The Beatles, who broke up more than a half-century ago, might instead have gone on making music for years, Paul McCartney says. But they went their four ways, and after receiving much of the popular blame since because he had broken the news, McCartney wants to make clear that it wasn't his idea. "I didn't instigate the split," McCartney said. "That was our Johnny." He said John Lennon "walked into a room one day and said, 'I am leaving the Beatles.' Is that instigating the split, or not?" McCartney made the comments in a BBC Radio interview to be released Oct. 23, the Guardian reports, ahead of the delayed release of Peter Jackson's TV documentary, Get Back.
There were issues, some around the band's new manager, Allen Klein, but McCartney said Lennon was just ready to move on. "The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko," he said. But he doesn't blame Yoko Ono, Lennon's wife, saying, "They were a great couple. There was huge strength there." The split was bound to happen, McCartney said, once Lennon "wanted to go in a bag and lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace. And you couldn't argue with that." Lennon thought his decision to leave the Beatles was "quite thrilling," McCartney said.
McCartney, 79, said he did not. "This was my band, this was my job, this was my life, so I wanted it to continue." He said the Beatles were still doing good work: "Abbey Road, Let It Be—not bad." Instead, he, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were left to "left to pick up the pieces," McCartney said, in what he called the "most difficult period of my life." Lennon was born 81 years ago Saturday, per People, and Ono and McCartney posted photos to mark the day. Ono's shows Lennon and their son Sean blowing out birthday candles; they shared a birthday. McCartney's shows the two bandmates holding guitars up like violins. "Happy Birthday thoughts for John," McCartney wrote. (Read more Beatles stories.)