On April 9 1970, Paul McCartney announced that he was taking a “rest” from The Beatles in a self-interview for the release of his first solo album “McCartney.” This was the beginning of the end for The Beatles.
In the interview, Paul McCartney talked mostly about his solo project featuring his wife, Linda. When questions inquired more about the state of The Beatles, Paul would only briefly hint at what was going on with the state of The Beatles. One of the questions asked, “Are you planning a new album or single with The Beatles?” Paul shot back a quick, “No.” Digging a little deeper, Paul was questioned about why he’s on “rest”, and if it’s permanent. Paul stated, “Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don’t really know.” I know it’s not much detail if you’re someone that wants to know how they could’ve broken up. Luckily, there’s 47 years of time that has told us a little more about the breakup.
In terms of personal differences, Paul was most likely talking about his splintered relationship with other Beatles front man John Lennon. A little after the breakup, Lennon sent a letter to McCartney in response to a letter written by Linda McCartney. Among other things, he angrily stated, “You really think the press are beneath me/you? Do you think that? Who do you think we/you are? The ‘self-indulgent doesn’t realize who he is hurting’—I hope you realize what (mess) you and the rest of my ‘kind and unselfish’ friends laid on Yoko and me, since we’ve been together.” The letter is a mess to make sense of. It is also to note the part at the end about Yoko. Lennon’s wife gets the bulk of the credit for the split, but is she the main reason? There’s not a chance.
For business differences, it was no secret that famed Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s sudden death hit each of the Beatles hard. In many ways he helped guide them, especially when there were disputes within the group. His replacement, Allen Klein, was not favored by Paul and we can point directly back to the original interview for proof of that. Paul was asked, “What is your relationship with Klein?” He responded, “It isn’t. I am not in contact with him, and he does not represent me in ANY way.”
The last reason Paul listed was musical differences. The Lennon/McCartney writing tandem might just be the most famous one in the twentieth century. By the end, though, it was in name only. Paul and John were writing separately for at least the last couple albums, but those tracks were still listed under Lennon/McCartney. With the emergence of Beatles guitarist, George Harrison, as a consistent hit writer with songs like, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun,” George was out growing his role. Maybe they all were. At the time of the interview and before the official breakup, all four of The Beatles had either released a solo album, or had their own solo projects on the back burner.
For a decade The Beatles set trends, influenced social change, and sparked their fair share of controversy. They were recording songs together until Paul announced his rest. The Beatles album “Let it Be,” was released after their split.
Let It Be was the twelfth and final studio album by The Beatles. The album was relased on May 8, 1970 in the United Kingdom and on May 18, 1970 in the United States. (photo: albumcover: Apple (Parlophone)/EMI)
Topical Questions (7th-9th Grades):
Why is it important to learn about pop culture history?
Why do you think that the Beatles breakup was so impactful to so many people?