Paul McCartney speaks about his rift with the late Michael Jackson on tonight’s broadcast of “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Taped earlier today at The Ed Sullivan Theater – where the Beatles made their American debut in 1964 to launch the “British Invasion” – McCartney explained that he and Jackson “fell apart” over the Beatles catalog, which the King of Pop snagged only after McCartney told him that he planned on purchasing it himself.
The year was 1985. Jackson and McCartney had just recorded two songs together, “The Girl is Mine” for Michael’s “Thriller” album and “Say Say Say” for Paul’s “Tug of War.” Jackson, one day, asked the Beatles singer to explain the value of artists owning their own music publishing rights.
In the tutorial, McCartney mentioned he was planning to buy rights to the Beatles music at an upcoming auction. McCartney said Jackson commented that he would buy the rights first. McCartney laughed it off as a joke.
Cut to the auction, where McCartney found out that his buddy paid $47.5 million to outbid him for the catalog. Adding insult to injury, the moonwalker then turned around a few years later and sold the rights to Sony for $95 million.
According to McCartney, Jackson informed him, “That’s just business, Paul.”
“We’ve never kind of got to it, and I thought ‘hmmm,’ so we kind of drifted apart,” the 66-year-old told Letterman, but then added that “there was no big bustup.”
He then said Jackson “was a lovely man, massively talented, and we miss him.”