In his classic song, “American Pie,” Don McLean sang about “the day the music died.” To many, the music died some 50 years ago, on April 10, 1970. On that day, Paul McCartney “vaguely” announced his “disassociation” with The Beatles.
In 1960, four Liverpudians, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best (Ringo would join the group in 1962) formed the legendary band that would take the world on a magical mystery tour (or, perhaps, a tragical history tour) throughout a turbulent decade plagued by a senseless, unwinnable war in Asia, political unrest, the “Cold War,” and a righteous struggle for equality and civil rights.
Without doubt, The Beatles had a mesmerizing influence throughout the 60’s with their creative use of harmonies and sound. However, by the end of the 60’s, the dream was over.
The Beatles had spent about three years breaking up during the latter part of the 1960’s; and, when you think about it, even longer trying to iron out all the contractual red tape. By September 1969, The Beatles were no longer a functional band; instead, they regressed into a musical group “on paper,” held together by a tangled web of commercial dealings and business relationships.
By that time, each member of The Beatles was pursuing his own musical interests outside of the band, and; following the recording sessions for “Abbey Road,” there were no plans for The Beatles to record together as a group.
Of course, management for The Beatles misled the public into thinking that the lull in Beatle activity was just temporary, a hiatus from the recording studio.
That changed on April 10, 1970, when an ambiguous Paul McCartney “self-interview” was seized upon by the international media as an official announcement of a Beatles breakup. It had become clear that Paul had no intention to sustain the “Lennon-McCartney” song writing partnership.
Truthfully, there really was nothing in Paul’s comments that constituted a definitive statement about The Beatles’ future. But, nevertheless, Paul’s statements were reported in the press under headlines like “McCartney Breaks Off With Beatles” and “The Beatles Sing Their Swan Song.”
Whatever his intent at the time, Paul’s statements drove a further wedge between himself and his bandmates. By the end of 1970, Paul would file suit to dissolve the Beatles’ business partnership, a formal process that came to fruition in 1974.
The Beatles were music’s mythical deities throughout the 60’s. Indeed, The Beatles are legendary, and we still view them with awe. However, after the split, the “Olympudians” became flesh, and; suffice it to say, the legend has waned a bit over the years.
John Di Genio