September 20, 1969: During a business meeting at Apple with manager Alan Klein t…

Written by on September 20, 2020

September 20, 1969: During a business meeting at Apple with manager Alan Klein to sign a new recording contract with EMI, The Beatles break up, but nobody realizes it…not even The Beatles themselves.

Lennon had recently gotten back from playing in Toronto with the Plastic Ono Band, and was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of artistic fulfillment by being a Beatle. After signing the contract, Lennon announced privately to Klein, Paul and Ringo (George was in Cheshire, visiting his mother) that he had decided to quit the band. His announcement took everyone by surprise; Paul commented that the band should go out on tour anonymously, playing small clubs to get back the excitement of being a Beatle and the feeling of band unity. Lennon replied, "I think you’re daft. I want a divorce."

The band realized, of course, that they cannot go on without John. Thinking that he may change his mind, Klein and McCartney convinced John to delay his announcement for a few months. It would be an agreement that Paul will break in April 1970 by announcing his departure from the band.

For all intents and purposes, The Beatles were finished.

IMAGE: Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Allen Klein, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at Apple Records headquarters on September 20, 1969.




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