Paul McCartney Says John Lennon “Instigated” The Beatles Break Up

“I didn’t instigate the split...”

Paul McCartney has reflected on the break up of the Beatles in a new interview.

The Fab Four's split was famously truculent, with the group being torn apart by ego, lack of management, and simply the passing of time.

Paul McCartney essentially confirmed The Beatles' split in an instantly-notorious press release sent out alongside his debut album 'McCartney', released in 1970.

The decision to go public essentially made McCartney a pariah for Beatles fans, and enraged his former comrades-at-arms.

Reflecting on the split in new Radio 4 documentary This Cultural Life, he refutes the idea that he split the group up.

“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” he says. “This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue.”

Speaking to interviewer John Wilson, Paul McCartney says John Lennon "instigated" the split.

“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 period is over-shadowed by the losses endured by Apple Corps, and by the management of Allen Klein – someone who Paul McCartney had a difficult personal relationship with.

Indeed, Allen Klein told the Beatles to keep quiet about the split, due to the necessity of concluding a number of business deals.

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

He added: “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.”

For McCartney, the Beatles split became inevitable because Lennon “wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. And you couldn’t argue with that.”

Tantalisingly, Paul McCartney also insists that he believes The Beatles could have recorded more music together, had they worked out their issues.

“It could have been. The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko,” he says. “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.”

Paul McCartney’s This Cultural Life interview airs October 23rd; his book The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present follows on November 2nd.

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