Listening Room columnist
April 10, 1970 was a Friday. I was in the third grade at St. John’s Catholic School in White Plains, NY. For me, it was just an ordinary school day.
But in the music world, April 10, 1970 was a milestone. At a press conference, Paul McCartney announced that the Beatles had disbanded, and also announced the release of his first solo LP, McCartney. He would also file a lawsuit against the other three Beatles by the end of the year.
(photo courtesy of the Associated Press)
Truthfully, I don’t remember April 10, 1970 because I was only 9 years old! But by the time I graduated St. John’s in 1975, I was a big Beatles fan. I had all their albums, and learned as much as I could about them by reading books, magazines, and listening to their music ( Vinyl and 8 Track Tape). Thus, I had gained all this knowledge about them the old fashioned way; there was no Internet back then.
On that day (April 10), Apple also released a statement on behalf of the Beatles which read, “The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you. When the spinning stops–that’ll be the time to worry. Not before. The Beatles are alive and well and the beat goes on. The beat goes on.”
Even after the April 10th announcement, the remaining three Beatles were still publicly stating that the Beatles, as an entity, still existed and this was a temporary hiatus.
John Lennon initially had little response to Paul’s announcement, saying only, “Paul phoned me to say ‘I’ve decided to leave The Beatles.’ It was good to hear from him, now that I know he’s not dead [a reference to the “Paul is dead” hoax that broke the previous fall].”
In the May 14 edition of Rolling Stone, John made his feelings clearer: “It’s the simple fact that [Paul] can’t have his own way, so he is causing chaos. I put out four albums last year, and I didn’t say a f—ing word about quitting.”
After the Beatles breakup in 1970, all four members embarked upon successful solo careers. There were always rumors that they they would get back together. Promoters like Sid Bernstein ( who helped organize the Shea Stadium concerts in the 1960’s) offered the Beatles millions of dollars to reunite in the 1970’s for a single concert.(I always remember the parody on Saturday Night Live in which Lorne Michaels would offer the Beatles $5000 to get back together in which they can split the money anyway they wish: evenly or giving Ringo less because he contributed the least !)
Despite periodic rumors of reunions throughout the 1970s, no new group projects came close to materializing. There were tons of reissues and new compilations such as the albums 1962-1966 & 1967-1970 (both from 1973), Rock & Roll Music (1976), Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Love Songs (both from 1977).
Any hopes of a real reunion vanished when John Lennon was assassinated in New York City on December 8, 1980.
I do not considered the Anthology Projects of the mid 1990’s (released over three albums including two singles – :”Free as a Bird” and “Real Love”) as true reunions even though they carried the Beatles name on these releases. There is a lot of debate and controversy among Beatles fans regarding the Anthology Records. However, I have no complaints about the Anthology Film/DVD and Book.
The popularity of the Beatles has proven eternal. The Beatles’ records recorded from 1962 through 1970 carried an ageless beauty that continues to captivate new generations of listeners. These are the songs that will continue to be heard on radio in heavy rotation, will continue to sell in massive quantities, and will continue to be covered and quoted by rock and pop artists through the present day.