Re: Sue me, sue you<BR>

Re: Sue me, sue you

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Reply-To: dlm3@midway.uchicago.edu
References: <michalak-081193124858@michalak1.lib.tju.edu>

In article <michalak-081193124858@michalak1.lib.tju.edu> michalak@jeflin.tju.edu (Edward V. Michalak) writes:

>Which brings me to a point that I have espoused many times, that the
>Beatles or Apple or both had at least informally started litigation
>at least one and a half years before it was public knowledge. I
>have always felt that George is saying something about getting
>sued in his hard-to-recognize opening lyrics to It's All Too
>Much. Also, Not Guilty (interesting title; refers to lawsuits) was
>dropped from the White Album. In the song are lyrics about
>"handing me a writ, while I'm trying to do my bit".

Actual litigation was not an essential element to arouse such ire from George. Before George initiated recording of "Not Guilty" on 7 August 1968, Apple Corps had already been born (out of The Beatles Ltd.) in January of that year, run from the start on idealism and disorganization---always a bad combination. Apple was developed partly from altruism but also from a need to invest $2 million pounds of the Fabs' money, or face the taxman taking it away. It comprised four divisions: Merchandising, Films, Music, and Electronics.

By March 1968 a design consultant had to be hired to stop the Apple Boutique (part of Merchandising) from a perilous loss of revenue; by July the Boutique was shut down entirely. By May, when John and Paul traveled to the US to publicize their company, they'd also opened Apple Foundation for the Arts, a no-questions-asked agency designed to fund and support artistic ideas---another drain on resources, and ultimately another failure. By November 1968, the Apple Films division closed, having produced no films. This was accompanied by the resignation of Apple accountant Stephen Maltz, who tried to warn the Beatles that Apple was showing every sign of being (you'll pardon me here) rotten to the Corps---unaccounted spending and poor (or nonexistent) management contributing to its predicted demise, as was employee theft of money and equipment. All this botheration must have been a terrific burden for the Beatles, who had spent much of that year writing, and later recording, The White Album. No wonder "Not Guilty" reflected George's angst! But as no litigation had yet been filed, it's open to question whether such action had been threatened against the Beatles (individually or together) or whether it was just a handy lyrical metaphor.

All this time as well, the Beatles were slowly losing control over their publishing catalog, having lost much power when Northern Songs became a public entity (and open to outside shareholders) in 1966. By January 1969 the Fabs began to negotiate secretly to buy Nemperor, formerly NEMS when under Brian Epstein's domain. Even more secretly, John approached Allen Klein to ask him to manage his own personal business, while the Fabs had already (apparently) agreed to hire Paul's forthcoming in-laws, the Eastmans, to manage them. From this point the rift over who would manage the group escalated, and caused John, George and Ringo to side with Klein, whose lack of business acumen wrought further havoc in their financial lives. Within the first three months of 1969, the Fabs lost Northern Songs and their cohesiveness as a collective entity (though the latter had been developing for some time). Any wonder why George had been thinking about "writs" and Paul about "funny paper"? Who needs a real suit with all this vexation? :-)

I don't think there's any evidence of any real litigation filed by the Fabs against each other, or against anyone else, till at least March 1969, but there was certainly plenty of personal and business-related distress, I'll grant you. As for suggesting that the mysterious few words at the beginning of "It's All Too Much" had anything to do with a suit ("Sue your mother", I think you suggested, though most sources list the lyrics as "To you mother"---equally incomprehensible), this song was recorded in late May 1967, which predates all the initial legal hassles of Apple, and the major ones involving Northern Songs, by at least a good year.

--
"They are 'The Beatles', the smash hit, refuse-all-imitations, Number One Group in the sensational Beat craze now devastating, if not deafening, the British Isles."
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