September 20th 1969 – John tells the others ‘I’m Leaving the Beatles!

On September 20th 1969, the Beatles held a meeting in the boardroom of Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row. The meeting was called to sign a new contract with EMI/Capital that Allen Klein had negotiated. Even though Paul McCartney hated Klein, he was happy to sign the new improved contract.

Things came to a head when the Beatles started talking about their plans for the future. Paul McCartney thought they should go back to basics, and go back to playing in small clubs and pubs. As Paul said said in the Beatles Anthology book:  “I’d said ‘I think we should go back to little gigs – I really think we’re a great little band. We should find our basic roots, and then who knows what will happen? We may want to fold after that, or we may really think we’ve still got it.’ John looked at me in the eye and said: ‘Well, I think you’re daft. I wasn’t going to tell you till we signed the Capitol deal’ – Klein was trying to get us to sign a new deal with the record company – ‘but I’m leaving the group!’ We paled visibly and our jaws slackened a bit.”

Everyone knew at that point the the dream was over. Even though both Ringo and George had walked about before, and came back, everyone knew that John wouldn’t change his mind. However, John was persuaded not to make his departure public, as deals were still being done.

After the meeting, Paul went up to his farm in Scotland with Linda, who was heavily pregnant with Mary, and hardly went to 3 Savile Row again. His absence was part of the reason the ‘Paul is dead’ rumour grew so quickly.

In the end Paul announced he was leaving the Beatles on April 10th 1970. As John remarked at the time, there was no Beatles to leave.

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