The Beatles Almost Reunited in 1971: Here’s Why It Didn’t Happen

by Jacklyn Krol
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The Beatles almost reunited twice following their historic breakup. But what happened?

John Lennon was ready to celebrate his 31st birthday back in October 1971, just a year after the band called it quits. The Beatles decided to break up following their twelfth full-length album which led to fights, court battles, and animosity between Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.

Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono was rumored to have caused some of the animosity between Lennon and McCartney. However, it was Ono who attempted to have the group reconcile. She was set to hold her This Is Not Here art exhibition in Syracuse, New York at the Everson Museum of Art. Harrison, Lennon, and Starr were set to reunite and perform at the exhibition.

It is unknown if McCartney was considering attending. The band’s record label also flew in the band’s close friend, Klaus Voorman along with their musicians Nicky Hopkins and Jim Keltner. Unfortunately, Harrison was stuck in England and couldn’t fly out.

So what went wrong? Aside from only Lennon and Starr being confirmed to have made it to the museum, it was fan response that ultimately canceled it. People heard the rumor that they were reuniting and 6,000 people showed up at the museum. The event had to be shut down.

A Second Attempt at The Beatles Reunion

Between 1973 and 1974, The Beatles worked on Starr’s 1973 self-titled solo album. At that point, Lennon was rumored to consider working with McCartney again. Lennon’s track “I’m The Greatest,” featured Starr, Harrison, Voormann, and Preston. The session was said to have gone smoothly that people close to them questioned if they should reunite as a new band, minus McCartney.

Roughly a year later, Lennon did record with McCartney again alongside Harry Nilson and Stevie Wonder.
They created the bootleg record, A Toot and a Snore in ’74. Soon after, the members were rumored to have recorded together but it turned out to be a mistake and the tapes were allegedly destroyed. Lennon got back together with Ono and from that point forward, he didn’t see his former bandmates often.

In a legal battle with the Beatlemania stage show, the band members revealed plans for a reunion. They wanted to reunite for a concert along with the documentary, The Long and Winding Road. They planned to release it in the mid-80’s. The movie was filmed but had never undergone a final editing.

“We all know how to end it,” Lennon said in court. “Beatles performing and singing to round off a film of the Beatles singing throughout their career, similar to the way ‘Let It Be’ ended.”

Finally, there was another instance where the group could have reunited. Lennon said in the deposition that they almost reunited on Saturday Night Live. Executive producer Lorne Michaels offered them $3,000 each to reunite on the show. Unfortunately, Starr and Harrison weren’t in the country so they nixed the idea.

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