Paul McCartney says suing The Beatles was the “only way” to save their music

"I also knew that, if I managed to save it, I would be saving it for them"

Paul McCartney has opened up about the time he sued The Beatles in order to “save” their music and company, Apple.

In a new interview with GQ, McCartney elaborated on what he described as one of the biggest “misconceptions” of The Beatles split saying that he had no option but to sue the band in order to protect their music.

McCartney officially announced his departure from the band in April 1970 and later that year, filed a law suit which called for the group’s formal dissolution.


After years of further legal battles, he eventually won the rights to the band’s music from EMI and music publisher Allen Klein. Klein took over The Beatles business affairs in 1969, following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein.

“Because I had to do that, I think I was thought to be the guy who broke The Beatles up and the bastard who sued his mates,” McCartney told GQ.

“The only way for me to save The Beatles and Apple – and to release Get Back by Peter Jackson and which allowed us to release Anthology and all these great remasters of all the great Beatles records – was to sue the band,” McCartney added.

The Beatles
The Beatles in 1967 CREDIT: Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

He also revealed that if he hadn’t have taken such action, The Beatles would have lost the rights to their music.

McCartney continued: “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.’


“…As you can imagine, that was horrendous and it gave me some terrible times. I drank way too much and did too much of everything. And it was crazy, but I knew that was the only thing to do, because there was no way I was going to save it for me, because 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 too. Because they were about to give it away. They loved this guy Klein. And I was saying, ‘He’s a fucking idiot.'”

McCartney said the dispute led to one of the biggest “misconceptions” of The Beatles’ split. “I suppose that when The Beatles broke up, perhaps 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,” he added.

Last week, McCartney released a previously unheard, acoustic version of ‘Calico Skies’.

The original ‘Calico Skies’ featured on McCartney’s 1997 album ‘Flaming Pie’ – his second-highest-charting album of the last 25 years.

The ‘Calico Skies [‘In The World Tonight’ Campfire Acoustic]’ version features on a new boxset containing unreleased demos, outtakes, and rehearsal tapes from the album’s recording sessions. Also containing a newly remastered version of the album, the boxset was released last week (July 31).