In 1973 Paul McCartney was beginning to truly forge his solo career. The Beatles were at the back of his mind and his path to solo stardom was laid out in front of him. But that didn’t mean the Fab Four weren’t still looming over everything he did.
One such presence was that of Sir Lew Grade, owner of the ATV television Network and, by extension, the Beatles’ Northern Songs catalogue. The singer had been crediting his wife Linda as his co-writer since 1971 and Grade was not happy about the inclusion.
Sir Lew Grade and Paul McCartney were deeply embroiled in a legal battle over the issue. Linda’s inclusion as the second composer of the song meant that Grade’s company were missing out on the royalties that would otherwise be due to them. Grade cited Linda’s lack of professional experience as a songwriter or musician as proof of McCartney’s clever switch to keep the PRS cheques in the family.
The only way to settle the dispute was with James Paul McCartney, the ‘Blackbird’ singer’s first television special since The Beatles’ 1967 TV film Magical Mystery Tour. It would be an exploration of McCartney as an artist, from The Beatles to Wings and featured the band heavily in a series of performances. It would also allow the band to promote their second album Red Rose Speedway.