In a press release for his solo album in 1970, Beatles legend Paul McCartney conducted a “self-interview” and announced that the world’s biggest band was no more. Now, more than 50 years later, McCartney is setting the record straight.
In an upcoming interview on BBC Radio 4, the 79-year-old asserted that he did not “instigate” the split and that it was, in fact, John Lennon who wanted to leave. “That was our Johnny,” he told interviewer John Wilson. “I am not the person who instigated the split.”
He continued: “John walked into the room one day and said, ‘I’m leaving the Beatles.’ And he said, ‘It’s quite thrilling. It’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces.”
The reason for Lennon’s departure, according to McCartney, was for “peace.”
“The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko and he wanted… to lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. You couldn’t argue with that. It was the most difficult period of my life,” McCartney shared. “This was my band, this was my job, this was my life. I wanted it to continue. I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff – ‘Abbey Road,’ ‘Let It Be,’ not bad – and I thought we could continue.”
The singer detailed that the band was advised by their new manager, Allen Klein, to keep their impending disbandment under wraps while he tied up loose ends. He shared that for a few months, they had to “pretend.”
“It was weird because we all knew it was the end of the Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away,” McCartney explained. He would later go on to sue the band in the high court, a move meant to keep their music out of Klein’s hands. The decision was apparently a good one as McCartney said that the other members “thanked” him for it years later.
His full interview will be released on the new BBC Radio 4 series This Cultural Life, which will be shown on October 23.
Art Daniella Sison