Paul McCartney’s First Reaction To John Lennon’s Decision To Leave The Beatles

Formed in 1960, the Beatles were the leading figures of sociocultural movements, especially during the 1960s counterculture. Throughout their career, they achieved remarkable global success that even led to fanaticism which is referred to as Beatlemania by many journalists.

However, their presence in the music industry didn’t last long. Following the band’s final concert on August 29, 1966, John Lennon started to grow substance addiction more. In addition to that, he focused more on his girlfriend Yoko Ono, and he wanted her by her side even while the band was in the studio.

Their manager Brian Epstein’s death in 1967, Paul McCartney’s dominant role in the band, and their disagreement on how to run their band dynamics contributed to the Beatles’ break up in 1969. Although McCartney is to blame by many, he thinks the reason was John Lennon. Let’s see what McCartney said about Lennon’s departure from the band.

Why Did John Lennon Leave The Band, According To Paul McCartney?

In a previous interview, Paul McCartney made it clear that he wasn’t the one who instigated the Beatles’ split. Instead, he stated that he wanted the band to continue making music. In another interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, the musician touched upon this issue again and talked about why he got blamed by many.

McCartney stated that he believes this is because he answered a question about a possible Beatles reunion by saying he doesn’t think so. Following that, he said this remark ended up being ‘Paul says the Beatles are finished.’ According to the musician, this wasn’t the case, and John Lennon was the one who walked in and said he was leaving the band.

In the interview with NPR’s Fresh Air, Paul McCartney said about the Beatles’ break up the following:

“At the time, for some crazy reason, I got blamed. I know why it was. It was because when I put my first album out after the Beatles, I was sent a questionnaire that said, asked various questions about the Beatles. And there was something like, will the Beatles get back together again? – or something. When are you getting back together again? And I sort of said, no, I don’t think so or something. I can’t remember the exact reaction, but it was something like that.

And then that became, you know, as it does, blown up into the big headline, Paul says the Beatles are finished or whatever. And so that became, Paul must have finished them. So I didn’t really have a chance to say, no, wait a minute. There was a meeting, and John walked into it, and the other Beatles and I were in this room. And John walked in and said, I’m leaving the Beatles. You know, that never came out.”

According to McCartney, there was nothing he could do to prevent the Beatles’ break up as it was John Lennon who walked in and revealed his decision to leave. In the end, the frontman was determined to terminate his time with the band, which left no choice to his bandmates.

How Did Paul McCartney React To John Lennon’s Decision?

Paul McCartney also revealed how he reacted to John Lennon’s decision in the interview. He stated that he and his bandmates were shocked upon hearing his determination to leave the band. Then, they thought about whether this will end the Beatles or this was just a ‘John-ish’ thing, and he would later come up to say they should get together.

Following that, McCartney stated this decision was bad news, leaving them without a job. The musician later realized that Lennon decided to go because he had a new relationship with Yoko Ono. He needed to focus solely on Ono to give her his full-time attention, which was the primary reason he parted ways with the band.

During the conversation, the host Terry Gross asked McCartney the following:

“What was your reaction when he said that? Were you prepared for that? And how did you feel about it?”

As a response, McCartney said:

“No way. We were gobsmacked. You know, we were very shocked. And it was, I think the first question was in our minds, well, is this going to last? Or is this just something very John-ish, where he would just say, hey, big dramatic statement, and then he’d go off? And then a couple of weeks later, he’d go, oh, you know, maybe we should get together again. So, yeah, it was quite shocking.

You can imagine someone just walks in and tells you the factory is closing, you know? It was big, and it was shocking. And I think we wondered whether it would get together again. And when it didn’t, it left us all, in one way, without a job. Because this had been our job, it was bad news. It was shocking. But, you know, later, I realized that it was, John had this new relationship with Yoko, and he had to clear the decks in order to give her full-time attention.

You can listen to the mentioned interview below.