Paul's less than happy with Yoko Ono too...

PAUL MCCARTNEY has launched a stinging salvo at MICHAEL JACKSON, mocking the fading superstar and explaining why an argument over JACKSON‘s purchase of THE BEATLES‘ publishing rights has led to an unfixable rift between the two.

In a radio interview with American shock-jock Howard Stern yesterday (October 18), McCartney also took aim at Yoko Ono, claiming that the widow of John Lennon had designs on him first and that a row over a writing credit led them to fall out.

McCartney said: “I wrote [Jackson] a couple of letters and I said, ‘Michael, don’t you think that even if I was just a writer on the payroll after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don’t you think I could have a raise?'” Then, putting on a fey, high-pitched voice, he added: “And [Jackson] said, ‘Oh Paul, that’s just business.’ ” The pair have not spoken since. “[Michael Jackson] won’t even answer my letters, so we haven’t talked and we don’t have that great a relationship,” he said.

McCartney also said he believed growing rumours of Jackson‘s money problems that could force the singer to sell The Beatles‘ publishing rights to meet debts.

Of Yoko Ono, McCartney explained that their already-difficult relationship soured completely several years ago when he asked her to allow the writing credit on ‘Yesterday’ – a song he wrote and performed – to read McCartney/Lennon rather than Lennon/McCartney.

“This is probably one of the reasons we don’t have a great relationship,” he said. “John’s name was always in front and I said, ‘Could we just on this one [song] just switch it, so it would say written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon?’ And for one reason or another, [Ono] said ‘no’.”