Who Paul McCartney Blames For The Beatles Breaking Up

The Beatles became one of the world's most popular bands in 1964. They played concerts to tens of thousands of screaming fans. Their albums dominated the record charts. Then, at the height of the band's popularity, they broke up in 1970. They were like a comet that had been in the sky for six years and finally exited from view. The end had been coming for a while, though. Their last concert event together was in 1966, aside from an impromptu concert on the roof of their new recording studio in 1969, via U Discover Music. According to Rolling Stone, the 1966 tour really drove the life out of the band. There were also drug problems among them in the ensuing years (also per Rolling Stone).

The end was not in a big public fight, but rather a very bland breakup note to the public that was penned by Paul McCartney, where he "interviewed" himself, according to History. The legal breakup of the band came after years of legal wrangling on each member's behalf. McCartney and George Harrison signed the paperwork at the Plaza Hotel in New York, while Ringo Starr signed his in England. John Lennon was the last to sign. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, while Lennon lived a short walk from the Plaza Hotel, he signed his dissolution papers at Walt Disney World's Polynesian Village Hotel on December 29, 1974.

What happened? Who or what was the cause of this? There's one person that McCartney feels shoulders the blame for the breakup of the world's greatest bands, and it's not the one who many people usually scorn.

The stresses of being a Beatle

Being a Beatle didn't come without its share of stress. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, in 1966, the band played a show in the Philippines to cap off a tour which took them across Asia. The band was invited to a reception with Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos, but they didn't go. When this was reported in the media, it incited a lot of upset locals who hassled the Beatles all the way to the airport, per Rolling Stone, and the band was only able to flee once they agreed to give up the money they made from their concert. After the incident in the Philippines, the Fab Four had some time off to get ready for a U.S. tour, which should have been much more relaxed, had Lennon's off-the-cuff remark about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus" (as reported by Rolling Stone) not angered many religious people in the United States.

While the rumors swirled in the decades that followed the band's 1974 breakup — that their final days together were rife with tension and fiery argument — the 2021 Peter Jackson documentary "Get Back" says that just wasn't the case. "I just waited for it to go bad," Jackson told ABC News. "I waited for the arguments to begin. I waited for the conflict to begin. I waited for the sense that they hated each other. I waited for all the things I had read in the books, and it never showed up."

John Lennon walked away from the Beatles

When most people think of the reason that the Beatles broke up, Yoko Ono is often seen as the primary culprit. She dated and then married John Lennon, and the band broke up not too long afterward. According to Biography, she was not the reason why. Apparently, the band was in dire straits before that due to the death of their manager, and she was a convenient scapegoat. Not even her own denials were enough to appease the anger of some fans of the Fab Four. One of the band members, Paul McCartney, was much more direct about who caused the splintering of the most popular band in the world: Lennon

The success of the Beatles wasn't enough to convince Lennon to stay. Apparently, he wanted to have full creative control of his music, and he told the group that he was finished, according to McCartney, via Reuters. Lennon likened the split to a divorce.

All four of them went on to have success as solo artists. McCartney started another band, Wings, that featured his wife, Linda, and then continued to tour after her death. George Harrison had success in the '70s and '80s as a solo artist before his death in 2001. Ringo Starr continued to play tours well into the 2020s, and Lennon's creative flame was extinguished too early by his murder at the hands of Mark David Chapman. McCartney thinks the Beatles would have continued to make music if Lennon had stayed. We will never know, unfortunately. Perhaps people can stop blaming Ono now.