The Beatles are synonymous with rock and roll, gritty originality and pushing major boundaries. During a period in history where the world changed in a big way, the band gave credence to a new line of thought. The Vietnam War coupled with women’s liberation and the civil rights movement created a space for their forward-thinking music.
The Beatles are also the original boy band – bolstered by worldwide fame and panty-throwing young women. Their shaggy haircuts defined the 60s. They’re iconic today. There’s even a reverence surrounding their very name. But not everybody agreed with the band’s untimely split. Just as they had gone viral (as much as a 1960s-era band could go viral), they disassembled. The world was left shocked, betrayed even.
So much blame was cast upon lead vocalist Paul McCartney. However, the nearly 80-year-old singer is putting those rumors to rest with his candid statements about what really happened.
“I had to fight and the only way I could fight was in suing the other Beatles, because they were going with [manager Allen] Klein. And they thanked me for it years later. But I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny coming in one day and saying ‘I’m leaving the group’,” McCartney says in an interview with The Guardian.
The Beatles Behind-the-Scenes Drama
While much of the drama was behind the scenes, McCartney claims the band knew for quite some time John Lennon wanted to leave the group. They were forced to keep quiet about the split by Klein. However, McCartney said he wished the band could keep going.
“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue,” the singer said.
Ultimately, McCartney let the secret out – and speculation that he instigated the split enraged fans. For years, he’s lived with that speculation following him around. However, McCartney didn’t know how to stay quiet about the news after some time.
“Around about that time we were having little meetings and it was horrible. It was the opposite of what we were. We were musicians not meeting people,” he said.
This was also at a time when Lennon was dating the peace activist and singer Yoko Ono. McCartney said Lennon “wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. And you couldn’t argue with that.” Unlike many fans and spectators, McCartney said he never blamed Yoko for the split. “They were a great couple. There was huge strength there.”
The Beatles split up in April of 1970 at the height of their career. John Lennon went on as a solo artist until his murder in 1980. George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney also pursued solo careers. However, Lennon and McCartney are the most renowned members of The Beatles.