50 years ago today (April 10, 2020), the world learned that the biggest band in history had broken up. There was no grand goodbye or iconic swan song, just a press release in which the Beatles’ end was unceremoniously buried while promoting Paul McCartney’s debut solo album.

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According to McCartney, the Beatles had broken up months before the press release was sent out. The Beatles icon only sent it out as a way to avoid interviews, providing a long list of Q&A topics McCartney was asked by manager Allen Klein.

“The world reaction was like ‘The Beatles Have Broken Up – It’s Official’ – we’d known it for months,” McCartney recalled. “So that was that, really. I think it was the press who misunderstood. The record had come with this weird explanation on a questionnaire of what I was doing. It was actually only for them. I think a few people thought it was some weird move of me to get publicity, but it was really to avoid having to do the press.” [via Beatles Bible]

The news also predated the release of the Beatles’ final studio album, Let It Be, by a month. In McCartney’s press release, which can be read in full below, you can see him refer to the album by its working title, Get Back.

Following two dozen questions about the McCartney record and arbitrary queries on everything from artwork to who played what instrument, the earth-moving questions were asked:

Q: Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?
A: No.

Q: Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?
A: Time will tell. Being a solo album means it’s “the start of a solo career…” and not being done with the Beatles means it’s just a rest. So it’s both.

Q: Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?
A: Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don’t really know.

Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
A: No.

And on April 10, 1970, the world rang its death knell for the Fab Four. Of course, each Beatle went on to establish a successful solo career, each being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame individually, along with the Beatles.

Read the full McCartney press release below and relive a moment which changed the world forever.

Q: Why did you decide to make a solo album?
A: Because I got a Studer four-track recording machine at home – practiced on it (playing all instruments) – liked the results, and decided to make it into an album.

Q: Were you influenced by John’s adventures with the Plastic Ono Band, and Ringo’s solo LP?
A: Sort of, but not really.

Q: Are all songs by Paul McCartney alone?
A: Yes sir.

Q: Will they be so credited: McCartney?
A: It’s a bit daft for them to be Lennon/McCartney credited, so “McCartney” it is.

Q: Did you enjoy working as a solo?
A: Very much. I only had me to ask for a decision, and I agreed with me. Remember Linda’s on it too, so it’s really a double act.

Q: What is Linda’s contribution?
A: Strictly speaking she harmonizes, but of course it’s more than that because she’s a shoulder to lean on, a second opinion, and a photographer of renown. More than all this, she believes in me – constantly.

Q: Where was the album recorded?
A: At home, at EMI (no. 2 studio) and at Morgan Studios (Willesden!)

Q: What is your home equipment (in some detail)?
A: Studer four-track machine. I only had, however, one mike, and as Mr Pender, Mr Sweatenham and others only managed to take six months or so (slight delay) I worked without VU meters or a mixer, which meant that everything had to be listened to first (for distortion etc…) then recorded. So the answer – Studer, one mike, and nerve.

Q: Why did you choose to work in the studios you chose?
A: They were available. EMI is technically very good and Morgan is cozy.

Q: The album was not known about until it was nearly completed. Was this deliberate?
A: Yes, because normally an album is old before it even comes out. (aside) Witness GET BACK.

Q: Why?
A: I’ve always wanted to buy a Beatles album like people do and be as surprised as they must be. So this was the next best thing. Linda and I are the only two who will be sick of it by the release date. We love it really.

Q: Are you able to describe the texture or the feel of the album in a few words?
A: Home, family, love.

Q: How long did it take to complete?
A: From just before (I think) Xmas, until now. THE LOVELY LINDA was the first thing I recorded at home, and was originally to test the equipment. That was around Xmas.

Q: Assuming all the songs are new to the public, how new are they to you? Are they recent
A: One was from 1959 (HOT AS SUN). Two are from India – JUNK and TEDDY BOY, and the rest are pretty recent. VALENTINE DAYMOMMA MISS AMERICA and OO YOU were ad-libbed on the spot.

Q: Which instruments have you played on the album?
A: Bass, drums, acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano and organ-mellotron, toy xylophone, bow and arrow.

Q: Have you played all these instruments on earlier recordings?
A: Yes, drums being the one that I normally wouldn’t do.

Q: Why did you do all the instruments yourself?
A: I think I’m pretty good.

Q: Will Linda be heard on all future records?
A: Could be. We love singing together and have plenty of opportunity for practice.

Q: Will Paul and Linda become a John and Yoko?
A: No, they will become Paul and Linda.

Q: What has recording alone taught you?
A: That to make your own decisions about what you do is easy, and playing with yourself is very difficult, but satisfying.

Q: Who has done the artwork?
A: Linda has taken all the photos, and she and I designed the package.

Q: Is it true that neither Allen Klein nor ABKCO have been nor will be in any way involved with the production, manufacturing, distribution or promotion of this new album?
A: Not if I can help it.

Q: Did you miss the other Beatles and George Martin? Was there a moment when you thought, ‘I wish Ringo were here for this break?’
A: No.

Q: Assuming this is a very big hit album, will you do another?
A: Even if it isn’t, I will continue to do what I want, when I want to.

Q: Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?
A: No.

Q: Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?
A: Time will tell. Being a solo album means it’s “the start of a solo career…” and not being done with the Beatles means it’s just a rest. So it’s both.

Q: Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?
A: Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don’t really know.

Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
A: No.

Q: What do you feel about John’s peace effort? The Plastic Ono Band? Giving back the MBE? Yoko’s influence? Yoko?
A: I love John, and respect what he does – it doesn’t really give me any pleasure.

Q: Were any of the songs on the album originally written with the Beatles in mind?
A: The older ones were. JUNK was intended for ABBEY ROAD, but something happened. TEDDY BOY was for GET BACK, but something happened.

Q: Were you pleased with ABBEY ROAD? Was it musically restricting?
A: It was a good album. (No. 1 for a long time.)

Q: What is your relationship with Klein?
A: It isn’t. I am not in contact with him, and he does not represent me in ANY way.

Q: What is your relationship with Apple?
A: It is the office of a company which I part own with the other three Beatles. I don’t go there because I don’t like offices or business, especially when I am on holiday.

Q: Have you any plans to set up an independent production company?
A: McCartney Productions.

Q: What sort of music has influenced you on this album?
A: Light and loose.

Q: Are you writing more prolifically now? Or less so?
A: About the same. I have a queue waiting to be recorded.

Q: What are your plans now? A holiday? A musical? A movie? Retirement?
A: My only plan is to grow up!

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