Sir Paul McCartney discusses the Beatles’ breakup, whether he’d ever do a Vegas residency, and more during a candid new interview with British GQ.
The 78-year-old says, when asked, “What is the biggest misconception about you?”: “I suppose that when the Beatles broke up [around 1970], perhaps there was a misconception that we all sort of hated each other. What I realize now is that, because it was a family, because it was a gang, families argue. And families have disputes. And some people want to do this and some people want to do that.
“So I think, what came about after that… the only way for me to save the Beatles and Apple – and to release ‘Get Back’ by Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release Anthology and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records – was to sue the band.
“If I hadn’t done that, it would have all belonged to [their manager] Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did. I said ‘Well, I’ll sue Allen Klein,’ and I wasn’t told I couldn’t because he wasn’t party to it. ‘You’ve got to sue the Beatles.’”
It was revealed in June 2017 that McCartney and Sony/ATV had “reached a deal in their duel over the Beatles song rights,” the Hollywood Reporter claimed at the time.
McCartney shares of the breakup, “If you read the history, there comes a point when all the guys turn against [Klein] but I had to do this thing. So to answer your question, because I had to do that, I think I was thought to be the guy who broke the Beatles up and the bastard who sued his mates. And, believe me, I bought into that. That’s the weirdest thing. It was so prevalent that for years I almost blamed myself.”
He continues, “I remember reading an article, an interview with Yoko [Ono], who, OK, she was a big John [Lennon] supporter, I get that, but in this article she goes, ‘Paul did nothing. All he ever did was book studio.’
“And I’m going, ‘Err? No…’ And then John does this famous song, ‘How Do You Sleep?’, and he’s going, ‘All you ever did was “Yesterday”…’ And I’m going, ‘No, man.’
“But then you hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allen Klein. So, you see the atmosphere of ‘Let’s get Paul. Let’s nail him in a song…’ And those things were pretty hurtful.”
McCartney is then asked whether he’s considered a residency in Vegas, like that of Elton John, or a Broadway show like Bruce Springsteen.
“Some people would like me to do it, as they say I’ve got plenty of stories and plenty of songs, but one of the things that’s holding me back at the moment is that Bruce has just done it, you know? It feels a bit like, ‘Oh, suddenly I’ll do it now then!’
“So I think that’s made me a little reluctant to follow in his footsteps or follow a trend. The idea is OK, but I think I’d just prefer to play with the band to a bigger audience, or ever smaller – I don’t mind little clubs. I do a solo segment in the middle of my shows at the moment and to do a whole show like that, I’m not sure I fancy it.
“It might be a little bit like too much hard work. As for playing Vegas, that’s something I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life. Definitely nothing attracts me about the idea. Vegas is where you go to die, isn’t it? It’s the elephant’s graveyard.”
Read the full feature in the September issue of British GQ available via digital download and on newsstands Friday, August 7.