Paul McCartney Shared the Biggest Misconception About The Beatles

Over the years, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have shared so many stories about The Beatles that much of the band’s history feels like common knowledge. Still, it’s impossible to fully understand the band’s inner workings from an outside perspective. McCartney said people still misunderstand certain elements of the band’s history. He shared what he sees as the biggest misconception about The Beatles. 

A black and white photo of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon of The Beatles wearing matching outfits.
The Beatles | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

The Beatles’ breakup was acrimonious

After a period of increased band tensions, The Beatles broke up. In 1970, McCartney sued the band, a move that made all their private turmoil public. His former bandmates complained about him in the media, but McCartney felt he had to do it. 

“So I think what came about after that … the only way for me to save The Beatles and Apple — and to release Get Back by Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release Anthology and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records — was to sue the band,” he told GQ in 2020. “If I hadn’t done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did. I said, ‘Well, I’ll sue Allen Klein,’ and I was told I couldn’t because he wasn’t party to it. ‘You’ve got to sue The Beatles.’”

Though he felt strongly that this was the right thing to do, it was still hard on him.

“Well, as you can imagine, that was horrendous and it gave me some terrible times,” he said. “I drank way too much and did too much of everything. And it was crazy, but I knew that was the only thing to do, because there was no way I was going to save it for me, because there was no way I was going to work that hard for all my life and see it all vanish in a puff of smoke.”

Paul McCartney shared the biggest misconception about The Beatles

After the band broke up, Lennon wrote angry songs about McCartney, Harrison complained about his controlling behavior, and Starr admitted he could act like a child. Lennon and Harrison also complained about one another. To the public, it seemed that the former bandmates hated each other. McCartney says that this was not the case. 

When asked about the biggest misconception about himself, he responded, “Oh, God. There are so many. I suppose that when The Beatles broke up, perhaps there was a misconception that we all sort of hated each other. What I realize now is that, because it was a family, because it was a gang, families argue. And families have disputes. And some people want to do this and some people want to do that.”

While they were angry with each other for a time, they repaired their relationships in the years after the band broke up. Even McCartney and Lennon, whose feud was perhaps the most public, were on good terms by the mid-1970s.

Paul McCartney said his memories of The Beatles are happy ones

Despite some of the difficult times, McCartney said that his memories of The Beatles are happy ones. 

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“The thing that amazes me now, because of my venerable age, is that I will be with, like, one of New York’s finest dermatologists, and he will be a rabid Beatles fan,” McCartney told The New York Times. “All of that amazes me. We were trying to get known, we were trying to do good work and we did it. So to me, it’s all happy memories.”