Paul McCartney finally reveals truth behind the Beatles split

Paul McCartney has been blamed for the Beatles' split for decades

Paul McCartney in 2019
(Image credit: Getty)

Paul McCartney has finally shared the truth behind the Beatles’ split, adding yet another layer to the story of the legendary group's high profile break up. 

The British rock band famously called it quits in 1970 after ten years of monumental success on the world stage, inflicting devastation on their millions of fans and leaving an irreplacable void in the international music scene. 

At the time, Paul shouldered most of the blame for the group’s demise, with many people accusing him of selfishly abandoning the Beatles to pursue his solo career. It didn’t help that he allegedly told a journalist that the band no longer existed—a flippant remark that has gone down in history as the defining nail in the coffin of the iconic quartet. 

However, Paul has now disputed the widely held assumption that he was the catalyst for the Beatles’ untimely break-up, revealing it was actually co-founder John Lennon who pulled the trigger. In an upcoming interview for the BBC Radio 4 interview series, This Cultural Life, the 79-year-old sets the record straight on the band's shocking early retirement. 

The Beatles in 1968

The Beatles in 1968

(Image credit: Getty)

“Stop right there,” he said when approached by journalist John Wilson on the touchy subject. “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?” 

According to Paul, John referred to his decision to leave as “quite thrilling” and “rather like a divorce.” His abrupt announcement forced Paul and the other remaining members, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, to “pick up the pieces.” 

Unfortunately, the Beatles was bound to secrecy over their relationship status during this tense time. Their new manager, Allen Klein, had asked them to stay hush-hush on the issue "for a few months" while he negotiated some ongoing business contracts. The longer their silence lasted, the louder the rumors became.

“It was weird because we all knew it was the end of the Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away,” said Paul. With speculation now spiraling out of control, he grew "fed up of hiding it" and decided to "let the cat out of the bag."

The Beatles 1967

The Beatles in 1967 

(Image credit: Getty)

“Around about that time we were having little meetings and it was horrible," he recalled. “It was the opposite of what we were. We were musicians not meeting people.” 

Paul ended up suing his fellow members of The Beatles in 1970, after disagreeing with their appointment of Allen Klein as the band's financial manager. 

"I had to fight and the only way I could fight was in suing the other Beatles, because they were going with Klein," he said. "And they thanked me for it years later. But I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny coming in one day and saying ‘I’m leaving the group’.”

The interview will be available for listening in full on 23 October on BBC Radio 4. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.