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Was John a liar?
1 January 2014
10.50am
Ron Nasty
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The Peter Brown is a good book, and was a revelation when it was first published thirty years ago. I am largely a defender of it, as can be seen on the second page of the thread where it's discussed.

http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo.....en-gaines/

However, as I say there, however well referenced it appears to be, and however much it claims to tell the true story, the only true story it tells - and can tell - is Peter Brown's, aspects of which have subsequently been shown to not stand up to closer examination. His account of just when Paul started buying additional Northern stock is one of those. Brown was probably involved in the transactions, and undoubtedly would have had instructions from Paul not to let on.

Whether he dates when it happened correctly is another question altogether, and how aware he was of the advice Paul was receiving and from who he was getting that advice is also open to question. It kind of makes Paul look sneakier to have him buying up shares long before the battle for Northern started, but much of the evidence contradicts Brown's assertion that that was what happened.

As early as the beginning of the '70s, in Apple to the Core, detailed accounts were given of when, why, and on whose advice Paul bought the majority of his additional stock - if not all. Most place it in April/May 1969, which the documentation supports, as there is a paper trail which shows when Paul's stake in the company jumped up.

The advice he received from Lee Eastman ran along the lines of, "If we're going to win this battle with ATV, we need to own as many stocks as possible. But if, God forbid, we somehow lose, it's a good payday when we sell."

I suppose my point would be, great as someone like Brown's version of the story is, it shouldn't be taken as gospel, and has to be weighed against the accounts that contradict him. I always say that none of those involved in The Beatles story, from them themselves, to those around them, are necessarily the best witnesses to what really happened.

A good example of this is the new Lewisohn book, where he pieces together a very different account of their signing to Parlophone to any given before, but is stood up by great research.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
1 January 2014
12.39pm
Linde
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Yeah, Lewisohn is one of the only Beatles-authors who seems reliable. I love that he also explains where he got his information from and how he is not afraid to admit it if he isn't 100% about something. I'd much rather read a story written by someone who admits it when he isn't sure, than by someone who wasn't there and only gets his information from hearsay and makes stuff up. Not saying Peter Brown did that, though he certainly wasn't present at most events he describes in his book, but this is just an explanation of what I prefer.

1 January 2014
7.01pm
Billy Rhythm
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Yeah, personally I prefer the accounts from those who were there and involved.  Historians, no matter how thorough they are, compile other people's memoires, or second-hand information, to then arrive at an outsider's opinion which really doesn't differentiate much from any of those posted by us in a forum like this one when it comes to authenticity, whether or not that historian "admits it when he isn't sure" doesn't make their opinions any more valid to me than another historian who doesn't.

 

For me the best account of what really happened is the 'Anthology' book and if one wished to fill in the blanks that the surviving members chose to omit or veto out, Peter Brown's 'The Love You Make' is at the very top of my list because it's from an insider's viewpoint.  Check this quote out by Linda McCartney, who hadn't been known as one to comment on anything Beatles publicly and how she felt about 'The Love You Make':

 

"He was a friend. He was the one who introduced Paul and me. A man I trusted. When I was going to the hospital to have Stella, I handed him my baby, Mary, to hold. I wouldn't trust my baby to anyone but a friend. Now it's like he doesn't exist. And his book - well, it doesn't matter what he wrote, because he betrayed a trust. We decided not to read it, but we heard things. We put the copy he sent us in the fire and I photographed it as it burned, page by page."

Linda McCartney  Playboy, 1984

 

Those are some pretty strong words from another insider who actually vindicates the work for me by reacting so harshly, I think it's pretty clear who made certain that Peter Brown was no longer involved in any more Beatles' projects, and this tells me a lot about exactly which potentially damaging information wasn't wanted out there which I then proceed to apply my "where there's smoke, there's fire" logic.  The sad part is, by omitting valuable sources from the 'Anthology' for personal reasons, we the fans are the ones who lose out on insightful interviews (and likely unseen photos & film as well), the spots where Neil Aspinall & Derek Taylor spoke during the 'Anthology' were most insightful, in my opinion, and added much conjecture, but Peter Brown's views are painstakingly absent.  I first began commenting in this thread by responding to a remark about "Paul rewriting history", where I elaborated that he likes to "hide history" and this is exactly what I'm talking about..:-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 January 2014
10.43pm
acmac
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Billy Rhythm said
Check this quote out by Linda McCartney, who hadn't been known as one to comment on anything Beatles publicly and how she felt about 'The Love You Make':

