Fifty years after their separation, the Beatles, more popular than ever

Cinquante ans après leur séparation, les Beatles plus populaires que jamais

The Beatles at the time of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

10 April 2020 17: 14

Updated at 21: 45


Fifty years after their separation, the Beatles, more popular than ever

Joe Jackson

Agence France-Presse


LONDON — They have broken millions of hearts by separating, in the early 1970s: a half-century later, the Beatles have lost nothing of their popularity and still dominate the music scene pop.

April 10, 1970, that fateful day of the breakup: Paul McCartney announced indirectly that the “Fab Four” do not record anything more together.

“The Beatles are regarded as the most fabulous adventure of the Twentieth century, but nobody could have foreseen that a success already as extraordinary was going to continue in the next century”, told AFP Mark Lewisohn, historian of the group.

“50 years after they split, the Beatles remain never can be artistically, and challenge creators to push the boundaries,” stresses the author of The Beatles: All These Years.

On April 10, 1970 it is forever marked with a black stone for the fans of the group: on this day there appeared an interview with Paul in which he suggested that the Beatles were going to stop working all together, just before the release of his first solo album.

Without going so far as to proclaim clearly the end of the group, Paul, when asked about the resumption of his collaboration with no other than the legendary John Lennon in the foreseeable future, answered curtly “no”.

“McCartney breaks off with Beatles,” ran a headline when the New York Times.

The dissolution of their business relationships a bit later before a british court concluded definitively the end of the group.


The divorce left fans inconsolable, ” recalls Philip Norman, author of the official biography of Paul McCartney launched in 2016.

“A whole generation had grown up with the Beatles… They had the right to a new album of the Beatles at each stage of their lives,” he stressed. A lot of people thought, this is awful! it is ugly to live without them. It was a really overwhelming feeling.”

Decades later, they remain the top-selling artists of all time, with a catalog of the ever popular, of I Want to Hold Your Hand and Hey Jude to Yesterday or Let It Be.

“They are everywhere,” stresses Norman. In the current language, in the media headlines… we quote non-stop and we still play their music (…) The charm is indestructible.”


At the end of the years 60, the group of Liverpool — Lennon, McCartney, drummer Ringo Starr and guitarist George Harrison — were such a success that it had become “more famous than Jesus Christ”, in the words of Lennon.

A Beatlemania heavy: in an interview recently unearthed, Lennon explained that the song Help! (Help!) composed in 1965, was to be taken in a literal sense.

“I was singing “the help” and it was really to ask for it, ” he said. No way to disconnect it, it was on 24 hours a day, and everybody wanted a piece of you.”

The tensions within the group, especially between Lennon and McCartney, they finally destroy it.

At the time of the announcement of McCartney, they had not given live concert for the past four years. Starr and Harrison had already released a solo album, Lennon and his wife, japanese artist Yoko Ono, had formed the Plastic Ono Band.

McCartney he created with Wings, with his wife Linda, at the end of 1971.

All pursued a solo career with success, but Lennon and Ono devoted themselves increasingly to the activism pacifist.

“Talent” giant

They nearly reform in the mid-1970s, but butèrent on issues of rights, according to Norman.

In 1980, it is the drama: Lennon is assassinated outside his home in New York by a person in quest of celebrity.

In an interview in 2016, McCartney was pleased to be reconciled with him.

In 1982, he wrote Here Today, the song that was meant to be a message of love for Lennon, ” he explained.

The two men were the driving force of the group.

“Lennon and McCartney were giants, and they have produced together something magical,” stresses Norman.

For Lewisohn, the Beatles are always of the batch in the current pop, because “there is a world between celebrities and transient … and the true artists like the Beatles whose creative talent nurtures the spirit and inspires joy”.



A sheet of paper on which Paul McCartney had blacked out, by hand, the words of the famous song Hey Jude has been sold for 910 000 dollars at auction, marking Friday, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles ‘ separation.

It is more than five times the amount estimated in the upstream of the sales organised online, coronavirus requires, by the house california-based Julien’s Auctions.

Guitars, rare vinyl, items signed… Roughly 250 lots related to the legendary british group were offered to fans and collectors around the world, 50 years to the day after his separation.

Paul McCartney wrote Hey Jude after another break: that of his sidekick John Lennon with his first wife Cynthia, following his infidelities with the japanese artist Yoko Ono.

The song, intended to comfort the son of John Lennon, Julian, during his parents ‘ divorce, was originally titled Hey Jules.

Among the other big sales of the day: the skin of a bass drum drum with the logo of the Beatles, and used during the first american tour of the group in 1964, which fetched $ 200,000.

A handwritten page of the timeline of the movie clip of the song Hello, Goodbye” (1967) is it part 83 200 dollars, and an ashtray used by the beatles drummer Ringo Starr at the studios at Abbey Road in the 1960s to 32 500 dollars. AFP

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