It sometimes still makes me mad how poorly Paul was treated directly before, during, and for a while after the big Breakup.
None of these boys were saints, obviously–there were a bunch of unresolved issues, perfect familiarity starting to breed contempt, outside influences starting to put pressure on them (cough Yoko cough), and ego is undeniable–but I always have hated how much Paul got the brunt of the anger and how the other 3 banded together against him.
Especially when you consider the fact that Paul was right. The other 3 blamed him for pushing too hard, for wanting a different lawyer, for not wanting Spector anywhere near their stuff, for holding out, and for being the one who eventually dropped the news.
I’m pretty sure the break-up would have happened no matter what–Yoko had her claws deep in John by this point, they’d all been together a long time, there were tensions and they were exhausted–but I also sort of believe that had they listened to Paul (and maybe if he had backed off just a tad bit), had they tried to keep things together instead of ostracizing one for not agreeing with the others, maybe there could have been another Beatles album in the future. Maybe things could have been resolved a little bit more kindly. Maybe there would have been time–after a cooling off period wherein the band actually operated as a “4 sides of a square” group–for John and Paul to finally TALK, for them to set aside some of their major beefs and differences, for each Beatle to try their hand at a solo career, and then they could have come back and continued work together as The Beatles.
But that didn’t happen. It went down the way it went down, and history shows that Paul was right. The legal mess could have been avoided had they decided to go with a different firm, Spector was a terrible person and most of his producing work does not sound as good as what the Beatles + George Martin had ever done. Also, I can’t blame him for not wanting to be all in to the LSD craze or being genuinely concerned about John’s Yoko-influenced heroin addiction. Paul was not perfect. He had his ego, he had his ‘my way or the highway’ attitude, but it has always seemed unfair to me that the others banded against him so viciously.
It is also the height of men-who’ve-known-each-other-since-teenhood pettiness that one of the biggest things that pushed the Beatles into an “us vs Paul” mentality was the fact that Paul was the one who finally dropped the official news–AFTER he’d been voted down on everything and his music had been corrupted without his permission or knowledge. I’m pretty sure John’s mentality was that he’d left the band first, why does PAUL get the credit?
But then even after they’re broken up, even while George is experiencing great solo success and John has his precious Yoko, they still have so much bitter animosity towards Paul. George, John, and even Ringo collaborate on post-Beatles records–but Paul is not invited. John and George create caustic, unkind lyrics for songs, trash his music in the press, speak bitterly of him in personal contexts. Even Ringo has his turn, in things like ‘After 1970′ saying that he “doesn’t know” if Paul would play with him, but knows the other 2 will.
I guess it just kills me because John was the one who created most of this discord. He was the one who started bristling at the fact that Paul was taking control of the band cos he was too deep in his Yoko/heroin addiction. He probably definitely encouraged some of George’s minor ‘anti-Paul’ thoughts, and he was absolutely the ringleader when the 3 decided to go with a different lawyer, a different producer, etc etc. In any case, it was John who created the tension, who caused the bad feelings–but it’s Paul who gets ostracized. It’s Paul who gets the blame for causing the breakup, for being against the others, for holding out on what the rest of the group wants.
And all Paul really wanted was to keep creating music. Keep working with his best friends, keep pushing The Beatle ingenuity forward. We’ll never know if he could have been successful, we’ll never know if the Beatles creativity could have gone any further, if they could’ve kept things together without them exploding eventually. But I think it’s a shame they never got a chance to try.
To me, it’s really not fair that Paul, who had kept them together after losing Brian, is the one who ends up losing his passion project. Yes, he went on to work his tail off to keep his career going, founded Wings and all that, and–for the most part–kept his nose clean of all the mud-flinging, but still bears the brunt of Beatle-breakup crap.
It just seems like rubbing salt in the wound.