"He was a friend. He was the one who introduced Paul and me. A man I trusted. When I was going to the hospital to have Stella, I handed him my baby, Mary, to hold. I wouldn't trust my baby to anyone but a friend. Now it's like he doesn't exist. And his book - well, it doesn't matter what he wrote, because he betrayed a trust. We decided not to read it, but we heard things. We put the copy he sent us in the fire and I photographed it as it burned, page by page."

Linda McCartney  Playboy, 1984

Those are some pretty strong words from another insider who actually vindicates the work for me by reacting so harshly, I think it's pretty clear who made certain that Peter Brown was no longer involved in any more Beatles' projects, and this tells me a lot about exactly which potentially damaging information wasn't wanted out there which I then proceed to apply my "where there's smoke, there's fire" logic.  The sad part is, by omitting valuable sources from the 'Anthology' for personal reasons, we the fans are the ones who lose out on insightful interviews (and likely unseen photos & film as well), the spots where Neil Aspinall & Derek Taylor spoke during the 'Anthology' were most insightful, in my opinion, and added much conjecture, but Peter Brown's views are painstakingly absent.  I first began commenting in this thread by responding to a remark about "Paul rewriting history", where I elaborated that he likes to "hide history" and this is exactly what I'm talking about..:-)

You're making a lot of assumptions here. First, that the primary thing Linda and Paul objected to was the Northern Shares stuff. Second, that they were the only ones who were offended by Brown's book (which I doubt; I know George Martin at least made some very irate comments about it). Third, that Paul's objection was the only reason Brown was excluded from Anthology.

There were many personal details revealed in Brown's book, which would have felt like a betrayal to all of them in the usual sleazy "tell-all" tradition, especially so soon after John's death, and especially because the dude outed Brian to the world with no consideration for his family or the other Beatles. And also wrote that John and Brian had an affair in Spain (which may or may not be true, but John's official word was that the relationship was "intense," but "never consummated"). Again, that the book was published just a couple years after John's death seems appallingly opportunistic. I agree that his perspective is valuable to us as fans, but the Beatles certainly have every right to feel betrayed and I don't blame them one tiny bit for not inviting him to Anthology.

 

1 January 2014
11.11pm
Billy Rhythm
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acmac said 

There were many personal details revealed in Brown's book, which would have felt like a betrayal to all of them in the usual sleazy "tell-all" tradition, especially so soon after John's death, and especially because the dude outed Brian to the world with no consideration for his family or the other Beatles. And also wrote that John and Brian had an affair in Spain (which may or may not be true, but John's official word was that the relationship was "intense," but "never consummated"). Again, that the book was published just a couple years after John's death seems appallingly opportunistic. I agree that his perspective is valuable to us as fans, but the Beatles certainly have every right to feel betrayed and I don't blame them one tiny bit for not inviting him to Anthology.

 

 

Again, I prefer a first-hand knowledge source, and for the example that you provide of John & Brian's "affair", the best testimony that we have is Lennon's own admission to sleeping with Brian Epstein because he "wanted to know what f***ing a guy was like" from is own "tell-all" interview with 'Rolling Stone Magazine' in 1970, which Peter Brown also credits as his source for making such a bold claim in 'The Love You Make'.  It's also another great example of Paul trying to "hide history" as I've been saying, for he's stated clearly on more than one occasion that he doesn't believe it's true (John having homosexual relations with Brian), it's as though he's embarrassed by the prospect as if it somehow looks bad on him because he's a Beatle too.  What motivation would John possibly have for admitting to such an act if it weren't true?  It's as though some want to believe, or paint him as a "liar" when he shows time and time again that he's honest to a fault...:-)

1 January 2014
11.57pm
acmac
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Billy Rhythm said

Again, I prefer a first-hand knowledge source, and for the example that you provide of John & Brian's "affair", the best testimony that we have is Lennon's own admission to sleeping with Brian Epstein because he "wanted to know what f***ing a guy was like" from is own "tell-all" interview with 'Rolling Stone Magazine' in 1970

Can you provide a link to that? I was aware that John reportedly told some friends privately that they'd had sex, and the "I wanted to know what it was like" quote rings a bell, but my recollection is that he followed it up with some kind of "but we never did do the deed" statement. And I'm certain that he made the "never consummated" comment in some interview.

