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Paul McCartney says John Lennon “instigated” the Beatles’ split

"I didn't instigate the split. That was our Johnny"

By Nick Reilly

The Beatles perform their Get Back video
The Beatles (Picture: Press).

Paul McCartney has said that John Lennon “instigated” the Beatles‘ split, after decades of facing blame himself.

The rock icon was first blamed for the Fab Four’s split in 1970, when a press release for his self-titled debut solo album revealed he was on a “break” from the group.

But in a new interview with the BBC, McCartney has said his late bandmate made the defining decision that led to their split.

“I didn’t instigate the split. That was our Johnny,” he told interviewer John Wilson. “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. And he said, ‘It’s quite thrilling, it’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces.”

“This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue.”

Quizzed further about his decision to go solo, McCartney replied: “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?”

McCartney went on to blame the group’s manager Allen Klein for the decades-long confusion that surrounded their split, claiming he told the band to stay quiet while he tied up business deals.

“So for a few months we had to pretend,” McCartney told Wilson.

“It was weird because we all knew it was the end of The Beatles but we couldn’t just walk away.”

In the end, the personal toll of the secrecy led McCartney to “let the cat out of the bag” because “I was fed up of hiding it”.

He added: “Around about that time we were having little meetings and it was horrible. It was the opposite of what we were. We were musicians not meeting people.”

While he believes that a split was inevitable because Lennon “wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam”, McCartney added the band’s time together could have been longer if Lennon didn’t want to depart.

McCartney’s This Cultural Life interview is set to air on October 23.

Next month also sees Peter Jackson release ‘The Beatles: Get Back’ – his forthcoming look at the making of ‘Let It Be’. It will arrive on Disney+ in three separate instalments.