50 years on Paul McCartney sets the record straight on who really broke up the Beatles

Publish Date
Sunday, 17 October 2021, 9:19AM

When the biggest band in music history broke up in 1970, fans pointed the finger at Sir Paul McCartney.

Now, more than half a century later, the British singer-songwriter has revealed who really broke up the Beatles ...

And it was, in fact, John Lennon.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, McCartney told journalist John Wilson: "I didn't instigate the split. That was our Johnny.

"John walked into the room one day and said, 'I'm leaving the Beatles.' And he said, 'It's quite thrilling. It's rather like a divorce.' And then we were left to pick up the pieces."

He also said being blamed for the band's breakup had "frustrated him for half a century."

McCartney said Lennon's decision to leave the band was driven by his pursuit of social justice, including movements such as "bagism," where he and his wife, Yoko Ono, wore bags to urge people not to judge others based on their appearance.

Lennon and Ono also held "bed-ins" for peace in Amsterdam and Montreal in 1969, whereby they lay in bed in hotel rooms for a week in protest against conflict, particularly the Vietnam War.

McCartney described the breakup as the "most difficult period of his life" and said he could have imagined the Beatles continuing for longer if Lennon had not instigated the split, as the group was still making "pretty good stuff."

"This was my band, this was my job, this was my life. So I wanted it to continue," McCartney said.