Paul McCartney Says John Lennon Broke Up The Beatles After Years of Being Blamed

Paul McCartney
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Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney wants to set the record straight. The legendary musician is opening up and sharing his side of the story of who decided to break up the Beatles.

As part of the new BBC interview special, the 79-year-old music icon reflected on his past, and addressed the long-standing belief that it was his decision to quit the Beatles and thus effectively end the band back in 1970.

"Stop right there. I am not the person who instigated the split. Oh no, no, no," McCartney stated. "John [Lennon] walked into the room one day and said, 'I am leaving the Beatles.' And he said, 'It's quite thrilling. It's rather like a divorce.'"

According to McCartney, he and fellow bandmates Ringo Starr and George Harrison were "were left to pick up the pieces."

"But I didn't instigate the split. It was out Johnny who came in one day and said, 'I'm leaving,'" McCartney reiterated.

While McCartney took a lot of the heat for the split, as he was the first member of the band to officially announce publicly that he would be taking his leave. However, he claims that decision was only made after Lennon privately told the band he no longer wanted to be a part of it.

"The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko [Ono], and he wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam, for peace," McCartney said, referring to Lennon and Ono's week-long so-called "bed-ins," which were intended to be nonviolent anti-war protests. "And you couldn't argue with that."

McCartney went on to explain that the Beatles breaking up was "the most difficult period in my life."

"The Beatles were breaking up, and this was my band, this was my job, this was my life," he recalled. "I wanted it to continue, and I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff and that we could continue."

After their public split, rumors of a reunion would often bubble-up throughout the '70s, however they never materialized. While some members would collaborate with one another, the group never recorded new music again, before Lennon was shot and killed on Dec. 8, 1980.

Paul McCartney’s This Cultural Life interview is on Radio 4 and BBC Sounds on Saturday 23 October. Paul McCartney: Inside The Songs - a selection of ten readings by Paul from his forthcoming book, The Lyrics - will be broadcast on Front Row and as a podcast on BBC Sounds from Monday 25 October.