It was 50 years ago today: The Story of The Beatles' Breakup
It’s hard to imagine a time before The Beatles. In fact, for most music fans born any time past April 10th, 1970, the group’s music would have been just a part of life’s background noise, with almost every song made since being compared to that of The Fab Four.
With their roots dating back to late ’50s skiffle group called The Quarrymen, The Beatles as we know them today didn’t officially become a band until 1960 when Johnny and The Moondogs decided to rename themselves the Beatals in honour of Buddy Holly and the Crickets.
By 1962, the group’s lineup had officially solidified, with Ringo Starr replacing Pete Best on drums. Before long, their meteoric rise to fame had begun, and within the space of a few years, The Beatles had become one of the world’s most popular, profitable, and well-known bands.
The legacy of The Beatles is obviously unmatched. Countless classic songs, numerous revered albums, and more awards than words in this very article. But in true fashion, all good things must come to an end.
In September of 1969, The Beatles released Abbey Road, the last record released during their time as a band. In hindsight, the stories of frayed tensions between band members made news of an eventual split almost expected. While Ringo had briefly quit the band one year previously, and John Lennon had already released a solo single, the final song on Abbey Road – titled ‘The End’ – seemed to spell a fitting end for the group.
Unbeknownst to fans of The Beatles, the writing was already on the wall, with Lennon having announced his departure from the band one week prior to the release of Abbey Road.
By the beginning of 1970, fans were still hopeful that more music was on the way. In fact, while the remaining members of the band were in the studio at the beginning of the year, this would be the last time they worked together.
Unfortunately, the final sessions for their final album proved fractious, and tensions rose to the point where on April 10th, 1970, Paul McCartney publicly announced his “break with the Beatles”, and intentions to release a solo album just one week later.
Contrary to McCartney’s intentions, the media soon took this to mean that The Beatles had in fact broken up officially, later noting he hadn’t intended for it to be viewed as an official announcement, though the damage had already been done.
While the Daily Mirror claimed that “Paul Quits The Beatles” on their front page, CBS News in the US were far more dramatic with their reported. “The event is so momentous that historians may, one day, view it as a landmark in the decline of the British Empire,” they revealed. “The Beatles are breaking up.”
Although the formalities for the band’s dissolution wouldn’t begin until later in the year (and wouldn’t be completed until 1974), the group released Let It Be almost one month after their informal split, providing fans with one final studio album.
Sadly, the band would never work together again while its members were still alive. Though Ringo’s debut solo album would feature contributions from all of the members, and Lennon and McCartney remained friends, calls for a reunion – including a famous one from Saturday Night Live’s Lorne Michaels – never eventuated.
Unfortunately, Lennon’s assassination in 1980 put these hopes to bed once and for all, and Harrison’s 2001 passing further proved the past would never again be repeated.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances in which The Beatles ended their illustrious career, 50 years ago today, their music and legacy remains, ensuring that the world will forever remember the Fab Four and the music they so masterfully created in just a few short years.