The last reason not to feel sorry for Paul is that if he got skunked it's his own fault. To avoid confiscatory British taxes in the late '60s, he and Lennon turned their publishing rights over to newly organized Northern Songs, a publicly held company in which they owned sizable but apparently not controlling blocks of stock. In 1969 music mogul Lew Grade launched a takeover bid for Northern Songs, offering seven times the stock's original offering price. Lennon and McCartney, feuding as usual, were unable to organize an effective defense, and the company was sold out from under them. This made them even more fabulously wealthy than they already were, since their stock was now worth seven times as much. However, they were still pissed on account of, you know, the principle of the thing. The teeming millions can surely sympathize.

Is there something you need to get straight? Cecil Adams can deliver the Straight Dope on any topic. Write Cecil Adams, the Boston Phoenix, 126 Brookline Avenue, Boston 02115, or e-mail him at cecil@chireader.com.

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