McCartney Explains Jacko, Ono Feuds

ByABC News
October 22, 2001, 3:02 PM

October 19 -- It took a few years, but Paul McCartney is finally explaining the root of his feuds with Yoko Ono and Michael Jackson

McCartney, who is hosting the "The Concert for New York City" Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, said in interviews with shock jock Howard Stern and Reader's Digest that the bad blood with Jackson began when the self-styled King of Pop bought the publishing rights to The Beatles' songs. The former Beatle is quoted in the New York Post as saying, "I wrote [Jackson] a couple of letters and I said, 'Michael, don't you think that even if I was just a writer on the payroll after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise?'"

In an approximation of Jackson's soft, high voice, McCartney said that the Gloved One's answer was, "Oh Paul, that's just business." Explains McCartney, "He won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship." The two singers had previously dueted on the '80s song Say, Say, Say.

Even if the rumors that Jackson may be selling The Beatles' catalog to raise money are true, McCartney says he can't afford to buy them back. "The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums I just can't do it."

As for the feud with Ono, McCartney is claiming that she first targeted him, not future husband, John Lennon, as a love interest. Later, when McCartney asked Ono if she'd be willing to switch the songwriting credit on "Yesterday" from "Lennon/McCartney" to "McCartney/Lennon," she refused, even though McCartney wrote and performed the song.

He added, "It wouldn't have cost her any money. This is all legal stuff." In the Reader's Digest interview, he added, "But if you're reading this, Yoko, there's still time."