Newspapers around the world interpreted Paul McCartney’s remarks as an announcement that the band had broken up. On 10 April, having been among the recipients of the Q&A, Don Short of The Daily Mirror reported on McCartney’s departure from the Beatles under the front-page headline “Paul Quits The Beatles”. Paul’s bandmates viewed his announcement as a betrayal, particularly since he had used it to promote his solo album. He was vilified by the group’s fans and the press for his perceived role in the break-up. Paul McCartney later said that he did not view his comments in the self-interview as an official announcement. According to Beatles confidant Ray Connolly, Paul was “devastated” at the reaction his words had caused.
From 10 April, reporters and some of the band’s fans began gathering outside the Apple Corps offices at 3 Savile Row. A CBS News team reported that “The event is so momentous that historians may, one day, view it as a landmark in the decline of the British Empire … The Beatles are breaking up.” Inside Apple, where he was being filmed for an episode of the BBC1 program Fact or Fantasy?, George Harrison refused to speak to the media; after completing the filming, he watched an early edit of the documentary film The Long and Winding Road (later expanded into the 1995 series The Beatles Anthology). Asked for their response to McCartney’s comments, Ringo Starr said, “This is all news to me”, and Lennon said: “It was nice to find that he was still alive. Anyway, you can say I said jokingly, ‘He didn’t quit, I sacked him!'” Taylor issued a press release, which stated in part:
(The Beatles)do not want to split up, but the present rift seems to be part of their growing up ... at the moment they seem to cramp each other's styles. Paul has called a halt to the Beatles' activities. They could be dormant for years ... It is no secret that Klein and Paul have never hit it off ... He opposed the appointment of Klein and wanted to make his father-in-law Lee Eastman, a New York lawyer, manager.
In the 18 April issue of Melody Maker, Richard Williams commented that, since the Q&A did not categorically state that Paul had left the Beatles or would never record with them again, “What else is new? All these facts existed at the time of Abbey Road, but it didn’t stop that album being made.” Williams dismissed the news as “possibly the non-event of the year”, since he believed the Beatles would continue as before.
In an interview for Rolling Stone that week, John said that it was merely Paul “causing chaos” in the same way that he used to “sulk” if Epstein would not let him have his way. John also said: “The cartoon is this – four guys on a stage with a spotlight on them; second picture, three guys on stage breezing out of the spotlight; third picture, one guy standing there shouting ‘I’m leaving.'”
In an interview he gave in New York in late April, George stated that, even though he was about to record a solo album with Spector as his producer, it would be “very selfish” if the Beatles did not put aside their differences and record together again soon, given how much their music meant to listeners around the world. George said that, from its launch in 1968, Paul had led Apple into financial problems and the others had then had to step in and try to remedy the situation. Paul was unable to accept that he had less control than before, George continued, and that, with their appointment of Klein, the others were putting the Beatles and Apple first rather than “trying to do what’s best for Paul and his in-laws”. George’s message that the Beatles would regroup after each member had completed their solo projects was syndicated internationally. John also suggested that he was interested in recording again with the Beatles, saying of the current turn of events: “It could be a rebirth or a death. We’ll see what it is. It’ll probably be a rebirth.”
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