iTunes Gets the Beatles

Paul McCartney | Heather McCartney | Paris Hilton | Gene Barry

Beatles Classics, Sung by McCartney, Finally Hit Apple's iTunes

Apple Computer's iTunes has scored a couple of big points in its long-running war with the Beatles.

Thanks to Paul McCartney's participation in the London Live 8 concert on Saturday, Apple's iTunes Music Store finally has two Beatles songs performed by its co-composer available for downloading — "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Long and Winding Road."

Prior to this, only Beatles songs sung by Ringo Starr, such as "Yellow Submarine" and "With a Little Help From My Friends" from his recent All-Starr Band records, had made it onto iTunes.

No original recordings by the Beatles, or classic solo tracks by McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison or even Starr himself, are on iTunes, or available for downloading.

(The one exception is a recent "lost" McCartney tune called "Whole Life," which was part of a Nelson Mandela tribute album. It's listed on iTunes as being performed by the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart.)

This is a big score for Apple, but not one that it's particularly trumpeted.

That's because there is no love lost between Apple Computer and Apple Records, the music label owned by the Beatles. The two companies are locked in a multi-million dollar legal struggle in the British courts over use of the Apple name and logo — which the Beatles have owned since 1968.

Several years ago, Apple's Steve Jobs paid a hefty settlement to the Beatles and agreed never to use the Apple name for any kind of music business.

The Beatles now argue that he's in blatant violation of that agreement, thanks to the iPod and iTunes. When Apple first started advertising both of those items, it referred to them in posters and advertising as "AppleMusic."

Consequently, the Beatles — who do not license any of their original recordings for online use or downloading — refuse to let iTunes have their songs.

But lo and behold, starting Sunday, Universal Music Group — which licensed the Live 8 recordings for release — put the Saturday performances of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Long and Winding Road" — on iTunes.

The former song is performed by McCartney and U2. The latter is McCartney alone.

That's a first, and surely not something Apple Records chief Neil Aspinall can be too happy about as his case against Apple Computer winds its way through the courts.

Heather McCartney: Soaping Up

One could say that Heather Mills McCartney, second wife of Paul McCartney, has lived a soap-opera-like life.

But last week and earlier this week, Heather was responsible for a storyline on the wacky NBC soap "Days of Our Lives."

No, it wasn't about evil twins, demonic possession or faked deaths.

Heather created a storyline about a soldier who goes to Iraq and comes back an amputee after stepping on a land mine. Mrs. McCartney, as you may know, is a vocal force in the campaign to destroy land mines around the world.

She herself lost her left lower leg below the knee after being hit by a police motorcycle in 1993.

I ran into her backstage at Live 8, where she was doing her own filming for a mini-documentary about the proceedings.

"I thought I'd get something together for when all this is forgotten in six months," she said.

She has a point; people's memories are short.

Of course, I don't know how director Richard Curtis feels about Heather's filming. The man behind "Four Weddings and a Funeral," and, along with Bob Geldof and U2's Bono, behind Live 8, was making his own documentary on Saturday backstage in London.

But back to the soap: Heather sat next to "Days" producer Ken Corday at a charity event and proposed the idea. Over the last few days, she made personal appearances on the show and also appeared in a public service announcement on the subject.

Heather, by the way, gets an unfairly bad rap in the press as Paul's wife and mother of Beatrice, now 20 months old. In fact, she's quite lovely in person and is serious about this issue.

The British press made a big deal of the fact that Paul and Heather didn't spend any time backstage with Paul's famous fashion-designer daughter, Stella McCartney.

But I don't think that was true either. Stella made the rounds and left early, choosing not to stick around for hours and hours. But everyone seemed to get on just fine.

Paris and Paris: Movies Are Next

Paris Hilton doesn't get much ink in this column, and that's for obvious reasons.

But I would be remiss if I didn't note that she and wealthy young fiancé Paris Latsis — who sports tattoos up and down his arms — have started a film-production company.

You're saying to yourself right now, "No, please, not that."

But yes, it's true. I met their partner during Live 8, and he's busy setting up a horror film that will shoot this fall, with the female Paris perhaps not in the lead role but in a good secondary one.

Paris traipsed all over the backstage area of Live 8 on Saturday, cell phone in hand, fiancé and dog, too. It wasn't clear who was on the leash.

She has basically one look — one of disaffected ignorance — and she sports it no matter what is said to her or what is going on.

But hey, she's got the jewelry line and the TV show, a big-brimmed white hat and an entourage that mindlessly follows her around. And that's something.

Yes, That's Gene Barry

Just in case you're wondering, that's actually the great actor Gene Barry in the last scenes of "War of the Worlds." According to, he's 85 years old!

Barry was the star of the original "War of the Worlds" some 50 years ago. He was also TV's elegant and dapper Bat Masterson (he won the Golden Globe in 1965), and was the star of "Burke's Law" and "The Name of the Game," among his countless TV and film credits.

Barry's co-star in the original "War of the Worlds," Ann Robinson, appears as his wife (they're Miranda Otto's parents) in the new movie.

That's a nice touch by Steven Spielberg, and one that the people behind the "Mission: Impossible" movies should copy. They've made two feature films from the TV series and included not one of the actors who appeared in the original show.