Michael Jackson leaving Beatles songs to McCartney in will

Jacko: We Can Work It Out...when I'm gone
Jacko: We Can Work It Out...when I'm gone

Although he would rather have them much sooner, as in now, one day Paul McCartney will regain the rights to The Beatles' back catalog of songs. Michael Jackson is said to be giving them back to the former Beatle in his will.

Once friends and collaborators, the two had a bitter falling out in 1985 when Jackson, then flush with Thriller cash, beat out Sir Paul (and Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow) in a bid to snatch up the rights to 200 of the Fab Four's iconic hits.

McCartney, 66, and Jackson, 50, have barely spoken since that time, and Macca has made no secret of his annoyance. In a 2006 interview he said, "You know what doesn't feel very good, is going on tour and paying to sing all my songs. Every time I sing Hey Jude, I've got to pay someone."

Is Jackson feeling guilty?

"Michael told his lawyers he was sad he no longer talks to Sir Paul and said he wanted to make things right" An insider speaking to The Daily Mail

Whatever is bringing about Michael Jackson's change of heart isn't known. Although he's been said to be strapped for money, recently selling his Neverland ranch and various holdings, he still earns over £40 million a year from his stake in The Beatles' songs (some years ago, he merged the catalog with Sony and created Sony/ATV, of which he retains a 50 percent share).

Perhaps his intention to turn over the song catalog is his way of burying the hatchet with McCartney. According to the UK newspaper The Daily Mail, an insider is quoted as saying, "Michael told his lawyers he was sad he no longer talks to Sir Paul and said he wanted to make things right."

However, if Jackson truly wanted to 'make things right,' wouldn't it be better to try to hammer out a deal with Macca now? The prospect of Sir Paul waiting for Jackson to kick the bucket just so he can regain the rights to his songs borders on the macabre.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.