And I prefer first-hand knowledge, too, but we're fans, not people with actual skin in the game, like the Beatles are. They are under no obligation to include every person with "first-hand knowledge" in their autobiography, especially if they've had a falling out with him for personal reasons. We fans can get those first-hand accounts elsewhere. It's not like their declining to invite him was some sort of censorship.

It's also another great example of Paul trying to "hide history" as I've been saying, for he's stated clearly on more than one occasion that he doesn't believe it's true (John having homosexual relations with Brian), it's as though he's embarrassed by the prospect as if it somehow looks bad on him because he's a Beatle too.

Except that Paul has rarely been categorical or particularly zealous in these denials. In an interview with Danny Fields he said it was "more than possible"; on Howard Stern he said "I don't know, because I wasn't in the room, but I suspect not"; he's also said things like "hey, if he liked men, why not me?" on several occasions, which strikes me as an attempt to deflect the issue with humor. If he sometimes blows hotter or colder on the issue, I'd chalk that up to normal human vacillation rather than Devious Revisionist Purposes -- very similar, in fact, to John sometimes saying they'd had sex and other times saying they hadn't.

It's as though some want to believe, or paint him as a "liar" when he shows time and time again that he's honest to a fault...:-)

Well, I guess I'll take the smiley to mean that you didn't intend to imply that any opinion but your own is the result of willful self-deception or an itch to slander him. I really honestly truly think that this "brutally honest" canard is waaaaay overplayed. He was that way sometimes, perhaps even frequently (especially when it served his "I'm an awesome badass" or "I'm a tortured wounded genius" agenda), but he could also be a lying liar who lied. The "I wrote 70% of the lyrics to 'Eleanor Rigby'" is but one example. I'll happily return with more when I have the time.

2 January 2014
2.30am
Billy Rhythm
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I got my source mixed up, Lennon actually denies the affair in the 'Rolling Stone' Interview from 1970 that I referenced.  Peter Brown references Hunter Davies as corroborating his story with the quote about "seeing what it was like" in his book.  This is an excerpt from Peter Brown's own Interview for 'Rolling Stone' with Brant Mewborn in 1983:

 

Mewborn: How did you confirm Brian and John's sexual encounter?

Brown: John told Hunter Davies the whole story, including the fact
that it was consummated. But Hunter was told not to put it in ("The
Beatles-The Authorized Biography" in 1968).  Brian didn't want to tell
me, because he thought it was a breach of confidence with John. But he
had to-I mean, he was so pleased. So I had it firsthand from Brian,
and Hunter Davies had it firsthand from John. But I never told anyone
until now. When people read it, I'm sure they won't think it's that
extraordinary. I mean, everyone knows John as having an artistic
nature, being a rebel. Why wouldn't he experiment?

 

Pete Shotten, from The Quarrymen days, also claims to have had a confession from John, and although Peter Brown didn't get a first-hand account from John himself, he claims here to have gotten one from Brian, while Hunter Davies says John gave him a first-hand account.  What's missing from the record here, however, is that Peter Brown states that "Hunter was told not to put it in ("The Beatles-The Authorized Biography" in 1968)" but doesn't reveal who exactly gave the "gag order", answering that question would likely solve this "mystery" once and for all...:-)  

2 January 2014
4.29pm
acmac
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Billy Rhythm said
I got my source mixed up, Lennon actually denies the affair in the 'Rolling Stone' Interview from 1970 that I referenced.  Peter Brown references Hunter Davies as corroborating his story with the quote about "seeing what it was like" in his book.  This is an excerpt from Peter Brown's own Interview for 'Rolling Stone' with Brant Mewborn in 1983:

...

