In an hour-long interview that will air on TV next month, Paul McCartney finally debunked the myth the Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles.
McCartney sat for a rare interview with David Frost, the legendary “Frost/ Nixon” interviewer and the man who conducted McCartney’s most famous interview on their ascent in 1964. 42 years after their breakup, McCartney tried to unburden Yoko Ono of the stigma that she was the wedge that broke the greatest rock band in history apart.
“She certainly didn’t break the group up, the group was breaking up,” he told Frost according to The Guardian. But he did say Yoko was instrumental in John finding a path that led him away from The Beatles, albeit one he probably would have found anyway: “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 [one way or another].”
He also praised Yoko’s influence on John’s musically inventive solo career: “I don’t think he would have done that without Yoko, so I don’t think you can blame her for anything.” Which is true—imagine a world without “Oh Yoko!”
He also did reiterate that he was annoyed about Yoko sitting in on The Beatles recording sessions toward the end of their career. But the person he really does blame for acting as a wedge between him and the other Beatles is business manager Allen Klein, for whom he still harbors enough hostility to throw a mock punch in the interview. (John also talks at length about Klein in his “Lennon Remembers” interview with Jaan Wenner.)
Let’s face it—the “Yoko broke up The Beatles” myth was always kind of sexist. We may still live in a world where “binders full of women” rolls effortlessly off the tongue at a presidential debate, but at least Paul is finally standing up for Yoko to set the record straight. In the words of a McCartney lyric, she’s had to carry that weight a long time.
The interview airs on David Frost’s TV show “Frost Over the World” on Al Jazeera English.