one that occurs when Paul already has the Writ in his back pocket, ready to use if this last ditch effort with George fails.
You are right that the picture Paul paints of the pre-lawsuit period is one where he agonizes over the decision: I think in MYFN he describes it as the most difficult thing he had ever done, at least in his adult life, up to that point, and in the “Conversations with McCartney” book, he emphasizes how he knew what damage the lawsuit was going to do to him, in Liverpool. (Perhaps someone who’s from Liverpool and experienced that era could offer some thoughts on that). And kudos to you for being open-minded to changing your interpretations on issues after you’ve further researched them. I will absolutely check that podcast out. Paul also stresses about how it was Lee Eastman, and not Linda, who encouraged the lawsuit.
There’s a call-out here, to you and any other legal experts we may have lurking and/or reading: Mojo’s “10 Years that Shook the World” offers the only legal interpretation I’ve ever seen that argues that Klein’s very appt. as Apple Manager was illegal. All other interpretations I’ve seen argued that the 3-1 appt. of Klein as manager was legal under British partnership law, even if it was a violation of the Beatles personal unanimity rule. But Mojo argues that Klein’s appt. was illegal because British partnership law would have considered something as crucial as appt. of a manager to be above the majority rule structure, and would have required unanimity. Unfortunately, I don’t have my copy of Mojo, so I don’t have the page number, but I remember being surprised at the argument. Does anyone have any comments on that? I would have assumed that, if Klein’s appt. was illegal from the get-go, that it would have been an easier element in getting rid of him at trial.
Lee Eastman had apparently passed the dealings with the Beatles on to his junior partner quite early on ( that was one point of complaint from Lennon later on ), and the decision was made after final talks with John Eastman, at least according to the latter as quoted in Philip Norman’s McCartney bio:
“When it was clear that no informal settlement could be reached, John Eastman and his wife, Jodie, went to stay with Paul and Linda in Scotland, and Eastman set out the legal options. Paul wanted to sue Allen Klein, but as his brother-in-law pointed out, Klein had not been party to any of the Apple agreements which were tying him down. The only viable course, Eastman said, was a lawsuit to dissolve the partnership. ‘I told him it had to be in the British High Court, framed as Paul McCartney versus John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. It was a terrible step for him to take against people he’d been friends with since he was a kid.’
He took a few days to think it over while his lawyer made doubly sure there was no alternative. ‘A week later, I went back and he asked me if it really was the only way,’ Eastman recalls. ‘I said, “Yes–or you lose everything.”
‘“Okay,” he said, “pull the trigger.” And from then on, he never wavered.”
Thanks for the clarification, Jesse. I was going entirely off of memory — either my reading of MYFN or Paul’s Playboy interview with Joan Goodman (I think) — and I was under the impression that in at least one of those interviews, Paul stresses Lee’s advice when making the ultimate decision to launch the lawsuit.
What’s striking to me is who Paul doesnt mention giving him legal and financial advice in that time period, or turning to when he makes the ultimate decision to sue: Linda. Certainly the impression most authors were arguing during the early 1970s was that Linda was a major element in Paul’s decision to refuse Klein, to continue to refuse Klein, and to continue following the advice of the Eastman’s. (In his Playboy interview, for example, Klein claims the Beatles can get back together once Paul learns “to think for himself.”)
Yet we have no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that Linda was a significant part of the legal and financial discussions leading to the dissolution. In contrast, Linda’s response, according to Paul, when legal and business meetings started to drag him down, was to advise Paul not to go. He personally found that liberating, but it probably didn’t help him in regards to his relationships with the other Beatles and/or keep him informed of what was going on, business-wise, at Apple. One of the unanswerable questions we may never know in Beatles history is just how much of a role Linda played in the business and legal issues during the breakup. She incidentally helped set things in motion by introducing Paul to her brother and father, but I don’t believe we have any evidence that she was offering advice or suggestions at those legal and business meetings with Paul, John Eastman, and occasionally Lee Eastman. In contrast, she appears to be rather proud, in later interviews, of her disinterest in legal and financial matters. One would hope that Paul would have at least okayed the lawsuit with her before launching it, given that, accd. to Doggett, there was a time following it when the Beatles’ finances were all tied up and she and Paul were almost entirely dependent on her income to make ends meet.
I realized that I have been remiss in not pointing out that the discussions about the validity and service of the writ are in both season episode 9 (Ram-Part One) and season episode 10 (Ram-Part Two) of the Northing is Real podcast, at about 1 hour and 8 minutes into episode 9 and at the start of episode 10. And they said that the writ was filed on 15 November so I apologize for the mistake in my previous comment, it was not filed in the summer months.
