Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How Much Money Did the Beatles Make? George Harrison Answers, May 1965

"I'm not really the most-interested-in-money Beatle, I'm just the only one interested in what's happening to it. I like to know where it's going. Actually, I can't quite understand why the others aren't so bothered. We sit at accountants meetings and we are told we have got two and a half per cent of this and four and a half per cent of that, and that is confusing and boring and just like being back at school. Well, after a year or so of the Beatles making records and doing well, I started trying to find out what was happening and where it was going. John and Paul were equally interested, but they gave in. I didn't. It's easy to get blasé and think we're making plenty and somebody's taking care of it. But I like to know how much is coming in; where it's being put; and how much I spend. We all have some private investments. Believe it or not, we still haven't got a terrific amount of money in real capital. There are a lot of group investments in the name of Beatles Ltd. obviously because that's a very safe thing. There are lump sums in bank deposit accounts in the names of all four of us, I believe. There isn't a million pounds in cash or anything like that. It's mostly investments. Ringo has got his brick-building company and John and I have got a supermarket somewhere, but I don't know where it is exactly. I don't know about Paul. I'm sure that he has got some good investments as well.

"I wouldn't like to say I or Ringo was a millionaire in any way. But I'd say that there's a fair chance that John and Paul are because of all the money they've earned through Northern Songs. I'd say that it would be very hard for all of us four to be real millionaires anyway. Let's say, for example, that a big pop star in Britain is earning 2,000 pounds a night. Then say, for example, the Beatles earn 4,000 pounds a night. That solo star has got that 2,000 pounds for himself. With us, it has got to be split four times for a performance. That makes, on paper, 1,000 pounds for each show. But we just don't do that many real shows. And for us to be real millionaires, every one of us, the Beatles would have to gross 4 million pounds! And don't forget that there is a tax fee to be paid plus Eppy's percentage. Hey, it sounds like I'm talking myself into being broke. It's not that bad. I know I'm okay. If I've got 500,000 pounds, I'm not really bothered about the other half million."


ICouldBeAWalrus said...

Very interesting quotes, for sure. Back then money probably had rather different value than it does today, considering the numbers George gave. Also, the glimpse into how the money was managed for them, is quite intriguing. It would be pretty odd to know that you own a supermarket, but you don't know where it is.

lifeofthebeatles said...

Yes, John apparently gave his friend Pete Shotton the cash to buy the supermarket - you can read about it in his memoir (John Lennon: In My Life).