On this day in 1970, an amalgam of Paul McCartney’s remarks on his solo project acts as the official death notice of the greatest rock band on Earth: The Beatles.
There were numerous causes for the Beatles’ break-up. It was not a single event but rather a long transition, including the cessation of touring in 1966, and the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967. Conflict arose from differences in artistic vision; both George Harrison and Ringo Starr temporarily left the group at various points during 1968–69 and all four band members had begun working on solo projects by 1970 as they realized the unlikelihood that the band would regroup.
Additional challenges arose with Lennon’s heroin addiction, and his infatuation with and insertion of avant garde artist Yoko Ono deep into the interior life of the band. Denigration of the previously warm relations between the boys is exemplified by Lennon’s serious suggestion that Eric Clapton be substituted for George Harrison on the Let it Be sessions, and McCartney’s own drum tracks being laid over those of Ringo Starr.
Whatever his intent at the time, Paul’s statements and new relationship with Linda Eastman drove a further wedge between himself and his band-mates. In the May 14, 1970, issue of Rolling Stone, John Lennon lashed out at Paul in a way he’d never done publicly: “He can’t have his own way, so he’s causing chaos,” John said. “I put out four albums last year, and I didn’t say a f*cking word about quitting.” Ed. Note: any reader of this account owning all four 1969 “albums” of Lennon and/or Ono occupies a very special place among mere music aficionados.
By year’s end, Paul would file suit to dissolve the Beatles’ business partnership, a formal process that would eventually make official the unofficial breakup he announced on this day in 1970.