It is hard to imagine a better first job. When I joined ATV-Kirshner Music in London, direct from Columbus, Ohio and Ohio State, I knew little about music publishing, had no idea who Don Kirshner was and barely knew that Northern Songs owned the Beatles’ copyrights. But for the next 4 years—being a lover of music and something of piano player—this new, upstart ATV company, which had just purchased Northern Songs, proved a wonderful fit.
Unfortunately, since the Beatles had already split, they were not around the office. But their music was everywhere! A memorable recurring assignment took place when Paul McCartney recorded his Red Rose Speedway, Ram and Band On The Run albums. He didn’t provide lyrics to create sheet music, only the recorded tracks on tape. So straight from the studio, I was among the very first to hear these albums, transcribe the lyrics and send them to Paul to approve or edit. Some of these tracks we played over and over and over to figure out the words. But it got us our sheet music—always a top seller!
Did I meet any of the Beatles? Only Sir Paul, once. And the “Fifth Beatle,” George Martin, came to our Christmas party when we moved into our new Bruton St. headquarters in central London. Here’s the invitation, which I designed.
The watch, a gift from Apple Records, no longer tells time, but like the memories, and the music, it is timeless.