Apple's iTunes service has been spurned in a major John Lennon memorial initiative to put songs by the great UK artist online.

While The Beatles back catalogue remains unavailable through legitimate digital music services, a major collection of Lennon's music has been made available through all the major services - except iTunes.

An album of Lennon's work called 'Working Class Hero' is available on Rhapsody, Napster, Yahoo and various other stores. The complete Lennon catalogue is expected to be available digitally during December.

The great UK music hero was murdered by a crazed obsessed fan in the street outside his New York flat on December 8, 1980 - 25 years ago.

Mind games

Apple - and by inference almost 30 million iPod-owning music fans - isn't getting the rights to distribute Lennon's catalogue because of the continued dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps over use of the trademarked name "Apple".

Apple Corps is suing Apple Computer in London over a breach of a 1981 trademark agreement between the two, in which the computer company agreed to leave the music industry to Apple Corps.

Please, Yoko...

"With that case pending, Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, and EMI, the record company, have agreed only to release the tracks to other services," The Times reports.

It's a tragedy for music-savvy digital music users, as Lennon's work is regarded as some of the finest music created by UK artists, and stands as part of the musical inheritance of the country.