Paris Jackson‘s tragic suicide attempt was punctuated by her many Tweets. Ironically, the last one she sent out before all hell broke loose was a quote from the Beatles song “Yesterday.” And the irony is, Paris owns the song. She inherited with her two brothers ownership of the Beatles catalog famously owned by her late father Michael Jackson and fought over for the last twenty years.
It was Michael Jackson’s purchase of the publishing rights of 251 songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1985 for $47.5 million. Jackson was able to buy the song catalog from the stunning amount of money he’d earned from “Thriller.” In what is now an historic conversation, McCartney had mentioned to Jackson while they were recording together that the song catalog was for sale. McCartney and Yoko Ono couldn’t come to terms on a price. Jackson’s lawyer, John Branca, swept in and bought the publishing company called ATV Music.
McCartney never spoke to Jackson again. In 1995, Jackson and Branca merged ATV with Sony Music’s moribund publishing company, forming Sony ATV Music. Jackson received $90 million in cash as well. From then on, Jackson used his ownership stake in Sony ATV as a piggy bank to finance his outsize spending and larger than life lifestyle. In the process, he racked up over $300 million in loan debts that were only brought under control after his death.
Paris’s final pre-suicide attempt Tweet was a quote from “Yesterday,” the jewel in the Sony ATV crown. She wrote “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay.” Paris always chooses song lyrics to express her feelings on Twitter– like a lot of teens. But most teens don’t also own the copyright to the song they’re quoting.
It was a shrewd move. For years “Yesterday” has held the record of most played song in the world. My guess is more radio stations are playing the song today– and sending royalties to the Jackson estate.