Paul McCartney I didn’t want to break the Fabulous four. It was never his intention. And he was “devastated” by the worldwide storm that his “promotional self-interview” caused. A ‘question-answer’ form in which he, in addition to talking about his solo debut, stated that he would not record with The Beatles or that I would never compose a song with John Lennon. On April 10, 1970, a big headline in the daily mirror shocked millions of fans: “Paul is leaving The Beatles.” It was the end of the biggest band in the world.
‘Paul leaves the Beatles’
Paul McCartney already had his solo debut ready. A vinyl LP with 7 songs on Side A and 6 on Side B. And the title. He would simply be called McCartney. Also the release date: April 17, 1970. And he decided that he would not give any interviews to promote it. Instead, he asked Peter Brown (a member of the Beatles’ management team and co-founder of Apple) to write a list of questions and he would provide the answers.
Paul’s statements in his self-interview caught the others off guard. Lennon was furious.
The agreed questionnaire reached the daily mirror, and in his April 10, 1970 edition, journalist Don Short revealed its contents under a headline in huge characters: ‘PAUL MARKS OUT OF THE BEATLES’. And this lead: “The shocking news could spell the end of Britain’s most famous pop group, idolized by millions of people around the world for nearly 10 years.” Actually, in the self-interview, Paul did not openly say that The Beatles had broken up, but he did confess, for example, that he had no plans to record any new albums or singles with the group.
“Temporary or permanent? The truth is that I do not know”
Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent? Is it due to personal or musical differences? It was one of the questions on the form with which McCartney supposedly intended to promote his solo debut. And this was his response: “Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but above all, because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? The truth is that I do not know”
He openly spoke of his displeasure with all smallthe manager who had replaced brian epstein after his death in 1967: “I have no relationship with him. I am not in contact with him and he does not represent me in any way.” And he answered with a brief “No”, to the question ‘Will you miss the other Beatles and George Martin? Will there be a moment where you think ‘I wish Ringo was here’?
What severely cut all ties was his bluntness in denying that the Lennon-McCartney tandem would be active again in the future.
George, John, Paul and Ringo, in 1970, the last year they were The Beatles. / Photo by Hans J. Hoffmann/ullstein via Getty Images
“It was the press that misunderstood it”
The news caused a tremendous stir around the world, despite the fact that speculation of the breakup had skyrocketed in the previous months. In fact, the seeds of the split had been sown at the time they stopped doing concerts in August 1966. And the fights, jealousies and internal tensions had long been predicting the beginning of the end of the most famous band in the world. . In addition, the increasingly frequent disagreements between Lennon and McCartney. Still, millions of shocked fans showed up at Apple Records headquarters and at the radio and television stations that had spread the story from Australia to the United States.
Paul McCartney recalled in ‘Anthology’: “The world’s reaction was like ‘The Beatles have disbanded – It’s official.’ We’ve known for months. I think it was the press that misunderstood it. My drive came out with this weird quiz explanation of what I was doing. Actually, it was my only intention. I think some people thought it was a strategic move to give me publicity, but I only did it to avoid press promotion.”
“Paul hasn’t left. I have kicked him out”
Paul’s remarks in his self-interview caught George Harrison (who declined to comment) and Ringo Starr off guard, who simply said, “This is all news to me.” However, John Lennon was set on fire. He was furious. McCartney had hurt his pride. It was as if he had knocked him down with a punch. “I started the band, I dissolve it. It’s as simple as that,” he said. The Imagine author had left the group a few months earlier, but had been persuaded to continue until The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be, was released on May 8, 1970.
Lennon, who had been silent for the good of others, did not forgive him. When a reporter called him to comment on Paul’s abandonment, his words were: “Paul hasn’t left. I have kicked him out.”
The truth is that the band was angry with him because, indeed, it seemed as if he had used the breakup – which they all knew at the time was inevitable – as a way to promote their new album.
“Spring has arrived”
The most curious thing was the peculiar statement that Apple released in response to Paul the same day it was published in the daily mirror: “Spring is here and Leeds are playing Chelsea tomorrow and Ringo and John and George and Paul are safe and sound and full of hope. The world keeps going around, as we do and as you do. When the laps stop, it’s time to worry. Not before. Until then, The Beatles are alive and well and the Beats continue, the Beats continue. The note was written by Derek Taylor (Apple’s press officer), who later confessed: “It didn’t really say anything… but the world had already reacted with genuine dismay. He adamantly believed, like millions of others, that the friendship they had with each other would be a lifeline… but he expected too much.”
“All I can say is ‘no'”
Paul has always insisted that he did not break the Fab Four. And that he never intended his words in that questionnaire to imply that the Beatles were over. Truly, he felt “devastated” with everything that happened next. On occasion he has claimed that it was John Lennon who had already divided the four friends the day he walked into the room and said “I’m leaving the Beatles”. In an October 2021 BBC interview he acknowledged: “I’ve had to live with it because that’s what people saw. All I can say is ‘no’.”