The Beatles Come Home
I assigned three Movietone crews to the arrival area at the airport. One was on the roof of a nearby building and could look down on the large crowd of teenagers waiting for their heroes. This was our sound camera. The other two were mobile at ground level.
We got a good story. It would be released in the reel going out on February 27th, entitled “The Beatles are back”. I saw the screening of the rushes on the Monday morning and said to Stan Wicken, our music editor, “What’s the chances of using one of their records on the film”. He said “Don’t be bloody silly, pop music costs a lot of money”.
At that time, Movietone were using library music which had to be declared to the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, who would collect the money from us and distribute some of it to the various authors whose music we had used.
I had previously in my career at Movietone, prepared the Music Cue Sheets and I knew how it worked.
I said to Stan, “Why not give the record label a call and ask them – if you don’t ask, you don’t get”. Stan said: “You ring them”. I said “I shall”.
Being neither a fan nor knowledgeable of pop music, I did not know which company were the Beatles record label. However, a few enquiries led me to Parlophone.
I got put through to the public relations department.
I spoke to a man there and I explained to him that the Newsreels did not pay very much for music royalties. At the time, I do not think we would have paid more than £10 to £15 per issue.
I asked him what the chances were that we could use one of the Beatles records for our story on their return to London. I added that the news story would be added publicity for them.
He pondered the question for a minute or so and then said:
“All right then, it (the music) will probably be forgotten in a month or two”.
I asked him what we could use. He said “All my Loving”. Of course, we had to buy a copy and I asked the man to write to me confirming that we could use the music. This he did.
Stan Wicken was in a state of shock.
Move the story on some thirty years. My nephew Don Gallacher is engaged to organise the music production and clearance on a feature film. He specialises in music for film and television programmes, and is asked if some of the lyrics of a Beatles song could be used in the film. Not the music, just some lyrics.
In the script a character says, “Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire”, a line from A Day In The Life. He made enquiries. The line lasted three seconds.
He was quoted a quarter of a million Pounds.
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