The Breakup Of The Greatest Band In History

Music | October 23, 2021

The band that took the world by storm. (Getty)

A few splits have rocked the collective world: Ross and Rachel, Kim and Kanye, the Koreas but few can match the disbanding of The Beatles. The greatest band in the world, maybe ever, took nations by storm. Beatlemania of the ‘60s would break the internet if it occurred today. 3,000 screaming fans nearly caused a riot when the British rock-and-roll quartet stepped off the plane at JFK airport. 73 million people and a whopping 40% of Americans tuned in to watch them make an appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Less than eight years later, the show was over and people have asked, “Who broke up The Beatles?” ever since. Was it the mysterious Yoko Ono, or the musical rivalry between Paul McCartney and John Lennon? Read on to find out what Sir McCartney revealed about the break-up of the world’s biggest band.

George Harrison, Ringo Starr and wife Maureen, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the 1968 premiere of 'Yellow Submarine' (Harry Myers Rex)

The End Of Touring

When the Beatles ended their calamity-filled world tour in 1966, the Beatles’ divorce dominoes began to fall. Quotes from members of the band display their thought processes at the time. Ringo Starr told documentarians for the Beatles Anthology, “In 1966 the road was getting pretty boring. It was coming to the end for me. Nobody was listening at the shows. That was OK at the beginning, but we were playing really bad.”

After their last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, “Right – that’s it, I’m not a Beatle anymore!” Later on, he admitted, “I began losing interest in being fab at that point.” However, Lennon dropped the biggest bomb, “I was thinking this is the end, really. There’s no more touring,” he said. “That means there’s going to be a blank space in the future. That’s when I really started considering life without the Beatles; what would it be? And that’s when the seed was planted that I had to somehow get out of the Beatles without being thrown out by the others.”

A duo perhaps not meant to last. (alamy)

The Death Of Brian Epstein

When long-time manager Brain Epstein died of an accidental overdose, it marked the true beginning of the end. Lennon at the time said as much, “After Brian died, we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles? We broke up then. That was the disintegration.” Around that time Yoko Ono began attending recording sessions. To make matters worse, enter the quintessential greedy executive Allen Klein.

Yoko Ono became famous for breaking up The Beatles but much more was at play. (alamy)

John Vs Paul

Without Epstein to keep everyone happy and the wheels moving, it all fell apart. Lennon and McCartney’s jabs at each other became more pronounced, as did their solo careers. On his second solo album, “Ram” McCarney took a swipe at Lennon. “I was looking at my second solo album, Ram, the other day and I remember there was one tiny little reference to John in the whole thing,” McCartney said. “He’d been doing a lot of preaching, and it got up my nose a little bit. In one song, I wrote, ‘Too many people preaching practices,’ I think is the line. I mean, that was a little dig at John and Yoko. There wasn’t anything else on it that was about them. Oh, there was ‘You took your lucky break and broke it in two.”

Lennon responded on “How Do You Sleep” with Klein whispering antagonisms in his ear. The biting line went, “The only thing you done was yesterday, ‘and since you’ve been gone you’re just another day.”

You only met the Queen once. (Getty)

Who Broke Up The Beatles?

In a new documentary detailing the final days of the Beatles, McCartney declares his innocence. When asked about his decision to go solo, Paul cuts in, "Stop right there. 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? This was my band, this was my job, this was my life. So I wanted it to continue.”

In 2020 McCarney told British GQ, the decision to sue was actually his way of saving it. "I drank way too much and did too much of everything. "And it was crazy, but I knew that was the only thing to do, because there was no way I was going to save it for me, because there was no way I was going to work that hard for all my life and see it all vanish in a puff of smoke. I also knew that, if I managed to save it, I would be saving it for them (the rest of The Beatles), too. Because they were about to give it away. They loved this guy Klein." He also added to The Wall Street Journal, “People were robbing us and living on us. “All just living and drinking and eating like fuckin’ Rome.”

Klein who used his greasy tactics on bands like the Rolling Stones inspired these types of quotes, “Allen comes in when your harvest is not as plentiful as your expectations on the sow. And part of the price is that he gets the farm.” Nevertheless, even McCartney knew it was the end one way or another. “We had come full-circle. We had done it all the first time, what were we going to do? Do it all again?”

Tags: Brian Epstein | The Beatles | Yoko Ono

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