I certainly understand your trepidation when discussing the legal and financial issues. I am working as a, albeit relatively inexperienced, litigation lawyer in a common law jurisdiction and sometimes I find myself awfully confused and frustrated too, although for me it was due to the lack of access to primary material. What I would give to read the original court papers, because what I have read so far are filtered through the lenses of authors who are not legally trained, who, understandably, might have consciously or subconsciously allowed their willingness to excuse the less savory behaviors of their favorite influence their interpretation. And, even lawyers disagree with each other all the time about the law (this is partly why parties go to court) so I would really love to read some primary documents to form my own opinions.
“All other interpretations I’ve seen argued that the 3-1 appt. of Klein as manager was legal under British partnership law, even if it was a violation of the Beatles personal unanimity rule. ”
This is where I disagree with the predominant interpretation: even if the English partnership law expressly allows the majority rule, it does not mean that therefore the majority rule must always prevail. Surely all the partners would also have retained the autonomy to enter into agreements regarding the partnership’s governance and decision-making process, including terms stipulating all future decisions regarding the partnership are to be made unanimously. I can see the law providing for the possibility to have the majority rule because it would be efficient, far less likely to create an impasse, but I don’t see the law curtailing the partners’ respective freedom to contract in this manner. If an agreement for unanimity was indeed entered into, then the partners who later reneged would still be in breach of contract.
Well, obviously I have not done proper research yet and am talking based on a hunch so thank you so much for the reference to “10 Years that Shook the World”, I will definitely try to get a copy. Thank you 😊
So, M.D., this questions is probably going to display my lack of knowledge regarding legal documentation … is there no legal database from which to access the documents regarding the Beatles trial? Is it ever/has it ever been used as a case study in law school? Or is its testimony and documentation simply unavailable for a certain period of time/forever? (And if you can’t answer the question, that’s fine).
Because my impression of the trial and the legal financial issues surrounding it is that, from the beginning, in 1970/71, people with little to no legal expertise (namely, rock and roll and music journalists) have been telling the audience (who, presumably, have the same amount or even less legal and financial expertise) what happened, how and why. What we (the audience and, in virtually all cases, the authors) haven’t been able to do is examine the primary sources, or have them examined by an expert in the legal field. Instead, we have absolutely crucial documents that have been unavailable for assessment or analysis for decades. And that’s beyond frustrating. The one work I can think of that has not quite excerpts from the trial, but more of a rough description, is “Apple to the Core.” And that’s a secondary source that has serious methodological issues, and one researched and written during a very agenda-driven time period .. and yet I assume that’s the source a lot of authors use (it’s the source I used) because so little else is available. And your point that even lawyers argue about these matters — that it isn’t cut and dry, and presumably journalists are not understanding it at the depth it requires — is such a crucial one.
“This is where I disagree with the predominant interpretation: even if the English partnership law expressly allows the majority rule, it does not mean that therefore the majority rule must always prevail. Surely all the partners would also have retained the autonomy to enter into agreements regarding the partnership’s governance and decision-making process, including terms stipulating all future decisions regarding the partnership are to be made unanimously. I can see the law providing for the possibility to have the majority rule because it would be efficient, far less likely to create an impasse, but I don’t see the law curtailing the partners’ respective freedom to contract in this manner. If an agreement for unanimity was indeed entered into, then the partners who later reneged would still be in breach of contract.”
I wish I remembered which author in Mojo made that claim: it’s in my notes, which are at work. But if that’s true … why didn’t the Eastman’s argue such at trial? That Klein’s very appt. violated British partnership law, therefore presumably making his position null and void? Instead, they had to take a more seemingly difficult path, to prove that Klein was a damaging choice, and that the Beatles were fundamentally broken. I’m not saying I disagree with your interpretation, which I find very provocative, just curious as to why you believe the Eastman’s (and their proxy British lawyer, because I assume they weren’t licensed to practice in the English court system) wouldn’t have brought that up. And, to further complicate matters, you have Tony Bramwell claiming (with no evidence) that the Beatles unanimity rule was actually written into a contract … but the others ignored it/forgot when they appointed Klein.
I was curious about whether a transcript of the case was available on the internet and came up with nothing, other than an interesting tidbit about Paul’s lawyer, David Hirst. Apparently he was quite a remarkable litigator, and even represented the other Beatles against Allen Klein. How’s that for irony.
Did they? I didn’t remember that. How amusing.
