The last time the Beatles ever recorded together was September 18, 1969. Two days later, John Lennon told his band mates he was leaving. But in public, it was still business as usual. The album Abbey Road was released on September 26 and the Fab Four still had to keep up the pretence for months afterwards, with the album Let It Be not due for release until May 8, 1970. However, Paul McCartney broke ranks and made a public statement that he was no longer with the band on April 10.
As well as musical differences and tensions rooted in their personal relationships (especially between the wives of Paul and John, Linda and Yoko) there were also major financial and legal disputes which dragged out the band’s dissolution until December 29.
However, some of the band members had already started working happily with each other from – except one.
Former 1960s pop star Klaus Vormann from Manfred Mann was a contemporary and friend of some of the Beatles. He and Ringo Starr worked together on John’s 1970 debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
In a new interview this week, Voormann has described the messy truth of what happened during The Beatles’ split.
Voormann said: “I was in the Manfred Mann band. We disbanded at almost exactly the same time as The Beatles disbanded. I started playing for John and Ringo and George. Between those three there was no problem.”
While there had long been disputes between various members of the band, Voormann’s comments back up the frequent reports that it was Paul’s behaviour in recording sessions and regarding the band’s financial arrangements that caused a major problem.
In 2001 George Harrison said: “At that point in time, Paul couldn’t see beyond himself. He was on a roll, but … in his mind, everything that was going on around him was just there to accompany him.
“He wasn’t sensitive to stepping on other people’s egos or feelings.”
At the time George wrote the song Wah Wah to express his view of the band: “You’re giving me a bloody headache.”
In a new interview with Uncut magazine, Voorman added: “There were a lot of times when George might say, ‘Paul is really pi**ing me off!’ It was really heavy, what was going on. It felt like someone knifing someone else in the back.
“They really had hard feelings towards one another – some very dirty washing being done. It was legal s**t that had to be taken care of, nothing to do with the actual personalities.”
The band’s business company Apple Corps had been facing financial and administrative chaos and Paul refused to join the other three in handing control of their affairs to Allen Klein. He signed with Linda’s father, Lee Eastman, instead.
It should always be remembered that the tensions ran in all directions. Voormann added: “They were four people who had gone separate ways, they didn’t like the same things.”
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George later said: “John and Yoko were out on a limb. I don’t think he wanted much to be hanging out with us, and I think Yoko was pushing him out of the band, inasmuch as she didn’t want him hanging out with us.”
On January 10, 1969, Harrison walked out of the explosive recording session for the album Let It Be.
He said: “Ringo had left at one point. I know John wanted out. It was a very, very difficult, stressful time… I got up and I thought, ‘I’m not doing this any more. I’m out of here.’
“It became stifling, so that although this new album was supposed to break away from that type of recording (we were going back to playing live) it was still very much that kind of situation where he already had in his mind what he wanted. Paul wanted nobody to play on his songs until he decided how it should go. For me it was like: ‘What am I doing here? This is painful!'”
George was popularly perceived as the least assertive, ‘mellow’ member of the band, but Voormann says there was another side to him.
He said: “People would say he was The Quiet One, which was so silly. He wasn’t quiet at all, he could be very direct. He could be very biting, very sarcastic.
“He could really tell people off, too, if he wanted. Lots of things could wind him up. If someone in the garden planted the tree in the wrong place, he could be very hard. Or if someone came up with a $100 bill and said, ‘Sign it for me’, he’d say, ‘P**s off, you a***hole!'”
Published at Sat, 22 May 2021 18:11:00 +0000