Paul McCartney Explains Why He Sued His Fellow Beatles


Paul McCartney says he sued The Beatles in 1970 only to keep its music out of the hands of record executive Allen Klein.

McCartney was the only one of the Fab Four who, in 1969, refused to sign a contract employing Klein as the band’s business manager.

The Beatles called it quits within months of Klein taking the job and McCartney sought to be released from his partnership with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

“The only way for me to save The Beatles and [record label] Apple … was to sue the band,” McCartney told British GQ. “If I hadn’t done that, it would have all belonged to Allen Klein. The only way I was given to get us out of that was to do what I did.

“I said, ‘Well, I’ll sue Allen Klein,’ and I was told I couldn’t because he wasn’t party to it. ‘You’ve got to sue The Beatles.’”

McCartney, 78, said deciding to take legal action against Lennon, Harrison and Starr was not easy but, he said, “there was no way I was going to work that hard for all my life and see it all vanish in a puff of smoke.

“I also knew that, if I managed to save it, I would be saving it for them [the rest of The Beatles] too. Because they were about to give it away. They loved this guy Klein. And I was saying, “He’s a f**king idiot."

A judge eventually ruled in McCartney’s favour.

McCartney recalled that fans blamed him for breaking up The Beatles. "I think I was thought to be the guy who broke The Beatles up and the bastard who sued his mates," he said.

In the candid British GQ interview, McCartney reflected on the difficulties within the band. "There was a misconception that we all sort of hated each other. What I realise now is that, because it was a family, because it was a gang, families argue. And families have disputes. And some people want to do this and some people want to do that."

McCartney remains close with Starr and said he was in touch with Lennon right up until his death in 1980. "I was very lucky in that respect," he said. "We settled our family squabble and I was able to see him and to speak to him on a number of occasions, so we were friends till the end."

Artist Radio

Listen to music from Paul McCartney & The Beatles