Friday, November 9, 2012

The biggest Beatles non-story in a while

I'm late to this (non)news bit, but I want to comment anyway.
In an interview with David Frost that will air later today on Al Jazeera English, Paul made it clear that he doesn't hold Yoko responsible for The Beatles' split. Reiterating a fact that should be pretty obvious, Paul stated, "She certainly didn't break the group up. The group was breaking up." Translation: The Beatles broke up The Beatles. History agrees. Yes, John was the driving force; and yes, he was married to Yoko - an arrangement that by no means helped the band stay together - but ultimately the seed of The Beatles' demise came from within the group. Outside factors, like Brian Epstein's death, the Apple debacle, Yoko, Allen Klein, etc., simply fueled the inevitable.
Even if some of the finer details are lost on casual fans, the silliness of the Yoko myth should still be easy to grasp, which is partly why I called Paul's remark a "non-story." The other reason I did so is this: what else would you expect him to say? Consider the matter from Paul's perspective. He has an image to maintain and a legacy to protect. Paul is the cute and smiley Beatle. He's Mr. Silly Love Songs. He's the ne plus ultra of youthful and buoyant 70 year-old rock 'n' roll legends. His brand is all about love and good will and the joy of music. The point is, he knows he could harm his reputation by engaging in a public skirmish with Yoko. He would come off as a bitter and resentful old man, that cheery disposition just a facade concealing pent-up ill-will. There's also the small matter of business dealings related to The Beatles. It's an industry unto itself, and it requires the cooperation of the four estates. As the legal caretaker of John's legacy, Yoko is in a position to undermine any efforts on that front. If Paul believed that Yoko was the guilty party (which I don't think he does) or if he harbored some bad blood toward her (which, to one degree or another, seems likely), wouldn't it still be best for him to let sleeping dogs lie? Paul said what he said because it's the truth and because he doesn't have much of a choice.

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