The "Lennon - McCartney" vs "McCartney - Lennon" - controversy
1956 (unknown date): Paul McCartney (14) writes his first song: "I lost my little girl". The same year he writes "When I'm 64" as an instrumental.
1957 (July 6): John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet. Lennon is impressed with Paul's abilities to tune a guitar, to remember all the words to Eddie Cochran's "20 Flight Rock" and the fact that he has composed songs of his own. Some time later, John asks Paul to join his skiffle group, the Quarrymen. John starts to compose songs of his own, "Hello Little Girl" being his first effort. John and Paul starts to help each other out with the songs, forming a partnership. The two young men agrees that whenever they have written a new song, both their names shall appear as composers. This remains a secret for years.
1962 (October 5): The Beatles release the "Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You" - single. Both songs are credited to "Lennon - McCartney". A misprint on the test-pressing, "Lennon - McArtney" has been corrected before the official release.
1963 (January 11): The Beatles release the "Please Please Me/Ask Me Why" - single. Both songs are credited to "McCartney - Lennon".
1963 (March 27): The Beatles release the "Please Please Me" album. All original songs are credited to "McCartney - Lennon", including Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You.
1963 (April 11): The Beatles release the "From Me To You/Thank You Girl" - single. Both songs are credited to "McCartney - Lennon".
1963 (April 27): John Lennon and Brian Epstein have a 12 day vacation in Spain. The other three Beatles spend their holidays in the Canary Island of Tenerife.
1963 (date unknown): Paul turns up late for a business meeting and is informed by John and Brian that the songwriting credit shall from now on be reversed. He protests, but is in minority.
1963 (August 23): The Beatles release the "She Loves You" - single. Both songs are credited to "Lennon - McCartney". It sells. In droves. It is to become the all-time best selling single of Great Britain, and holds that title for 14 years. (Eventually being outsold by a Paul McCartney - single in 1977, "Mull of Kintyre") Unfortunately for Paul, the success of 'She Loves You' and subsequent Beatles - releases make this constellation of their names a 'household word'.
1965 (February 4): the company MacLen (Music) Ltd. is formed to handle the business of licensing the rights of the Paul and John compositions to Northern Songs, and to collect 50% of the publishing royalties due to Lennon and McCartney from Northern Songs. The remaining 50% of the publishing revenue goes to Northern Songs, then still jointly owned by the Beatles, their manager and Dick James.
The ever thorough germans struggled to keep track of the changing credits: This is from their album "And Now: The Beatles" (also released as "The Beatles Beat").
1970: The Beatles split up, and the songwriting partnership of John and Paul is no more. They start releasing new songs under their own names, or as "Paul and Linda McCartney" or "Lennon - Ono".
1976 (Dec 10): Paul McCartney releases the triple concert album "Wings Over America". 5 songs on this albums are credited to "McCartney/Lennon". John Lennon does not complain about this. Probably since these five songs were mainly Paul - compositions, anyway. And since it's not a "Beatles-release", Paul can write up their names in any way he choses to, so long as both names are listed.
1980 (unknown date): John Lennon reveals in an interview: "Paul and I made a deal when we were fifteen(sic). There was never a legal deal between us, just a deal we made when we decided to write together that we put both our names on it, no matter what."
1980 (Dec 8): John Lennon is killed by a deranged madman on the street outside his home in New York. His wife Yoko Ono is a horrified witness to the senseless crime. The world mourns. The spirit of the sixties dies.
1983 (unknown date): Michael Jackson buys Northern Songs.
1987 (various dates): The Beatles' recordings are released on compact discs. The "Please Please Me" album CD and the "Please Please Me" and "From Me To You" single-cd's are still credited as "McCartney - Lennon".
1990 - 1996: The 1927 Songwriting
Act comes into play, regarding Yoko Ono's ownership of the "McCartney-Lennon"
or "Lennon-McCartney" songs.
1995 (unknown date): Apple is about to release The Beatles' "Anthology 2", on which there is a version of "Yesterday". Paul makes a request to Yoko Ono, who is now his partner in the MacLen (Music) Ltd. company (there are three shareholders and five shares, Paul and Yoko has two each and Apple holds the fifth share), to have McCartney's name put first on the song. Yoko agrees at first, but later calls back to reverse her decision.
2002 (Nov 10): Paul McCartney releases the double concert CD "Back in the U.S." in Japan. It is later released in other territories as well, including USA, but excluding Europe. The "Lennon-McCartney" - songs and the one "McCartney - Lennon" -song ("I Saw Her Standing There") on the album is credited like this: "Composed by Paul McCartney & John Lennon".
2002 (Nov 11): The Abbey Road Beatles fansite on the web reports about the composing credits, choosing not to comment.
2002 (Nov 12): UK Newspaper the Sun reports on the switching of credits on "Back In the U.S." in the article "So now it's McCartney & Lennon". Britain yawns.
2002 (Dec 7): Rolling Stone.com reports that the switch of songwriting credits on Paul McCartney's recently released "Back in the U.S." CD has ignited a new battle with Yoko Ono. Ono lawyer Peter Shukat tells the paper, "What he did was absolutely inappropriate. John and Paul had an agreement. This is very petty." And Yoko Ono is quoted as saying, "John and Paul often disagreed on which songs were written by whom. If John was here now, they could fight it out, or maybe they could never agree. But the important point is that John has to be here. He is not." Though McCartney doesn't give a response to the paper, his spokesman, Geoff Baker tells Rolling Stone, John and Paul "had agreed in the Sixties that they could switch the names whenever they felt like it."
2002 (Dec 12) The story is picked up by Associated Press. In the following days, the news item is picked up by newspapers all over the world and the journalists have a field day, juxtaposing the names of Abbott and Costello etc, poking fun at Paul's futile attempt to set the record straight. Speculations are made in the press, that Yoko Ono is going to sue Paul for the "credit switch". No action is being taken by Yoko, other than having her lawyers "see into it".
2002 (Dec 18): Paul is forced to release a press statement: