It was more than 50 years ago that the Beatles split up, but it is still debated bitterly to this day, whe was responsible for the break within the band. Speaks in a new interview Paul McCartney now plain text.
Together they rose to the music Olympus, but the end of the Beatles was full of crises and arguments. Many rumors and stories surround the trigger for the final separation to this day. Now singer and bassist Paul McCartney, who himself made the end of the band in April 1970, has once again protested his innocence.
“I did not initiate the break. That was our Johnny,” said the 79-year-old in an interview with the BBC, which is to be broadcast on October 23 and from which the station quoted in advance on Monday. McCartney refers to his co-songwriter John Lennon. “John came into the room one day and said, ‘I’m leaving the Beatles’. Is that a split or not?” He recalls.
Lennon, who was shot in New York in 1980, found the move “pretty exciting” and compared it to a divorce, the 79-year-old reported in an interview with interviewer John Wilson. The ensuing legal battle of the band, to which guitarist George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, and drummer Ringo Starr belonged, was reminiscent of a war of roses.
“McCartney”, the singer’s solo record, was released in April 1970. He sends the record to journalists together with a letter in question-and-answer format that reveals the break: is he planning a new album, a single or appearances with the Beatles? “No.” Is their separation temporary or permanent? “I dont know.” There are personal, business and musical differences, McCartney admits. The statements were generally understood as the end of the Beatles – “Paul is leaving the Beatles” was the headline of the Daily Mail on April 10th. The group tried to appease, but the break was public and the internal quarrel became apparent.
But as McCartney said several times and as reports from the other band members make it clear: It was not the singer and bassist who broke up. In fact, the group had been de facto at an end for months – and this was triggered by John Lennon. He had already informed his bandmates in September 1969 that he would quit and later told this version. At the request of manager Allen Klein, however, the “Fabulous Four” held tight for the time being. Because the work on the last studio album “Let It Be” was not yet finished, and some contracts were not yet sealed.
“So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney tells the BBC decades later. “It was weird because we all knew the Beatles were over, but we couldn’t just leave.” In the end, however, he was fed up with the excuses and let the cat out of the bag, McCartney reports. The promotion of his solo LP, which appeared soon after, was certainly not affected by the news, as critics have etched.
In fact, the break had long been suggested, as many biographers have been writing over and over for decades. The band members grew apart. McCartney married Linda Eastman and the couple had one child. John Lennon married the artist Yoko Ono and, among other things, set political signals with the common “bed-in”. All solo projects pursued. The Beatles hadn’t played a concert there for years.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono: With his wife he wrote the world hit “Imagine”. (Source: imago / United Archives)
Meetings of the band members, which were purely about business, have become increasingly unpleasant, reports McCartney. “We had smaller meetings at the time and it was horrible,” he recalls. “It was the opposite of who we were.”
He says today the break was inevitable. Lennon “wanted to walk in a sack and lie in a bed in Amsterdam for a week for peace. And that could not be shaken,” he says in the BBC interview. That should give a boost to those among the Beatles fans who blame Lennon’s sometimes bizarre appearances with Yoko Ono for the end of the band. But that is far from McCartney. “They were a great couple. They exuded tremendous strength,” he says.
A bit of melancholy sounds, however successful McCartney and the other Beatles were as solo artists. Not only will John Lennon’s world hit “Imagine”, which celebrated its 50th birthday today, Monday, be forgotten. McCartney says the group still created “pretty good stuff” when it was actually broken: “‘Abbey Road’, ‘Let it Be’, very decent.”
The singer emphasizes: “That was my band, that was my job, that was my life, that’s why I wanted it to go on.” And if Lennon hadn’t left the band, would the career have continued? “That could have been good.” So there is enough material for new legends.