Pete Shotten, from The Quarrymen days, also claims to have had a confession from John, and although Peter Brown didn't get a first-hand account from John himself, he claims here to have gotten one from Brian, while Hunter Davies says John gave him a first-hand account.  What's missing from the record here, however, is that Peter Brown states that "Hunter was told not to put it in ("The Beatles-The Authorized Biography" in 1968)" but doesn't reveal who exactly gave the "gag order", answering that question would likely solve this "mystery" once and for all...:-)  

Yes, this is what I thought. It seems clear then, that although John and Brian probably did have sex, John's wishes were that this info not be made public. So yes, I think Brown's book was a massive personal betrayal (especially coming on the heels of John's death) and that Paul, George Martin, and anyone else connected with them had every right to feel betrayed and to cut him off accordingly. It was also a huge betrayal to publicly out Brian. That is so seriously uncool. Was Paul also upset about Brown telling the Northern Songs shares thing? Probably. I think you're right that he would rather act like it never happened because he feels guilty about it -- just as John and George often glossed over fraught and unflattering actions of their own. 

In case you're planning to go down this road: Yes of course, queer behavior is not something anybody should feel ashamed of, or be made to feel ashamed of. But the fact remains that a person's sexual behavior, especially behavior that is likely to have negative backlash (however unjust), should be private and remain private unless that person chooses to disclose it. Someone who does not respect that person's privacy forfeits their right to be called a friend.

Your last sentence: I'm not sure, but are you implying that it was probably Paul and only Paul who gave this gag order? In 1968? When we have evidence that two years later John was still denying it? In public? Really?

2 January 2014
4.55pm
Expert Textpert
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Interesting...this sheds some light on the discussion in the "did John have gay leanings?" thread.  I may have to read this Peter Brown book.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death." --John Lennon

2 January 2014
5.47pm
Ron Nasty
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The mention of homosexuality, or rather lack in Hunter Davies' Authorised Biography, is actually probably very easily explained.

Davies first suggested his interest in writing the book in 1966 to Paul. Paul liked the idea, and suggested it to Brian. Various negotiations went on between Hunter and Brian during 1966 to settle on the details, and Hunter started work on the book - which was originally intended to be published in 1967 - in the second half of of 1966.

During those negotiations, which took in how much access Hunter would have, and to who, etc., certain boundaries were established about what could and couldn't be said. One aspect that was originally out of bounds was their drug use (though more of that would be included than originally intended as more became known publicly during the course of 1967 and events pushed publication of the book back), the Beatles' sexual shenanigans (in particular Hamburg and their tours), and there - top of the list - would have been Brian's sexuality.

There would have been a very simple reason for this. When the terms and conditions of the book were agreed in 1966, homosexuality was a criminal offence in the UK. There were stirrings in Government to make changes to that, but no evidence it would happen.

There is a myth that homosexuality was legalised in the UK in 1967, what happened was far closer to "decriminalisation". The Sexual Offences Act 1967, was passed into law on 27 July 1967, more-or-less said, if you're not too public about it then we won't prosecute.

Whatever John may or may not have said to Hunter, there was no way Hunter would have considered putting it in the book, only to see John carted off by the police the day after the reviews came out as they all screamed about the revelation that John and Brian had had a gay fling (and I'm still not convinced of that).

Remember, one of the first major UK stars to admit to bisexuality was David Bowie five or six years later, and it was a major scandal at the time. And there was even some shock in 1981 when people realised that not only was Boy George not a woman, but that he might also be gay!

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2 January 2014
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Billy Rhythm
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acmac said

 
Your last sentence: I'm not sure, but are you implying that it was probably Paul and only Paul who gave this gag order? In 1968? When we have evidence that two years later John was still denying it? In public? Really?

 

Now it is you who's making "assumptions", I have no idea nor any theories, I merely stated that if some light could be shed on "who exactly gave the gag order" to Lennon's own personal admission to Hunter Davies, we'd have a better understanding of what happened ("solve this mystery once and for all"), instead of having to speculate on conflicting statements...:-)

2 January 2014
8.56pm
meanmistermustard
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Wasn't Hunter's book updated and expanded in the 80's, i recall Mimi getting upset about some of the new details added, so if John was gay and gone with Brian why not add it in there - tho i suppose Yoko and the rest could have threatened to sue? If that was the case why not write about it in a blog or somewhere else, its been nearly 40 years since John supposedly told Hunter. 

