McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom – Who Owns The Songs?

Just had an email from Bruce Hamlin, an Australian collector who runs The Beatles Records Information Service, with some information about the new Paul McCartney release of “Kisses on the Bottom” (out on February 7).

Because the album is Paul interpreting some of the great old songs he loves, Bruce muses at the end of his email: “The cynic in me reckons that Paul owns the publishing rights to all these songs too. Just for that extra bit of icing on the cake when the royalties come in….”

McCartney of course owns MPL Communications Limited, one of the biggest song publishing and licensing companies in the world – and in fact does own the rights to literally thousands of songs and covering nearly 100 years of music.

So, how many of the songs he’s covering on “Kisses on the Bottom” does McCartney already own, and will he subsequently get song royalties from tracks he didn’t write back into his own business? In the album’s track-list below I’ve put in RED whether MPL administers the publishing rights:

1. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter  –  YES  (written by Joe Young, Fred E. Ahlert, 1935)
2. Home (When Shadows Fall)  –  NO
3. It’s Only A Paper Moon  –  NO
4. More I Cannot Wish You  –  YES  (written by Frank Loesser, 1949)
5. The Glory Of Love  –  NO
6. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)  –  YES  (written by Dick Robertson, Sammy Mysels, Nelson Cogane, 1939)
7. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive  –  YES  (written by Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, 1944)
8. My Valentine  –  YES  (it’s a new McCartney composition, 2012)
9. Always  –  NO
10. My Very Good Friend The Milkman  –  NO
11. Bye Bye Blackbird  –  NO
12. Get Yourself Another Fool  –  NO
13. The Inch Worm  –  YES  (written by Frank Loesser, 1951)
14. Only Our Hearts   –  YES  (another brand new McCartney composition, 2012)

The Deluxe CD Album will feature 2 bonus tracks:

15. Baby’s Request  –  YES  (it’s an older McCartney composition, previously performed by Wings on 1979’s “Back to the Egg” LP)
16. My One And Only Love  –  YES  (written by Guy Wood, Robert Mellin, 1952)

Therefore, in answer to Bruce’s question, for the standard CD edition of “Kisses” Paul McCartney owns half the songs. For the deluxe edition he owns the rights to 9 out of the 16 tracks.

Also, it’s just been pointed out to me by Beatlesblog reader Craig that two of the songs on the album have previously been released in versions on Apple Records. Ringo did “Bye, Bye Blackbird” on “Sentimental Journey” (his 1970 tribute to old songs he loves), and Mary Hopkin recorded “The Inch Worm” on her first album, “Postcard” (1968).

Peter Asher, Paul, Mary Hopkin at Trident Studios, London, 1968 (Apple)

Paul produced Mary Hopkin’s “Postcard”, so he must have liked the song “The Inch Worm” for a long time. He chose that album’s songs, the arranger and even the artwork for the album cover. From the liner notes of the digitally re-mastered edition of “Postcard” from 2010:

“Mary remembers that the show tunes and hits from yesteryear that make up half the collection were favourites of Paul’s father, Jim McCartney.They call to mind the valve-warming radio days of the BBC’s old Light Programme, Ringo Starr’s “Sentimental Journey” album that Apple would soon release, and the comfy familiarity that Paul evoked in Beatles songs such as “Honey Pie”, “When I’m Sixty Four” and “Your Mother Should Know”.

Sounds just like the 2012 publicity for “Kisses on the Bottom” doesn’t it.

“The Inch Worm” originally comes from the 1952 Danny Kaye film “Hans Christian Anderson”. And Paul’s company MPL Communications Limited now owns the publishing rights to the song.

You can access the database for all the songs that ML Communications has the rights to at: www.mplcommunications.com/search.php  For most tracks in the database you can also listen to full audio examples, often by a range of performers.

For a great film of Mary Hopkin performing different language versions of “Those Were the Days” see the Wogblog page. Great shots of the Apple offices in 1968, too.

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2 thoughts on “McCartney’s Kisses on the Bottom – Who Owns The Songs?

  1. So of the 14 songs on the album, he owns 5 of them, he wrote 2 of them, and he doesn’t own the other 7. So, no, he wasn’t looking to “cash in” as he only owns the rights to 5 of the songs that he didn’t write himself.

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  2. paul can sit at home and collect money till the cows come home, If people think at 70 years old he needs to perform or cash in then they are dreaming. Paul Mccartney is the last of his kind, a master musician that has always wanted to perform and create songs his entire life. Just look at the old films of the beatles performing live and imagine what they would of sounded like without pauls live voice. He is a billionaire and still performs for fans. If Paul was dead and john were alive, then no one would of hear or of seen any beatles songs sung live because John Lennon was not performing when he was alive anyways and when he did manage to get a band together it was a bunch of political crap. Just check out his concerts when he was alive. Also he sounded like shit live. Only Paul Mccartney had the live voice and wanted to perform live and tried to get the other beatles to perform, but they wanted to sit back and collect the cash that was rolling in and do nothing for the true fans. Paul finally got smart and created another band and within 4 years was touring and playing for his fans with 3 number 1 albums under his belt and when you watch the videos of his band Wings you can see he is finally having fun and enjoying it. At the same time Lennon was complaining about everything, showing up on talk shows to complain and put down Mccartney because he was jeolous he could not accomplish what Mccartney had accomplished within only a few years of splitting up. Today i can truly see who was the real performer and who is still a true Icon that will be teribly missed when he is gone and all we will have is overnight groups that are put together by big executives that really want to cash in with true garbage. McCartney doesn’t have to play 1 gig and he will still make the same money with investments. Go Paul Go, Give it you all while your with us and when you pass you will be remembered as the greatest musician of them all.

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