Earlier this year, the British tabloid The Daily Mirror reported that Michael Jackson had drawn up a will, giving the publishing rights to some 250 Beatles songs back to Sir Paul McCartney. Though a number of other sites were quick to report the news, The Mirror cited unnamed sources, and the reports have never been verified. Now, with Jackson's passing, the question is very much up in the air.
For those who don't remember or never knew, Jackson and McCartney recorded a couple of hits together back in the '80s, "Say, Say, Say" and "The Girl Is Mine."
More after the jump.
The two struck up a friendship. At some point, according to some accounts, McCartney reportedly told Jackson how he'd made a lot of money by owning the publishing rights to other people's music. This inspired Jackson to start his own side business of buying, selling and distributing publishing rights to numerous artists. When the Beatles catalog, which was owned by ATV Music Publishing, came up for sale, McCartney initially said he wasn't interested in buying it because it was too expensive. McCartney eventually changed his mind and attempted to persuade Yoko Ono to join him in a bid for the music, but she declined. In the end, Jackson purchased the catalog for $47.5 million dollars. McCartney, according to the Mirror, said 'The annoying thing is I have to pay to play some of my own songs. Each time I want to sing 'Hey Jude' I have to pay.
It's hard to separate fact from fiction in this 25 year-old story. But according to the Associated Press, McCartney issued a statement today saying "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones."