Personalities | The Beatles | The Break-Up Years (1970) | Key Events


The Last Beatles Recording Session

On 3 January Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (John Lennon was in Denmark) gathered at Abbey Road Studios to record Harrison’s ‘I Me Mine’, a song they had rehearsed at the Let It Be sessions a year previously but never recorded. Two versions of an album from the original sessions had already been rejected by the band and in March the tapes were given to legendary American producer Phil Spector. He came over to Abbey Road and spent 10 days remixing the album in his inimitable fashion. McCartney, apparently unaware of what was going on, was appalled by the lush string arrangements on ‘The Long And Winding Road’ but Lennon was unrepentant. ‘He was given the s***tiest load of badly recorded s*** with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it’.

John’s Lithographs Seized

An exhibition of 14 John Lennon lithographs entitled ‘Bag One’ opened at the London Arts Gallery on 15 January. The following day police arrived and seized eight of the lithographs, declaring them to be indecent. When the case came to court in April the magistrate ruled that they were ‘unlikely to deprave or corrupt’ and ordered them to be returned to Lennon. By then, of course, the exhibition was long gone.

Paul Records Solo Album

Paul McCartney had been recording songs on his portable four-track tape recorder at home before booking time at Abbey Road Studios under the pseudonym of Billy Martin, to record his first solo album, playing all the instruments. He completed the album around the same time Phil Spector was remixing Let It Be. When the rest of The Beatles realized that the release of McCartney would conflict with Let It Be they asked him to move the release date. This added insult to the injury McCartney was already feeling over Phil Spector’s remix.


‘Let It Be’

Even as The Beatles were breaking up they could still deliver a rousing anthem, or at least Paul McCartney could. His latest attempt to soothe troubled minds was given a gospel flavour, courtesy of Billy Preston’s organ fills. And George Harrison took the opportunity to plug his guitar into the organ’s Leslie speaker cabinet for his solo. It was a fitting requiem for the band, particularly as it did not have Phil Spector’s paw marks all over it.


Paul Announces Split

With The Beatles now irrevocably split between Lennon, Harrison and Ringo who wanted Allen Klein to manage their affairs, and McCartney who wanted his father-in-law Lee Eastman, it was McCartney who broke ranks and publicly announced that the band had broken up. The announcement was somewhat slyly made in a press release/questionnaire to accompany his McCartney solo album. He blamed ‘Personal differences, business differences but most of all because I have a better time with my family’. Asked whether he could foresee the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership becoming active again...

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