Well, it came from that bastion of verifiable information, Wikipedia. 🙂
Sorry for the late response, I have been busy these last few days.
Regarding the availability of legal documents, I would say that administrative information, such as who filed a case against who in which particular division of the court (cases are filed in different divisions based on the quantum of the claim and/or nature of the relief sought) and the date a decision was reached, could be public information in the sense that anyone could conduct a litigation search against another person/company/partnership – banks/creditors often do it before deciding whether to extend a loan to potential borrowers.
The brief material facts and legal positions of parties’ cases, will be in their pleadings – these are documents that define the structure of a case. Like a person’s bone structure, if pleadings are read alone, you can probably tell the basis of that party’s case but not the manner he would go on to prove it. Parties’ detailed factual positions will be set out in their respective affidavits/testimonies/depositions. In contrast to the pleadings that are, to legal suits, like the bone structure of a human being, the affidavits/testimonies/depositions are the flesh and blood. A lawyer would in most cases be able to make an educated guess of the other party’s case theory based on the affidavits/testimonies/depositions but will only know for sure the other party’s legal arguments when he receives/hears the written/oral submissions by the opposing lawyers. The submissions are where the lawyers persuade the court to accept their position by incorporating their client’s version of facts into established authorities and precedents.
(Sorry for the long-winded explanation but I am not sure if authors understand the significance of each legal document – I was just reading Doggett’s book and found his statement that McCartney “laid out his case” in the affidavit inaccurate. But this is not the time or place for me to vent about that frustrating and infuriating book.)
I think nobody would understand a case fully unless they have access to primary materials including the pleadings, the affidavits/testimonies/depositions and the legal and oral submissions. Unfortunately, such documents are confidential, in most cases, only available to the parties and their lawyers. The exceptions are when selected cases are conducted in an open court and when parties and/or their solicitors choose to release part of the documents after the conclusion of the case.
If I recall correctly, I read in a forum discussion that the affidavits/depositions were indeed used in law school discussions in the early 70s, with sensitive information redacted – the person who claimed to have read them is a first-generation fan who studied law in the U.S. and in England at that time and she had some interesting insights. I did not save the link but may be able to find it again. If I may email you, I will send you the link if and when I find it. I would have liked to discuss it with that person but the forum is now defunct and she stopped updating her blog a few years ago.
Without access to the pleadings, the affidavits/testimonies/depositions, the next best thing would be a lengthy written decision. Judges, when writing decisions, often cite parties’ respective factual and legal positions so it would be a good source of at least snippets of the otherwise unavailable affidavits/testimonies/depositions and submissions. A written decision that is released would be archived and published periodically in one of the law reports such as the All England Law Reports, Lloyd’s Law Reporter etc. which are now available online. The issue I have is that the jurisdiction I work in have its own online case precedents archive but the focus is on local cases so its collection of English decisions is not as extensive as I would like it to be. Do you know if a decision was released for this case? If so, I can pop down to the supreme court library to go through the hardcopy English law reports.
Regarding the second part of your comments, I have to confess I have not been able to get a copy of Apple to the Core. I am reading your book but have not gotten to the part yet. A copy of 10 Years that Shook the World is on the way to me and I hope to have time to read Baby You’re a Rich Man, Suing the Beatles for Fun & Profit soon. I will be happy to discuss with you again once I have read up more.
Speaking of Stan Soocher, here’s a link to his conference presentation entitled ‘SUING THE BEATLES AND OTHERS: PERILS AND PRECEDENTS
OF CELEBRITY LAWSUITS”:
Thanks for the link, Karen: I will try to look at that this afternoon.
M.D. please don’t worry about feeling pressured to reply in a certain time frame. Given the precision and thoughtfulness of your response, it was well worth the wait. Your efforts to distinguish between the administrative information, the pleadings, and the Judges decision was so well articulated and explained.
So odds are low we would be able to access some, let alone all of, the documentation and, without the various structural parts/elements of the documentation, we still wouldn’t be able to get an accurate interpretation. As a researcher, I find that understandable but immensely frustrating.
“I think nobody would understand a case fully unless they have access to primary materials including the pleadings, the affidavits/testimonies/depositions and the legal and oral submissions. Unfortunately, such documents are confidential, in most cases, only available to the parties and their lawyers.”
