Sir Paul McCartney has admitted the rest of The Beatles didn’t “particularly like” John Lennon bringing Yoko Ono to the recording studio, but they were not “confrontational” enough to argue against it.
The 81-year-old musician has reflected on some of the group’s final recording sessions before they split in 1970, and he admitted his late bandmate’s insistence on going everywhere with his wife further fuelled tensions within the band because they resented the “interference” to the way they usually worked.
Speaking on his Life In Lyrics podcast, McCartney - who was also joined in the band by Sir Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison - reflected: “We were heading towards the break-up of the Beatles and it was a period of change because John and Yoko had got together, and that was bound to have an affect between the dynamics in the group.”
“Things like Yoko being in the middle of the recording session was something you had to deal with, and the idea was if John wanted this to happen, it should happen. And there’s no reason why not.”
When it was pointed out that there was a reason, because they had work to do, McCartney agreed and added: “Well, yes. Anything that disturbs us, is disturbing.”
“Out of deference to John, we would allow this and not make a fuss, and yet at the same time, I don’t think any of us particularly liked it - it was an interference in the workplace. We had a way we worked. The four of us worked with George Martin and an engineer. That was basically it, and we’d always done it like that.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon at the 17th annual Grammy Awards. Photo / Getty Images
“So not being very confrontational, we all just bottled it up and got on with it.”
McCartney admitted one of the reasons why they accepted the situation was because they were trying to keep the band together.
He added: “I mean, it was the idea of The Beatles and the straight practical thing of, this was our job, this is what we do in life. We were the Beatles. That meant if we didn’t tour, we recorded. And if we didn’t record, we wrote.”
The Hey Jude hitmaker had “gentlemanly” values instilled in him from a young age, which led to his dislike of confrontation.
He said: “We were encouraged to be good guys in our family, so if we were at a bus stop and there were women in the queue, my dad would raise his trilby [to say] ‘good morning’, and he’d encourage us to raise our school caps. He was that kind of polite, gentlemanly guy.
(From left): The Beatles' George Harrison, Sir Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Sir Paul McCartney.
“Even though they were working class, all my family, I think, were like that.
“I like that - it’s nice to be nice. I like courtesy, I value politeness and don’t particularly like confrontation. If it’s absolutely necessary then we’d do it, but all of us I think would try not to do that.”
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