LATEST: Sir Paul McCartney has hit back at criticism of his attempt to change THE Beatles' writing credits from "LENNON/McCartney" to "McCartney/ Lennon".

The move brought the recently married multi-millionaire heavy criticism, not least from Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who described the move as "under-handed", but Sir Paul says the abuse is not justified.

He retorts, "What actually happened was, when ANTHOLOGY came out, I was looking through it and it had YESTERDAY and above the title there was a picture of JOHN. And it said' Yesterday by John Lennon and Paul McCartney'.

"So, I thought to myself, I wonder, after 30 years of it being thus, wouldn't it be nice to reverse that and maybe get a picture of me for that particular song and a picture of John above HELP, and obviously a picture of GEORGE above SOMETHING...

"So I rang Yoko Ono and said, 'I wonder if you wouldn't mind reversing it, just on this one song?' And she said 'Yeah, OK'. She actually agreed. Then she rang back about an hour later and said, 'Ah no, I've had a think about this and I don't think it would be a good idea.' And I said, 'Oh why not, come on.'

"And so that was the start of the struggle because I'd got all excited and I think I'd probably had a drink and was going, 'Yeeeah, that's really nice, I get to put my name in front'.

"It's stupid but that's how it started. I was thinking things like, 'Well, Yoko wasn't even there when they were written and now she's got some power. And there was nothing written down so there's no reason why she can tell me we can't do it'."

Recalling the day the decision was made to put Lennon's name first on the credits, Paul continues, "I got there a bit late and John and (Beatles manager) Brian Epstein were already there chatting and they said, 'We were talking about the songwriting credits and we think it should be Lennon and McCartney'. And I said, 'What about McCartney and Lennon?'

"They said, 'Well, it's like ROGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN', and I said, 'Well, yeah, I do see it'. And I swear to God, but I'm the only living witness to this thing, so it's naturally highly dubious, but the guys said, 'Yeah, if you agree to the Lennon and McCartney thing now, some time in the future we can change it around'."