Let’s say there’s a hypothetical scenario where a well-respected Beatles author were able to access this information, and these sources, and examined them in good faith and with as much objectivity as possible. Would they be able to understand what the evidence says? Or would we essentially need someone with a background in law to examine this information in order to give us the most accurate version/interpretation possible? My reflex is to assume the latter. Even if this treasure trove of legal forms were magically made available tomorrow to any and all Beatles authors, is there a Beatles author out there who has the expertise to give us the most accurate interpretation of evidence possible (particularly if we assume this primary source evidence is unavailable to all but the author)? Again, and I happily include my self in this category, my answer is ‘no.’ One thing historical methodology tells us is that expertise and knowledge in an area matters when it comes to the credibility of a source, (it’s one of the reasons I regard George Martin as such a crucial source when it comes to the music) and that this applies both to primary and secondary sources. A trained lawyer would presumably be able to understand the primary source material from the Beatles trial at a deeper level of comprehension than a layman. The infuriating aspect is that it is evidence that is seemingly unavailable to all, layman and expert alike.
“I was just reading Doggett’s book and found his statement that McCartney “laid out his case” in the affidavit inaccurate. But this is not the time or place for me to vent about that frustrating and infuriating book.)”
You are not the first poster to express frustrations with Doggett: if you would care to go more in-depth, you certainly may. On the whole, I like “You Never Give Me Your Money,” although it certainly benefits from being directly contrasted with “Apple to the Core,” the other main book on the Beatles’ breakup. Having said that, there are areas where I believe Doggett stumbles.
You are welcome to email me; I believe we have an email to use on the “contact” page. Normally, I’d also tell you to contact me via Facebook, where the book has a page, but due to my own idiocy, I haven’t been able to access my Facebook in almost two weeks. (Public Service Announcement: Write down your passwords. And update your old, defunct emails).
I want to say that a decision was released … how else would we have Justice Terrance Stamp’s comments regarding Klein as “untrustworthy” and his description that Apple was not created to be a sort of “Frankenstein monster?” IIRC, those would have come from Stamp’s decision. But looking at the actual documents would make a world of difference. But I can’t state definitively that that came from a judge’s decision: I’m making an educated guess that it did. But if you think there’s a chance you could access the decision (assuming it exists) we would all await with baited breath.
“Apple to the Core” is difficult to get a hold of currently: Karen and I are exploring it as a possibility for an upcoming podcast, and unfortunately neither of us has a copy. I have one in the I.L.L queue: She’s trying to secure one via I.L.L via a public library: but copies on Amazon are running anywhere from 60-300 bucks. I’d suggest I.L.L. if that’s possible for you: most public libraries will grant you a certain amount of I.L.L’s per year, free of charge. But libraries are usually my answer to almost anything.
I actually have a copy of Apple to the Core and would be happy to pass it along for such a good cause. (I took a crack at it a while back and it mostly gave me a headache.) You could email me a work address to mail it to in case I might be a stalker :0)
I would also like to read at least the affidavits and judge’s decision, but I did find this short summary: http://abbeyrd.net/paullawsuit.html
Some highlights: The Beatles signed a ten-year partnership contract in 1967 that meant none of them could just walk away. Klein’s contract called for a 20% commission on any increase in royalties, but he’d taken 20% of the entire royalty. He’d also taken a 20% commission on sales for which he hadn’t increased their royalties.
I’ve read elsewhere (and of course now can’t find where) that the judge’s ruling included something about how even if their contract called for majority rule, that would only apply to “ordinary matters” and appointing a manager isn’t an ordinary matter.
Thanks for the offer, Laura, and Karen may take you up on it, but I already have a copy en route according to the I.L.L. director at my university library. (A little aside; when the head librarian introduced yesterday me to the new I.L.L. director and told her that my specialty was the Beatles, the lady thought she was talking about bugs, and when she heard it was actually the band, was relieved she wouldn’t have to help me find articles and books on creepy crawlies).
I think the “ordinary matters” issue sounds similar to the claim made in Mojo. Huh.
Thanks so much for the offer, Laura, but mailing the book to me in Canada would cost at least 20 bucks and would also take awhile to get here as it would likely be held up at the border.
Erin and I will work something out but thanks so much again!
Late, late reply:
If at all possible, I would suggest trying to secure a copy of “Apple to the Core.” I recently re-read it for an upcoming podcast, and the last 10 pages or so of the book cover the trial more extensively than in any other book, and include large quotes from what must have been the judge’s written decision. And, to offer a podcast spoiler, it appears your evaluation of the questionable nature of the 3-1 appointment of Klein under British partnership law was something that Justice Stamp considered iffy.
I just realized I have an old copy of Apple to the Core. Looks like a paperback from the early 1970s. Never read it before. Well written and kinda funny in parts. Really cool cover by the way.