Yoko Ono has always been blamed for the breakup of the Beatles. But after more than 40 years of shouldering the guilt, she may be getting her name cleared of splitting up the most revered rock band of all time.
Previously unreleased interviews with music stars have shined a new light on the split of the Fab Four, including an interview with Ono, conducted by the famed Joe Smith for Rolling Stone, one of several released by the Library of Congress
for public listening.
It's a commonly held belief that Ono’s appearance in John Lennon's life drove a spike between the band members because of Lennon's jealousy. As a result, the group split (along with Lennon's first marriage, though Ono wasn't the only factor). Until recently, Paul McCartney was often cited as resting the blame squarely on Ono, particularly for her presence during the famous "Abbey Road"sessions.
But in the 1987 interview with Ono — released along with sit-downs with the likes of George Martin, McCartney, and George Harrison, as well Dave Brubeck and Burt Bacharach — she claims that McCartney, the other main creative force behind the Beatles, was the primary reason the band split. She insinuates that McCartney was becoming overpossessive of his band mates.
"Each one of them [was] getting independent," Ono tells Smith. "John, in fact, was not the first who wanted to leave the Beatles. [We saw] Ringo one night with Maureen and he came to John and me and said he wanted to leave. George was next, and then John. Paul was the only one trying to hold the Beatles together. But the other three thought Paul would hold the Beatles together as his band. They were getting to be like Paul's band, which they didn't like."
Ono added that the breakup actually put a strain on her relationship with Lennon because he "expected all that to be replaced by me."
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