Oh, wait i forgot John said not to. Yet we are told John told Hunter, so Hunter must have told someone so it's out there so why not either confirm or deny and get it over with instead of whispers in books that piss me, sorry people off. All these rumours and half uttered misspoken unconfirmed words when no-one is thought tho be looking, hearing and taping it for an interview in their latest publication but really they are. 

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
2 January 2014
9.34pm
Ron Nasty
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Davies has updated and added to the book more than once, the first time I believe was in 1978. He hasn't changed anything in the central 1968 core of the book, but has written new introductions and epilogues.

In at least one of those introductions he did talk about the problems of addressing Brian's sexuality in 1968, all of which revolved around the illegality of homosexuality for the majority of the time that the book was being written, and Brian's death. Though I can't claim to have read every edition, I don't believe Hunter ever chose to include a reference to the conversation with John in any edition.

Not because it didn't happen though, nor for fear of being sued by anyone either, as you can't libel the dead.

Hunter refers to the conversation in his 2006 memoir, The Beatles, Football and Me. Can't find it right now, but Hunter does say in that that John told him there was a one-night stand in Spain. Hunter reflected that John was "daft enough to try anything once". However, Hunter added a caveat that has been absent from Billy Rhythm's references to it as proof, and would explain why Hunter has never felt the need to add any reference to the conversation to the Authorised, Hunter didn't really believe John. He believes it was just another example of John's tendency to exaggerate and liking to shock, so doesn't believe that what John said to him was proof that anything had really happened.

Hunter was half of the conversation, heard the way in which John said it, and wasn't convinced. So, however much Peter Brown referred to the conversation as proof of what he was saying, Hunter didn't believe it was proof of anything.

EDIT: Just seen someone referring to the conversation being mentioned in the 2001 edition of the Authorised. Doesn't change the gist of what I say here though, that Davies has said he wasn't convinced by John's claim.

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2 January 2014
10.09pm
meanmistermustard
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Well at least Hunter cleared it up in his other book. a-hard-days-night-paul-3

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
2 January 2014
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acmac
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Billy Rhythm said
Now it is you who's making "assumptions", I have no idea nor any theories, I merely stated that if some light could be shed on "who exactly gave the gag order" to Lennon's own personal admission to Hunter Davies, we'd have a better understanding of what happened ("solve this mystery once and for all"), instead of having to speculate on conflicting statements...:-)

Oh good, I'm glad that's not what you meant. :)

25 March 2014
10.06pm
plastic
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As I mentioned in my forum intro I have been reading lots of Beatley info sources for the last 18 months to feed my new found obsession so I hope it's ok for me to post this on such an old thread -

As you all know with regards to the Northern Song Matter:-

Paul and George summoned Dick James to Apple for a meeting to re-negotiate royalties and filmed it. Offending James in the process.

James decided to sell his shares and never told Paul and John he was doing so. Having the antics of a rock band and its long-term stability affecting the share price was too high risk for him but not giving them first right to buy was just a response to having been annoyed.

The Beatles made a counter-bid for Northern songs - they made a bid for an additional million shares to give them control - this was done with full knowledge of all parties and handled by Klein.

However, at the time that they were doing that, as Klein was bidding for the extra million shares, unbeknownst to him, there was a discrepancy between the amount of shares Lennon and Mccartney owned but it was not that McCartney was buying or had bought additional shares for himself without telling anyone - it was that John was having shares transferred out of his name, effectively 'selling' them in the legal sense, because a part of his financial settlement in his divorce from Cynthia included a 100,000 shares being transferred into a trust fund for Julian and with a codicil that any future children John might have would also be beneficiaries.

They were unsuccessful in purchasing sufficient additional shares and ATV retained control of Northern Songs.

