Friday, December 28, 2012

Yoko Ono Reveals Why The Beatles Broke Up - Kind Of

A 1987 interview of Yoko Ono has been released by The Library Of Congress. In the interview with Joe Smith (seriously that is his name), Yoko says the Beatles were already kind of splitting before she even came along and that John, George and Ringo all wanted to split because they felt like they were becoming Paul's band and not The Beatles. Yoko also said that when the band did split that she and Lennon also almost split because he expected her to be the band and be those relationships he no longer had. I guess that is an answer, but I would have loved something more dramatic.

45 comments:

FSP said...

Wait a sec, Enty. You make fun of Joe Smith, but nothing on Norbert Leo Butz?

JSierra said...

Ok Yoko.

*karen* said...

Aww, FSP, it's not fair to make fun of poor Norbert. He's always the Butz of the jokes.

Ba-dum ching!

I'll see myself out now.

FSP said...

lol@*karen*

Jules_345 said...

Whatever Yoko. Although it is probably true, I just don't care for her. Bigger question is why this interview was just released?

phoenix said...

Huh, in other words, she said John was somewhat disappointed with her, (however unrealistic his expectations may have been). Her comments were unexpectedly self-effacing and honest at least.

Nutty_Flavor said...

This pretty much confirms what has been said in most Beatle books, including Bob Spitz's excellent volume. The general story is that Paul took over mostly because John was too stoned to function.

Sarah said...

Well the truth always depends on who is telling it anyway. I bet there is a different story for this from every band member.

ReesesPeace said...

While not a fan of Yoko's, I always felt she got a raw deal being labeled as the one who broke up The Beatles. Miss you, my idol, John!! <3

MISCH said...

I don't doubt the ego's were all conflicting...and Paul was with Linda and don't think for a minute she wasn't involved...

DBZee said...

I'm not a Beatles fan, but Paul strikes me as a complete tool.

(Ducks for cover)

Brenda L said...

LOL,I get the same vibe off of Paul. He was probably really cool as a young man, but I think fame changed him a lot. They HAD to break up, there was nowhere left for them to go but down.

SusanB said...

I get the same vibe off Paul also - his ego is waaaaay out of control. I loved the Beatles, though. And had a major crush on John. Yoko has about as much talent as my can of diet coke. But the Beatles were bound to break up - too many egos.

Diana G said...

I really don't have much to say except that I LOVE The Beatles! If you ever come to Vegas you have to see Beatles LOVE Cirque show - its amazing. ;-)

auntliddy said...

Just cant with yoko. I dont think she broke up the beatles, but i think her and john got very ridiculous together- releasing unintelligible press releases,etc. took the shine off the way i felt about john.

Angela said...

The interview has been released because Joe Smith died earlier this year and gave his collection of interview tapes to the Library of Congress. So far, only portions had been published, now it's the complete tape that people can listen to.

It's true that Lennon had been quite dysfunctional around 1967-1969 due to his heroin addiction. Add to this their manager's death and you have Paul McCartney assuming as many responsibilities as he could. And being insufferable for it, as he often is. Don't forget that McCartney was the guy who could record an entire track on his own, playing all the instruments. The others needed at least a drummer.

As many junkies do, Lennon needed something powerful and overwhelming to take over his life and get rid of drugs. His pick was Yoko. Let's say she was better than a cult.

Call me yndy... said...

Even since my father gave me Double Fantasy because I was at home sick when it came out? I shudder involuntarily when I read Yoko Ono.
But blame where blame was due... They ALL were having ego issues. How could they not? John was high and insolent and snarky. Paul was on a self-righteous control trip. George was still being petty because they wouldn't give home more than one song per side of any album. Ringo always felt under appreciated and sort of an outsider, due to the way he came in.

I love the Beatles. I will always love the Beatles. But much as she's repulsive to me, Yoko Ono didn't break them up. Fame, fortune, egos, and time did that well enough without her enabling John.

Robin the Mad Photographer said...

