Paul McCartney: The Biography by Norman Philip

Paul McCartney: The Biography by Norman Philip

Author:Norman, Philip
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Orion
Published: 2016-05-05T00:00:00+00:00


29

‘It was almost as if I was committing an unholy act’

Paul’s legal action was launched on New Year’s Eve 1970, in the Chancery division of the High Court in London. A writ issued in his name against the other three Beatles and Apple Corps sought ‘a declaration that the partnership business carried on by the plaintiff and the defendants under the name of the Beatles and Co., and constituted by a deed of partnership dated 19 April, 1967, ought to be dissolved and that accordingly the same be dissolved’.

In an accompanying personal affidavit, Paul said he’d been ‘driven to make this application because (a) the Beatles have long since ceased to perform as a group, (b) the defendants have sought to impose on me a manager who is unacceptable to me, (c) my artistic freedom is liable to be interfered with as long as the partnership continues and (d) no partnership accounts have been prepared since the Deed of Partnership was entered into’.

His writ further sought the appointment of an official receiver – a measure normally adopted in bankruptcy cases – to take charge of the Beatles’ finances pending a final resolution of the case. The implication, therefore, was that Apple was insolvent and Allen Klein unfit to handle the Beatles’ finances. ‘It was the only way to get the money out of Klein’s hands,’ John Eastman says. ‘Dissolving the partnership, I knew, would be pretty straightforward, but getting a receiver in a case like that was a very rare and extreme measure. At the beginning, no British lawyer I approached would take the case.’

Eastman rose to the challenge, feeling more than his brother-in-law’s finances to be at stake. ‘I knew that if I failed, it would be the end of my career . . . this preppy journeyman lawyer from New York had been seen off by the British establishment. So I set out to get us the imprimatur of the British establishment.’

Though Paul’s resources at this point were anything but bottomless, Eastman persuaded one of the City of London’s most powerful and exclusive merchant banks, N.M. Rothschild, to act as his bankers in the case. ‘They agreed to do it on the basis of £1.5 million in loan stock Paul held that wasn’t due to mature for five years.’ With that unbeatable imprimatur, Eastman began to assemble a legal team headed by a newly-qualified Queen’s Counsel, or ‘silk’, named David Hirst, a libel specialist who’d never taken on a commercial brief before.

The six months the case took to prepare seemed to confirm that the Beatles’ creative partnership was no more. In that time, each of the others released an album under his own name which seemed as much a declaration of independence as McCartney had been – but enjoyed notably greater critical success.

September had brought Ringo’s second solo album, Beaucoups of Blues, actually a collection of country songs which one American critic ranked with Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline. In November came George’s monumental triple-disc All Things Must Pass,



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