Talking of godfather figures, Alfredo Marcantonio used to hate the
Beatles. A soul man, the Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO vice-chairman put this
down to the fab four ‘ripping off’ many of his favourite songs, such as
Chains, by the Cookies, and Please, Mr Postman, by the Marvelettes.
Ironically, the soul world was to get its revenge, covering many a
Beatles classic. So much so that Marcantonio got to thinking there could
be a compilation in it.
Apparently, the thing to do, having had such an idea, is to tape all the
songs (is this legal?) and tout them around record companies saying why
it’s such a whizzo idea.
Companies like Virgin thought it was only fairly whizzo. Then came
Beatles hype heaven. The result? A commission from Dino records (no,
we’re not making that up).
This is when it got difficult. EMI wouldn’t play, so a lot of songs
disappeared at one stroke, and Motown remembered its own old record,
Motown Sings the Beatles, which it might like to re-release.
But Marcantonio prevailed and the result is the Soul of Lennon and
McCartney, 18 tracks from the likes of Aretha, Ike and Tina, Dionne and
the Reverend Al.
Marcantonio can’t afford to give up the day job yet, though. He only
gets a share if the disc goes into profit. And the current prediction?
‘Not a Christmas best-seller. But, it’s gonna wipe its feet.’