Paul McCartney opened up about how he was affected by the perception that he broke up The Beatles decades ago.
McCartney stunned the world in 1970 when he announced the influential English rock group that comprised himself, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr split up. That same year, McCartney sued the band due to issues with Lennon’s new manager at the time, Allen Klein.
“I suppose that when The Beatles broke up, perhaps there was a misconception that we all sort of hated each other,” McCartney, 78, told British GQ in a candid interview.
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He continued: “What I realize now is that, because it was a family, because it was a gang, families argue. And families have disputes. And some people want to do this and some people want to do that.”
McCartney was only able to access The Beatles’ discography if he sued the band.
“If I hadn’t done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did,” he told the outlet. “I said ‘Well, I’ll sue Allen Klein,’ and I wasn’t told I couldn’t because he wasn’t party to it. ‘You’ve got to sue the Beatles.’”
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After McCartney sued, Lennon released his famous song “How Do You Sleep?” which was believed to be a diss record.
“Well, as you can imagine, that was horrendous and it gave me some terrible times. I drank way too much and did too much of everything,” he said. “And it was crazy, but I knew that was the only thing to do, because there was no way I was going to save it for me, because there was no way I was going to work that hard for all my life and see it all vanish in a puff of smoke. I also knew that, if I managed to save it, I would be saving it for them [the rest of The Beatles] too. Because they were about to give it away. They loved this guy Klein. And I was saying, ‘He’s a f–king idiot.’”
He added: “I think I was thought to be the guy who broke The Beatles up and the bastard who sued his mates. And, believe me, I bought into that. That’s the weirdest thing. It was so prevalent that for years I almost blamed myself. I knew that that was stupid and when we eventually got back together I knew it was silly, but I think it spawned a lot of people who thought that of me.”
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Lennon and his then-wife Yoko Ono also hailed insults at McCartney over the years.
“I remember reading an article, an interview with Yoko, who, OK, she was a big John supporter, I get that, but in this article she goes, ‘Paul did nothing. All he ever did was book studio,’” he recalled. “And I’m going, ‘Err? No…’”
The “FourFiveSeconds” singer continued: “And then John does this famous song, ‘How Do You Sleep?,’ and he’s going, ‘All you ever did was ‘Yesterday’… And I’m going, ‘No, man.’
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“But then you hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allen Klein,” McCartney claimed. “And those things were pretty hurtful.”
McCartney and Lennon later reconciled before Lennon’s death in 1980.
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“I was very lucky in that respect. We settled our family squabble and I was able to see him and to speak to him on a number of occasions, so we were friends till the end,” McCartney said.