50 years without The Beatles – the biggest band break-up in history

It wasn’t quite the day the music died, but for Beatles fans the world over, it must have felt pretty close.

On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney issued a press release alongside advance copies of his solo album, which seemed to announce the Beatles’ demise.

Framed as the transcript to a Q&A, he confirmed that he did not miss his band-mates, that he was not planning anything with them, and that he could not foresee writing any future songs with John Lennon. When asked if he enjoyed solo work, he said: “I only had me to ask for a decision, and I agreed with me.”

Lennon responded furiously, but his words seemed to confirm those of his band-mate. “He can’t have his own way, so he’s causing chaos. I put out four albums last year, and I didn’t say a f***ing word about quitting.” In reality, he had privately departed months before.

While millions of fans gently wept, the headline writers tried to work out what on earth had happened. For the public it was a bolt from the blue, but for band insiders it was less Day In The Life, more Long And Winding Road. For three or four years, the group had bickered and squabbled, and all four members had either temporarily quit or threatened to.

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