Today on April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney suddenly announced the end of an era with the unofficial break up of the Beatles.
For more than a decade, the Beatles had taken the world by storm. The iconic four-member band began making music in Liverpool, England. Founded in 1960, the group consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. Dubbed as the Fab Four, they are widely considered to be the most influential rock and roll band in history. Throughout their ten-year stint, the Beatles became the highest-grossing band of all time, selling more than 800 million physical and digital records as of 2013. In late 1962, they released their first hit song Love Me Do in the United Kingdom. By 1965, the band had successfully infiltrated the United States with its British Invasion tour. They went on to release several hit albums, including Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (commonly referred to as the White Album), and Abbey Road.
But by the late 1960s, relations between the four members were significantly deteriorating behind the scenes. Each member was now actively pursuing individual musical interests outside of the band. More importantly, they had no commitments or plans to record another album together. On April 10, 1970, McCartney issued a press release that he was soon releasing his first solo album named McCartney.
The statement was bizarre, to say the least. It was written as a string of Q&A with himself. When asked why, McCartney responded with "personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family." Was it temporary or permanent? "I don't know." And, was he planning to make more music with the band? "No."
This wasn't the first time statements like this had been made. McCartney had said things like this in the past, both privately and publicly. In fact, all four of them had. But this time felt different. For one, the other members didn't even try to deny Paul's statement. The next month, their hit documentary 'Let It Be' premiered in London on May 20 — a film that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Shockingly, no one from the band was in attendance for the premiere. It's widely believed the four members never stepped foot in the same room together. Despite their rocky end, everyone went on to enjoy successful solo careers in the post-Beatles era.
"I'm sure that after we've all completed an album or even two albums each, then that novelty will have worn off. We all have to sacrifice a little in order to gain something really big. And there is a big gain by recording together, I think — musically and financially and spiritually and for the rest of the world. Beatle music is such a big sort of scene. It would be very selfish if the Beatles don't record together." — Geroge Harrison
The Beatles' remarkable career racked up a total of 28 Grammy nominations with 11 award wins — including the Lifetime Achievement and Trustees Awards. In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr as the latest Members of the Order of the British Empire. Today, the band still holds the record for more #1 albums. And in their home country, they still have more singles sold than any other group. On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was tragically shot and killed, while Harrison eventually died of lung cancer in 2001. The Fab Four were officially inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988. To this day, Paul McCartney continues to maintain his impressive musical career while Ringo Starr remains active in the industry.