McCartney wasn't purchasing shares behind anyones back according to the research I've read and listened too from the BBC and elsewhere. The share purchases in both Paul and John's names in 1969 were a collective strategy that everyone was aware of.  If Peter Brown claimed otherwise then perhaps he misundestood how the discrepancy between the number of shares they each held had come about? It's hard to know for sure there is so much conflicting and contradictory information in circulation but that is what I've read fwiw.

Also with regards to a difference in royalties received by McCartney for solo work and for the Beatles work post split, well that was negotiated by the Eastmans acting for Paul. The Eastmans were only authorised and legally able to act for McCartney and no one else. There may have been resentment that the Eastmans did better for Paul than the management the other boys had chosen to use did for them, but it is 100% on the level. The Eastmans had no power to act for anyone else, they couldn't get the deal they got for McCartney for anyone they didn't legally represent.

Now as to the topic, I don't think John was fundamentally a liar but I'm a medical practitioner and I've been involved on a voluntary basis with two Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation programmes. I have observed that heroin addiction has a powerfully adverse affect on sufferers and their cognitive skills such as recall. My heart breaks for John that he ever became involved with heroin, it is a life destroyer.

25 March 2014
10.52pm
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Interesting, forget where I read it but I was under the assumption that Paul gave someone directions to purchase shares. I read somewhere this was the nail in the coffin between them really. But they didn't mention anything of the divorce settlement, but I was under the assumption Cyn id pretty poorly in the settlement and only got 100,000. Believe she discussed it in an interview. She could of been over looking shares for her or Julian though to get sympathy. I feel that John was not a detail oriented guy. Some people just aren't and it makes them appear as liars at times. Other times John definitely inflated stories. I remember one interview he said Yoko took the cover shot of Imagine with a polaroid. When it was Warhol. I do think Yoko took the photo on the back though. I think it was in the 1980 Playboy interview. So I feel sometimes it was just him not being attentive to detail/sometimes him twisting to truth to his benefit. Yes drugs will rewire the brain. I always wonder when/ if he actually kicked it. He definitely has lyrics about it in It's So Hard on Image, feels like going down. I think he might of kicked it with a cross country trip in a Chrysler Station Wagon. 

26 March 2014
10.35am
plastic
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I have always had an interest in trying to get to grips with the 'money' and how it unfolded because it's always mentioned as pivotal to the break-up.

I too have read the same things that you mentioned but as I say I have also read/heard about the divorce settlement from multiple sources including http://www.rockmine.com/Beatle.....tleCo.html where it's mentioned.

The main thing that has made me wonder about the veracity of the story about McCartney supposedly buying shares in secret is that when Northern Song was floated on the Stock Exchange 5 million shares were issued.

John and Paul received 15% each which is 750,000 shares each. When ATV took control and Kleins bid to obtain a million shares for control had been unsuccessful. John and Paul sold their shares to ATV - who would continue to pay them royalties on their songs.

When they sold, Paul supposedly had 751,000 shares according to 1 source and 750,000 shares according to another. That is identical pretty much to what he started out with. The additional 1,000 shares if the 751,000 figure is correct could simply have been a dividend reinvestment plan discrepancy.

John, on the other hand is reported by one source to have had 650, 000 shares or 644,000 based on another source. So John had less than his initial stake, where did those shares go? Well several sources report the sale/transfer of those shares was linked to the divorce. This doesn't mean Cynthia 'did well'. The shares were in trust for Julian and at the time of the divorce, when provision for children of the marriage being dissolved would have been made, those shares were worth approximately 69p each each and they would be shared with any fuure children, so in his case with Sean.

Anyway, I find Beatle books, as I said, confusing and contradictory at times but maths I understand and McCartney was basically holding what he started with and Lennon had less than he started with, that's the math. So this suggests John sold/transferred shares at some point.

Anyway, bottom line John could transfer shares knowing that it didn't change him having equal credit or receiving a 50% royalty. Shares, writing credits and royalties are completely separate. Anyway - that's enough on that, sorry to bore you silly I'm just intrigued by it all.

I think you are right about John not being detailed orientated. He spoke in broad strokes and I don't think he believed the media deserved the truth, it was always a bit of a game.

I think/hope that he did kick the habit too. However, it takes a long time to get back to yourself. It's a journey.

 

 

 

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