Paul McCartney Says John Lennon ‘Instigated’ Beatles Breakup
“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny coming in one day and saying, ‘I’m leaving the group’,” the rocker explained, referring to his legendary bandmate, John Lennon.
While several factors played a role in the Beatles’ ultimate demise, many people have placed the blame on McCartney. After all, he was the man who brought in lawyers to settle band disputes, and it was McCartney who first publicly acknowledged the band’s breakup while promoting his 1970 solo LP.
Still, in a new interview with BBC Radio 4 (published in The Guardian), Sir Paul insisted the ultimate decision actually came from Lennon.
“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue,” McCartney explained, adding that the Beatles were still making “pretty good stuff” around the time of their breakup. “I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no. John walked into a room one day and said I am leaving the Beatles. Is that instigating the split, or not?”
“The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko,” McCartney continued. “John had always wanted to sort of break loose from society because, you know, he was brought up by his Aunt Mimi, who was quite repressive, so he was always looking to break loose.”
McCartney further detailed to interviewer John Wilson that Lennon saw the breakup as “rather like a divorce,” while the rest of the Beatles were “left to pick up the pieces”.
Even after the decision was made, the band had to remain quiet so that manager Allen Klein could take care of some business deals. “So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney noted. “It was weird because we all knew it was the end of the Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away.”
McCartney admitted he eventually “let the cat out of the bag” because he “was fed up of hiding it.” The blame he received as a result has lasted for decades. “I had to live with that because that was what people saw. All I could do is say, no.”