Fans were devastated in April 1970 when the Beatles announced they were splitting up. In fact, the band had been falling apart for the previous few years. In an extraordinarily frank and unvarnished interview, Lennon opened up about why they were all better off solo. In fact, he did not believe there was any value in them making music together. For the remaining ten years of his life, the musician remained true to his convictions that he could see “no reason” why they should ever reunite.
The interview was given to Daily Express entertainment journalist David Wigg in October 1971.
Asked about hopes for a reunion, Lennon said: “I can’t see…There’s no reason why we should ever play together.”
He blamed the restrictive structure of being in the band and the pressure to conform to what the record label and fans wanted. Lennon said: ” Listen to the music. Would George have ever flourished like that if we’d carried on with the group? No chance. There was no room.”
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“It’s far better music because we’re not supressed. In the Beatles, by the time the Beatles were at their peak we were cutting each other down to size. We were limiting our capacity to write and perform by fitting it into some kind of format and that’s why it caused trouble…”
Lennon was ofter rather dismissive of some of the Beatles material. Towards the end of the group he also implied McCartney’s compositions were rather lightweight.
He said; “I told everyone years ago ‘I’m not going to be singing ‘She Loves You’ when I’m thirty. I was thirty last year and it was then when I broke the band up, or I decided to leave.”
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I don’t know when they decided it, or whatever… That’s when it happened.
“I knew I wouldn’t be doing the same thing. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s like a rugby team. Sometimes you just have to get married and leave the boys on a Saturday night. That’s just how it is.”
Lennon bluntly admitted the problems had started years before that.
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Lennon said: “The Beatles were disintegrating slowly after (the band’s manager) Brian Epstein died (in 1967).
‘It was a slow death. It was evident in Let It Be (early 1969). It was evident in India when George and I stayed there and Paul and Ringo left. And it was evident on The White Album (1968).”
The White Album was released as The Beatles and widely acknowledged to be like “four solo albums” with little overlap between the work of the band members. Starr also briefly left the band during recording.
Lennon added: “I couldn’t say no categorically on the Bible or a grapefruit, ‘I swear we’d never play together under any circumstances.’
“I have no idea. But personally I don’t see any reason to form that group again. Paul has his new band, I have a new band, no doubt George will have a band and Ringo will have a band.”
Lennon had formed the Plastic Ono Band with Yoko Ono and McCartney released a smash hit solo album in 1970 before forming the band Wings in 1971.
The other three reunited after his death but Lennon never shared a stage or studio again with all his former bandmates.