Paul McCartney: Jackson Was a "Massively Talented Boy Man"

Beatles legend, linked to Jackson through business if not in friendship in recent years, sends his "deepest sympathy" to singer's family

By Natalie Finn Jun 26, 2009 5:12 PMTags
Paul McCartney, Michael JacksonEchoes/Redferns

It has been years since Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney have been considered the best of friends (or even on speaking terms), but the King of Pop's death leaves the former Beatle sad and shocked all the same.

"I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael," read a statement on McCartney's website this morning. "He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.

"I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world."

McCartney's superstar-meets-superstar friendship with Jackson was irreparably damaged when Jackson purchased the Beatles song-copyright catalog from Apple Records for $47.5 million in 1985—an asset that confused people forever after as to how Jackson ultimately became so financially insolvent.

McCartney is said to have tipped off his "Say Say Say" collaborator about the advantages of snatching song catalogs during a casual conversation—and lived to regret it.

The knighted rocker was reportedly interested in buying the Lennon-McCartney songbook back from Jackson in 2001, but Jackson's asking price of about $700 million kept private interests at bay.

Instead, in 2004, Jackson enlisted Prescient Acquisition Group to secure him an additional $537 million loan so that he could plug the hole in his sinking financial ship and buy out the remaining stake in the Beatles catalog.

In 2007, his spokeswoman at the time denied a fresh round of rumors that Jackson was looking to unload the catalog, to McCartney or anyone else.