The ’60s were over, and perhaps nothing signaled that more than this day back in 1970. It is as good a day as any to pick as the End of The Beatles.
It was that day that Paul McCartney released an enigmatic press release, ostensibly for promoting his forthcoming solo album, McCartney, which hit stores one week later. Parts of the release were Paul interviewing Paul, if you will and while he didn’t officially say “the Beatles are finished”, it was hard to miss the underlying message. For instance, when he asked himself “is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?” he replied “time will tell…it’s both” and that he wanted away from the other three because of “personal differences, business differences, musical differences…I have a better time with my family.” Of course, much like John included Yoko on his solo works, Paul got his wife Linda involved with his own records. The one thing that he was definite about was “do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney become an active songwriting partnership again?” to which he simply said an emphatic “NO!”.
Of course, none of this was surprising to insiders. As History put it, by then “little more than a tangled set of business relationships (were) keeping this group together.” Paul had a solo record ready to ship, Ringo had released his oft-overlooked debut, Sentimental Journey the previous month, George had previously done two experimental ones and was hard at work on his epic All Things Must Pass and John…well John was busy with his new Plastic Ono Band. McC’s statement irked him no small amount. He told Rolling Stone a few weeks later, “he can’t have his own way, so he’s causing chaos. I put out four (that actually seems like a bit of a mis-statement from him, it would seem more like three in about a year and a half) last year and I didn’t say a… thing about quitting!” The British press jumped on McCartney’s statements with headlines like “McCartney Breaks Off With The Beatles.” Legal confirmation came later in the year with a disolvement of the legal entity that was the business side of the decade’s greatest creative force.
Ironically, four weeks to the day after McCartney’s news release, the Beatles put out their final album, Let It Be. Some speculated it was Paul’s displeasure over Phil Spector’s heavy production of his song “The Long & Winding Road” that spurred on the breakup, but in reality, if that was anything at all, it was merely the final straw. the only surprise to those close to them was that they managed to hold it together long enough to finish that album and Abbey Road.