In the early 1970s, The Beatles were about to break up for good. Their thirteenth and final album, Let It Be, was only weeks away from being released, but there was a big problem. Paul McCartney had arranged to release his, McCartney’s debut album, a few weeks earlier, on April 17. As a result, the management of the Fab Four’s record label, Apple, was furious. So Ringo Starr was sent in to solve the problem.
McCartney later recalled that Starr arrived at his farm only weeks before the albums hit store shelves. But despite being extremely close to the band’s drummer, he brutally lashed out at his friend.
McCartney said: “Ringo came to see me. I think he was sent, being nice, the nice guy, the others, because of the dispute. So Ringo came to the house and I must say I gave him a bit of a verbal one.”
Starr reportedly tried to reason with McCartney. He said, “No, well, on behalf of the board and on behalf of The Beatles and such and such, we think you should do this.”
The Hey Jude singer didn’t take his friend’s heavy-handed hand lightly, however.
McCartney raged: “You guys are just fooling me!” He recalled, “I was sick of it. It was the only time I ever told anybody to GET OUT! It was pretty hostile. But things had gotten that way at the time.”
He added that things were close to getting physical between the couple. He said: “It hadn’t really come to blows, but it was close enough.”
However, McCartney did show some remorse that it was Starr who bore his wrath on that particular day.
McCartney said: “Unfortunately, it was Ringo. I mean, he was probably the least guilty of all, but he was the scapegoat they sent to ask me to change the date, and he probably thought, ‘Well, Paul will do it,’ but he met to a different character because now I was definitely boycotting Apple.”
Starr himself later reflected on the intense encounter between the former bandmates. He said: “I went to see Paul. To my dismay, he completely got out of control, yelling at me, putting his fingers in my face and saying, ‘I’ll finish you now’ and ‘you’ll pay’.” He told me to put on my coat and go outside. I did it like that”.
Ten days later, on April 10, 1970, The Beatles announced their separation. And McCartney also got away with it; The band’s latest album, Let It Be, has been pushed back to May 8.
Starr recalled the powerful altercation while writing his solo song, Early 1970.
Starr’s song takes aim at McCartney almost instantly, attacking the star’s comfortable life.
The drummer sang viciously: “He lives on a farm, he’s got a lot of charm, beep, beep / He ain’t got no cows, but he sure has a lot of sheep / A new wife and a family / And when he gets to town, I wonder if will play with me.”
However, not all mentions of McCartney in the song were spiteful. He went on to say, “And when he comes to town, I know he’s going to play me/ ‘Cause he’s always in town playing for you with me.”
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