Few bands can make a career last a lifetime. Sure, acts such as U2 and the Rolling Stones have stuck together through thick and thin.
But too often internal and external pressures combine to pry musical mavericks apart. Indeed, long-time Beatles fans thought that that the Fab Four’s history was long since sealed — until July 13.
Rolling Stone documented the various reasons why the world’s most famous band eventually split up. One issue was the turmoil surrounding a 1969 live show, the first time they were set to perform in roughly three years.
Paul McCartney recalled that none of the band’s other three members seemed particularly interested in rehearsing. “I don’t see why any of you, if you’re not interested, got yourselves into this,” he told them.
“Why are you here? I’m here because I want to do a show, but I don’t see an awful lot of support.”
Other tensions famously included the creative intrusions of John Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono, intrusions that riled McCartney. Tensions simmered and then openly flared.
By 1970, none of the Beatles were working together. In fact, they’d all begun solo projects.
According to ABC News, McCartney would later blame changes in managers and business practices. “The business thing split us apart,” he said.
The assassination of John Lennon and the death of George Harrison due to lung cancer seemed to forever close the book on the Beatles. However, Billboard reported that fans enjoyed a special treat during the final McCartney show in support of his Freshen Up world tour.
“We’ve got a surprise for us, a surprise for you, a surprise for everyone,” McCartney announced. “Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only, Ringo Starr!”
The sold-out crowd erupted into thunderous applause. Even before McCartney got the name of his famous guest out, some began yelling, “Ringo!”
McCartney embraced his old bandmate in a side hug. “Are you ready to rock?” he asked.
“I’m ready to rock,” Starr replied. “Peace and love, everybody.”
Starr then moved to take the drums, his signature instrument. “I love you, man,” McCartney said as he took his position.
The surprise guest wasn’t the only (pardon the pun) star-studded guest to play that night. Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh also took the stage. He joined in on the song “The End.”
“The best part is we didn’t have a clue what we were doing,” McCartney said. But Starr knew exactly how to wow the crowd with renditions of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” and “Helter Skelter.”
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