Posts Tagged ‘beatles’

The Strange Case of Eleanor Rigby, the violinist, the PPL and the MPs.

23/02/2009

At the moment, the major record companies and their associates are spending large amounts of money trying persuade the MEPs and national government to the sound copyright to be extended in the EU from 50 years to 95 years.

Having tried a few years ago to persuade Andrew Gowers to recommend an extension to the sound copyright with a campaign headed by the multi-millionaire pop star Sir Cliff Richard, they have now changed their tactics. Their stated aim for the extension is to help the poor session musicians.
The problem they are facing is that a lot of 1950s and 1960s session musicians are no longer with us, both in body or in mind. Lots of the surviving musicians do not want anything to do with the industry’s campaign as they have been ripped off.

The major record companies and their associates have held numerous meeting with politicians. One of the more documented was on the 2nd February 2009 in the UK Houses of Parliament. It was organised by the PPL and hosted by Michael Connarty MP, co-chair of All-Party Parliamentary Jazz Appreciation Group (according to House of Commons records receives support from the Phonographic Performance Limited in supporting events) and he is a supporter of the sound copyright extension.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) was created in the 1930s by EMI and Decca to obtain payment from venues which played recorded music. The PPL has changed over the years, with 50% of the distributed income going to the copyright holder (the record company) and the other 50% to the performers (both featured and session), although the record companies still control it.

Also at the meeting was Lord Chris Smith, former Culture Secretary and who is also PPL board member, John Whittingdale MP, a supporter of term extension. Also David Lammy, the Intellectual Property minister was invited.

At the meeting the PPL brought out Pat Halling, who they claimed played the violin with the Beatles on numerous recording including Eleanor Rigby. They also claimed he will losing his royalties if the copyright term stays the same length.

If you check with the EMI (one of the major members of the PPL & BPI) about the recording on the Beatles recording of Eleanor Rigby, the following facts are provided.

The strings were recorded on the 28 April 1966 in Abbey Road’s Studio 2 between 5.00pm-7.50pm.
The double string quartet consisted of Tony Gilbert, Sidney Sax, John Sharpe and Jurgen Hess on violins, Stephen Shingles and John Underwood on violas, Derek Simpson and Norman Jones on cellos. There is no mention of Pat Halling.
Source: Mark Lewisohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, published by EMI.

The PPL would have know this, as they have details of all the persons who performed on this recording are in their repertoire database to enable royalty payments to be made.

How many other mistakes have the PPL & the BPI told the politicians?

Pat Halling seems to have only performed on The Beatles’ All You Need is Love. He did make a number of other recordings in the late 1950s and 1960s but most of these have been out of print for the last 40 years. He has made numerous recordings over the last 40 years which still earning him royalties including albums by Enya, Pete Townshend and Sir Paul McCartney. This includes the 1984 soundtrack album Give My Regards To Broad Street, which he played Eleanor Rigby. This recording will enter the public domain in 2035, when Halling will be over 100 years old.

At the meeting David Lammy, the Intellectual Property minister gave the industry his support on copyright extension.