You know, I've always felt that Yoko got a raw deal from the Beatles fanbase (and in general). The band was going to break up at some point; it was just a matter of when, not if, because they simply weren't the same people they were in 1960--when you're married, have kids, have more life experience in general, your perspective and needs change a lot from when you were single and fancy free, and that's just the way life is. Yes, she and John could be plenty abrasive at that point in time, but in all fairness, so were lots of other people back then, and if John had been up to some of these stunts alone, I don't think he would have gotten half the crap that both of them together, or she in particular, got. In addition, I just have to laugh at the concept that she led him around by the nose or that he was totally "whipped"--based on everything I've read so far, John Lennon was very much his own man, and pretty much did what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it; she was definitely a considerable influence on him (as most spouses are on each other), but he would never have done even a fraction of what they did together had he not been willing in the first place--I don't see anyone telling him what to do, no matter how close they were to him.

A few years back, I saw an exhibition of her work at the MIT art galleries, and came away with a much better understanding and appreciation of both her as a person, and what she's tried to do over the years. Frankly, in terms of her artistic career, I think she would have ended up with a much better reputation as an artist, albeit not nearly as well-known. Being a creative person (or, really, anyone w/their own career, goals, etc.) associated with or married to somebody with any degree of fame is very much a double-edged sword--on the one hand, you get a hell of a lot more exposure than you ever would have on your own, but it comes at the price of being taken less seriously and of being subjected to a lot more attacks, personal and otherwise, than was previously the case. Yes, it opens doors, but what's waiting behind the door may not be anything good, and that's just the way it is. It seems to me that, to anyone who's ever really thought these issues over, you'd really have to love someone a hell of a lot in order to be willing to put up with all the crap you're going to get, and even then, it's not going to be easy, so the bond between you and your partner needs to be particularly strong and you need to be able to present a united front if your relationship is to have any chance of survival, much less be able to flourish and grow.

(At the risk of pissing off the usual suspects, whomever they may be, I have to say that I do believe both racism and sexism played a significant role in the sheer amount and intensity of the vitriol to which Yoko's been subjected over the years. Again, yes, she can be off-putting and abrasive at times, but men who behave far worse don't get a fraction of the crap that women have to put up with, and if you're a minority woman to boot, it only gets worse--and don't think for a minute that times have changed that much since 1969, because they haven't, not really, not when you dig below the surface a bit and see what kind of crawly things come slithering out...trust me on this one, OK?)

ReesesPeace said...

@Robin: Beautifully said and I totally agree! =)

hothotheat said...

HUGE Beatle fan here.

I also don't think Yoko had as much to do with their break up as has been believed for years.

I just finished watching Scorsese's doc about George. While he was pissed about not getting more than one song per album, he was also stiffled by the fame.

I think the same with John. He got to the point where all the earlier fame (and fan base) just wasn't where he wanted to be. Paul has always love the fame part of it but don't forget, as much money as he has, his kids went to public school, he flies commercial and doesn't do alot of other things someone with a huge ego would do. I think he was committed to the Beatles but wasn't getting the same from John and George.

I think Ringo was along for ride.....he did OK afterwards.

I can recommend the Living In The Material world (George Harrison doc) and also, US vs. John Lennon. Both are excellent views into what was going on with them though the latter focuses on the 1970's John Lennon.

Jazzy said...

Exactly.

Lurky Loo said...

UGH...to me Yoko is a huge narcissist and a big bully. In fact I think that is why John got with her, because she could act like a bigger bully than he was and he got into that.

While the Beatles were very ripe for a break up and it wasn't her "fault", Yoko was always angling to be relevant in either the art or music world. She can blather on all she wants, but me thinks she doth protest too much here

MISCH said...

John needed a strong woman and found that in Yoko...I like her and lets be honest he couldn't have been easy to live with...
And John was my favorite Beatle...

Peregrine White said...


As @hothotheat noted, the meandering Scorsese documentary on George Harrison provides some great insight into the slow dissolution of the Beatles. I thought it was noteworthy that Ringo credited Paul for making them go to work and made some records.

Among those records would be "Sgt. Pepper's"and "Abbey Road" - two superb collections, along with the "White Album" and "Hey Jude". That body of work is worth getting them together.

The reality is that they all were jealous and insecure. John worried to Yoko that his songs weren't as popular or melodic as Paul's. George wanted more songs. Ringo often felt to be the odd man out. Once Paul decided to stop pushing the Beatles together, it ended.

And, as for the idea that the Beatles had to end, I would respond by saying "Ladies and gentlemen, it's the Rolling Stones..."

Nothing is written.

ms snarky said...

Another excellent doc is John Lennon: The New York Years, done by the BBC, shown on PBS in the US.

hothotheat said...

@ms snarky Ooooh, thanks, I haven't heard of this one.

