Mr. McCartney’s publicist didn’t return a message from the Associated Press seeking comment, but Ms. Terry said: “Paul McCartney, he orchestrated the process, moving the piano, getting it to Steinway. … It wasn’t just a monetary thing. His soul was in it. He wanted to make sure that this contribution was made, and he followed it through from beginning to end.”
While they didn’t cross paths all that often during their respective heydays, the Beatles and Motown artists were members of a mutual admiration society.
Beatles manager Brian Epstein did promote Motown revues in the United Kingdom, which were popular with fans and stars alike. And Four Tops singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir recalls being at a party with the Beatles, where the Fab Four peppered his group with questions about how they sang their harmonies and achieved other elements of their sound.
According to Ms. Stephens, Mr. McCartney “was pretty tickled” during his tour to find a photo of himself and Beatles band mates Ringo Starr, George Harrison and John Lennon alongside Mr. Gordy’s father and Mr. Gordy’s three children.
Mr. McCartney “talked about the fact that he had always heard about and been conscious of Motown and getting his hands on those first Motown recordings and things,” Ms. Stephens said. “It was kind of completing a circle for him in a lot of respects.”
Associated Press writer Jeff Karoub contributed to this report.
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