Paul McCartney tells interviewer David Frost in a program set to air in November that Yoko Ono did not break up the Beatles, reinforcing the position that John Lennon often took in the years before his death in 1980.
“She certainly didn’t break the group up, the group was breaking up,” McCartney told Frost in an interview coinciding roughly with the Beatles’ 50th anniversary this year. (Ringo Starr joined the band in August 1962, which cemented the lineup that would soon be the focus of the pop music world, and in October 1962 the Fab Four released its first single, “Love Me Do.”)
“I don’t think you can blame her for anything,” McCartney says in the interview for Frost’s program on the Al Jazeera English TV channel, which is slated to air Nov. 9. “When Yoko came along, part of her attraction was her avant-garde side, her view of things, so she showed him another way to be, which was very attractive to him. So it was time for John to leave, he was definitely going to leave” with or without Ono in the picture.
He also thinks that if Lennon had not gone on to pursue projects with Ono, he might not have written songs such as “Imagine.” “I don’t think he would have done that without Yoko," McCartney said.
Lennon often noted that each of the Beatles had quit the band before the group’s formal dissolution in 1970, and also argued that anyone who blamed Ono for the band’s breakup by extension should thank her for the subsequent solo music each group member created.
Frost’s hour-long session is being billed as an “in-depth interview,” although it omits McCartney's second marriage to Heather Mills, which ended acrimoniously in a nasty courtroom battle. McCartney does, however, talk about his first marriage to Linda Eastman and her 1998 death from breast cancer. “The doctors had told me privately that we'd caught it too late, that she'll have about 18 months,” he said. “And that was what she had.”
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