Jules_345 said...

Thanks @angela for the info on why it was released now!

Chilie said...

It should be noted that many art institutions and art schools regard Yoko Ono with respect for her body of work. Ontario College of Art (in Toronto) have her art as part of their curriculum.

I think she was unfairly blamed because she was an easy target. Easier to blame her than fans' beloved Paul, John, George & Ringo.

bonnie blue-blade said...

not buying it...

Lelaina Pierce said...

@Diana G, I agree, I just saw it this spring. I'm not much of a cirque person but the music made it for me. :)

Ingrid Superstar said...

Always blame the woman...

Lelaina Pierce said...

@RobinTMP, Thanks for this insight. I hadn't really thought of this before.

shopgirl said...

In the words of my favorite detective, Bobby Goren, "Yoko, no Yoko, John was on his way out."

Sherry said...

What Robin said..Dead spot on.

Sherry said...

And while we all loved and miss the Beatles let's remember all the wonderful music their solo careers brought to us.

astrogirl said...

I admire Yoko. She is a passionate, talented, and a great voice for women's rights.

Lioness70 said...

Longtime Beatle fan here. Even though I don't like Yoko, she didn't break them up. Like was said, it was almost impossible to contain four large egos, all with different artistic visions. They broke up at just the right time.

Lioness70 said...

p. s. I don't know if any of you ever read Tony Bramwell's book on the group. He never liked Yoko, saying she leeched onto John for the fame and money (she was broke and living off friends when they met), much like Heather Mills would do 30 years later.

We weren't there, so we can't say what anyone's true motivation was. But he really loathed her (and enjoyed Linda - said she never acted pushy and demanding like Yoko).

Lioness70 said...

^Heather Mills would do *to Paul* 30 years later.

Mango said...

A guy I know is a HUGE Beatles fan and even met his wife though some pen pan organization because they were both fans, and he told me that Paul desperately wanted the band to stay together, and John wanted out.

John went to an exhibit of Yoko's art in London and climbed a ladder and attached to a canvas on the ceiling was a magnifying glass on a string that magnified the tiny painted words, "YES". The quirky exhibit and the positive message charmed and seduced John.

Linda Eastman, quite the groupie, liked John initially but when she didn't click with him, "settled" for Paul and waited while he worked his way through a few girlfriends. Eventually he settled down with Linda and the rest is
history.

warmislandsun said...

I believe her. It makes sense, especially the needy John part.

Panda80 said...

This has been know for a while. They have all stated they grew apart and the hugeness of the band destroyed them. No one wanted to believe it and Yoko became the scapegoat, even though Paul and Linda never spent time apart either.

Regardless of your Yokopinion, she never sold out his legacy. She protected his children from the world and honored his artistry and the gifts he gave the world. Every decision the Beatles have needed her consent for; anthologies, song release, she has agrees to, because she knew it was what John would want.

There is a story about the night that Lorne Michales offered a check for like $1000 to have the Beatles come down to SNL an reunite. He announced it on the live show, this was the late 70s. Apparently Paul and Linda were visiting John and Yoko at the Dakota that night and saw it. They even joke about doing it. By then they had made up and were moving on.

Agent**It said...

"She protected his children from the world", correction, he took care of their only child, Sean, whom she wanted to abort. John agreed to be a house husband as he wanted this child. His first born, Julian, was in no way protected by her. Robin is dead on re the sexism then and now. Her art does not inspire me, but hey, I'm a Mona Lisa kind of gal. She is a really strong and independent woman and in that sense, inspiring to me.

Amartel said...

Yeah, Yoko doesn't have an axe to grind or a bias or anything so this isn't exactly definitive. Yoko did take a lot of shit for distracting Lennon, feeding his massive ego, convincing him he was better than the rest of the Beatles. But if Lennon was distracted, he certainly wasn't the only Beatle who got distracted from band stuff so blame shouldn't be laid at Yoko's feet. However, YOKO, throwing Paul under the bus for being the one who initiated the legal break up that everyone saw was coming is rather unfair. And not very original, either.

Amartel said...

"Linda Eastman, quite the groupie, liked John initially but when she didn't click with him, "settled" for Paul and waited while he worked his way through a few girlfriends. Eventually he settled down with Linda and the rest is
history."

Mango - other way around. Yoko, who always pretended not to know who the Beatles were, made a play for Paul first.