Paul McCartney Reflects on Beatles Breakup, Says John Lennon Instigated Split

Paul McCartney is reflecting on the breakup of The Beatles.

McCartney is set to speak on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s series “This Cultural Life,” which is scheduled to air in full Oct. 23, when he sets the record straight on who was behind the decision to split up the Beatles.

“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” he said of John Lennon in a preview of his interview shared on The Guardian. “John walked into a room one day and said I am leaving the Beatles. Is that instigating the split, or not?”

He also added, “This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue.”

Further speaking on what he described as “the most difficult period” of his life, McCartney explained that following Lennon’s decision, he and remaining members Ringo Starr and George Harrison were “left to pick up the pieces” and confusion surrounding their breakup arose because their manager Allen Klein advised them to keep quiet while business deals were concluded.

“So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney says. “It was weird because we all knew it was the end of The Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away.”

McCartney says he “let the cat out of the bag” after being “fed up of hiding it.” “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.

McCartney sued The Beatles in 1970 but explains he did so as a means to avoid Klein’s control. “I had to fight, and the only way I could fight was in suing the other Beatles, because they were going with Klein. And they thanked me for it years later.”

Had Lennon not decided to walk away, McCartney believes The Beatles would’ve continued on for longer: “The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko. 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 this year announced that he will recount his life and 65-year songwriting career in The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, to be published by Liveright in November. The 960-page memoir, comprised of two alphabetically arranged volumes, will feature McCartney talking about his songs, musical inspirations (which include Lennon, Queen Elizabeth and his parents) and literary influences. The Lyrics will also include McCartney’s personal photographs, handwritten texts and paintings.

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