* Yoko Ono says Beatles remaining iTunes holdouts
* Widow unveils John Lennon commemorative projects
By Dean Goodman
LOS ANGELES, Aug 5 Don't hold your breath
waiting for Beatles songs to go on sale at iTunes or other
online retailers, Yoko Ono said on Thursday.
The Fab Four have long resisted the allure of digital
downloads, instead selling millions of old-fashioned compact
discs last year after remastering the catalog.
Apple Corps, the group's holding company has been unable to
agree on terms with EMI Group, which licenses the Beatles'
recordings. And then there's the unrelated Apple Inc (AAPL.O),
owner of iTunes, the world's largest music retailer.
Apple and Apple have had a difficult history over rights to
the name. But that trademark dispute was settled in 2007, and
speculation has regularly popped up ever since that the two
companies would strike an iTunes deal.
"(Apple CEO) Steve Jobs has his own idea and he's a
brilliant guy," Ono, the 77-year-old widow of John Lennon, told
Reuters. "There's just an element that we're not very happy
about, as people. We are holding out.
"Don't hold your breath ... for anything," she said with a
NEW LENNON DOCUMENTARY
Ono, who was promoting an upcoming public television
documentary about her husband, "LENNONYC," declined to go into
detail. Former member Paul McCartney was similarly vague in
2008 when he said there were "a couple of sticking points."
Ono said her comments did not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the three other equal shareholders in Apple Corps
-- McCartney, bandmate Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison, the
widow of George Harrison. But she added that the infamous
rancor of the past has been replaced by smooth consensus
because "we're older and more experienced."
Apple Corps may be reluctant to enter the digital age, but
the company is far more open to new ideas that it was in the
past, Ono said. The company's day-to-day operations are run
from London by Jeff Jones, a former Sony Music executive who
took over as CEO in 2007.
She said Jones was an "action person," while his late
predecessor Neil Aspinall -- who worked with the Beatles for 40
years -- kept the Beatles "elite and closed-off," which served
its purpose at the time.
Jones has overseen not only the reissue of the Beatles
catalog, but also a "Beatles: Rock Band" videogame. The band's
music has also been getting a new life in a Cirque du Soleil
"Love" stage show that has been running in Las Vegas since
Ono was reluctant to discuss upcoming Beatle-related
activities, but has plenty of projects in the works to
commemorate Lennon's 70th birthday on Oct. 9, and the 30th
anniversary of his murder on Dec. 8.
"LENNONYC" will premiere nationally on Nov. 22, as part of
PBS' "American Masters" series. It focuses on the couple's time
together in New York from 1971 to 1980, boasting previously
unseen video footage and unheard studio recordings from
sessions for his final album, "Double Fantasy."
That album will be reissued on Oct. 5 (a day earlier
internationally), along with seven other studio releases, such
as 1971's Imagine." "Double Fantasy" will also be available in
a newly remixed "stripped down" version that enhances Lennon's
vocals on such songs as "Starting Over" and "Woman."
Ono said she was putting a lot of care into the projects,
because of her increasing age.
"I'm 77, so I think this could be my last effort, so I'm
really trying very hard," she said.
Ono will once again oppose parole for Lennon's killer Mark
David Chapman when his case comes up for review later this
month. She said Chapman, now 55, posed a risk not only to her
and to Lennon's two sons, but to the public and even to
(Editing by Jackie Frank)