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Paul McCartney blames John Lennon for breaking up The Beatles: 'I wanted it to continue'

McCartney is opening up about the dissolution of the iconic rock group he fronted in a forthcoming interview.
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/ Source: TODAY

Paul McCartney is opening up about the real reason behind The Beatles’ breakup, going against decadeslong rumors that he was the reason that the iconic English rock band split up.

In an interview with the BBC airing Saturday, the 79-year-old discussed his band's infamous fall, linking their ultimate dissolution to just one member of the group: John Lennon.

"I didn't instigate the split,” McCartney told BBC's Radio 4. “That was our Johnny. I am not the person who instigated the split."

Paul McCartney and John Lennon at a press call for "Our World" broadcast.Cummings Archives / Redferns

McCartney recalled the conversation, explaining, “John walked into the room one day and said, ‘I’m leaving The Beatles.’ And he said, ’It’s quite thrilling, it’s rather like a divorce.’ And then we were left to pick up the pieces.”

Interviewer John Wilson asked the rock star if the Fab Four would have continued had Lennon not decided to leave, to which McCartney responded, “It could have.”

"The point of it really was that John was making a new life with Yoko and he wanted ... to lie in bed for a week in Amsterdam for peace,” McCartney said. “You couldn't argue with that.”

McCartney added, “It was the most difficult period of my life. Number one, The Beatles were breaking up and this was my band, this was my job, this was my life. I wanted it to continue. I thought we were doing some pretty good stuff.”

Over the years, music historians have hypothesized that the breakup of The Beatles was caused by a slew of issues, including creative differences and disagreements about management. The blame for the band’s split has in the past also been placed on Yoko Ono, the second wife of the late Lennon who was assassinated in New York City in 1980.

McCartney, however, has refuted those claims and told the BBC nearly a decade ago, “She certainly didn't break the group up ... I don't think you can blame her for anything.”

Last April, McCartney discussed the band’s split with Howard Stern in a candid interview. When asked why he didn’t continue on separately with bandmates George Harrison and Ringo Starr, he replied, “I hear what you’re saying, but the thing is Howard, that’s like a family.

“When families break up, it’s to do with the emotion and the emotional pain. You’re hurting too much and so it wasn’t going to happen. We’d been through too much and I think we were just fed up with the whole thing.”

Next month, a new docuseries called “The Beatles: Get Back,” which features nearly 60 hours of unseen footage of The Beatles from 1969 shortly before their breakup, will air in a three-part series on the Disney+ streaming service. According to the description from Walt Disney Studios, the series will provide “the most intimate and honest glimpse into the creative process and relationship” between the four bandmembers.

McCartney has been frankly discussing The Beatles in recent weeks. Earlier this month, McCartney took it back to the beginning and opened up in The New Yorker about how the iconic group came to be.

The rocker wrote, "We were four guys who lived in this city in the North of England, but we didn’t know one another. Then, by chance, we did get to know one another. And then we sounded pretty good when we played together, and we all had that youthful drive to get good at this music thing."

He added, “To this very day, it still is a complete mystery to me that it happened at all. All these small coincidences had to happen to make the Beatles happen, and it does feel like some kind of magic. It’s one of the wonderful lessons about saying yes when life presents these opportunities to you. You never know where they might lead.”