Paul McCartney receives a letter from John Lennon and George Harrison confirming the delay of his album

Tuesday, March 31, 1970
Timeline More from year 1970
Cavendish Avenue, St. John's Wood, UK

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On March 25, 1970, Paul McCartney found out the release date for his debut solo album, “McCartney“, agreed by Neil Aspinall, had been changed. He was extremely upset about this decision.

Apple was planning to release The Beatles’ final album, “Let It Be“, on April 24, 1970, and push back the release of “McCartney” from April 17 to June 4. The release of “Let It Be” had been brought forward by Allen Klein, to coincide with the premiere of the eponym film.

John Lennon and George Harrison, as directors of Apple Corps, wrote a letter to Paul confirming the plan to postpone the release and explaining the rationale behind this decision. The letter was sealed in an envelope marked “From Us, To You” and left at Apple’s reception for a messenger to deliver to Paul. But Ringo Starr decided it was preferable to bring it in person.

On this day, March 31, Ringo visited Paul at his London home, to deliver the letter. But Paul was in no mood to accept this decision and reacted angrily toward Ringo.

Dear Paul,

We thought a lot about yours and the Beatles LPs – and decided it’s stupid for Apple to put out two big albums within 7 days of each other (also there’s Ringo’s and Hey Jude) – so we sent a letter to EMI telling them to hold your release date til June 4th (there’s a big Apple-Capitol convention in Hawaii then).

We thought you’d come round when you realized that the Beatles album was coming out on April 24th.

We’re sorry it turned out like this – it’s nothing personal.


John & George.

Hare Krishna.

A Mantra a Day Keeps MAYA Away.

I went to see Paul. To my dismay, he went completely out of control, shouting at me, prodding his fingers towards my face, saying: ‘I’ll finish you now’ and ‘You’ll pay.’ He told me to put my coat on and get out. I did so.

Ringo Starr – From his affidavit for the hearings to end the Beatles’ partnership, 1971

[John Lennon and George Harrison] didn’t send me round. They, as directors of the company, wrote a letter to him, and I didn’t think it was fair that some office lad should take something like that around. I was talking to the office, and they were telling me what was going on, and I said, ‘Send it up, I’ll take it round’. I couldn’t fear him then. But he got angry, because we were asking him to hold his album back and the album was very important to him. He shouted and pointed at me. He told me to get out of his house. He was crazy; he went crazy. He was out of control, prodding his finger towards my face. He told me to put my coat on and get out. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I had just brought the letter. I said, ‘I agree with everything that’s in the letter’, because we tried to work it like a company, not as individuals. I put my album [Sentimental Journey] out two weeks before, which makes me seem like such a good guy, but it wasn’t really, because I needed to put it out before Paul’s album, else it would have slayed me!

Ringo Starr – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

We thought it was unfair even though it was Paul’s first new album, that was alright, we weren’t against him puttin’ an album out. I mean I’d done it. And I didn’t think it was any different, except for Paul sang, and mine happened to be Toronto because that happened to happen. […] there was nothing against Paul having an album out. There was an atmosphere about Eastman and Klein, but it’s alright. It’s business, we all profit from it. But we didn’t want to put it out against “Let It Be”, it would have killed the sales. It’s like in the old days we used to watch, if the Stones were coming out, we’d ask Brian, “Who’s coming out?” You know? And he’d tell us who’s coming out shortly, and we’d say, “Well, we’ll put it out now.” We could always beat everyone, but what’s the point of losing sales to somebody else? We’d time it! Mick timed it! We never came out together.

John Lennon – From “Lennon Remembers” by Jann Wenner, 1971

Strictly speaking we all have to ask each other’s permission before any of us does anything without the other three. My own record nearly didn’t come out because Klein and some of the others thought it would be too near to the date of the next Beatles album. I had to get George, who’s a director of Apple, to authorise its release for me.

‘Give us our freedom which we so richly deserve. We’re beginning now to only call each other when we have bad news. The other day Ringo came around to see me with a letter from the others, and I called him everything under the sun. But it’s all business. I don’t want to fall out with Ringo. I like Ringo. I think he’s great. We’re all talking about peace and love, but really we’re not feeling peaceful at all.

‘There’s no one who’s to blame. We were fools to get ourselves into this situation in the first place. But it’s not a comfortable situation for me to work in as an artist.’

Paul McCartney – From interview with Evening Standard, April 1970

They eventually sent Ringo round to my house at Cavendish with a message: ‘We want you to put your release date back, it’s for the good of the group’ and all of this sort of shit, and he was giving me the party line, they just made him come round, so I did something I’d never done before, or since: I told him to get out. I had to do something like that in order to assert myself because I was just sinking. Linda was very helpful, she was saying, ‘Look, you don’t have to take this crap, you’re a grown man, you have every bit as much right…’ I was getting pummelled about the head, in my mind anyway.

Paul McCartney  – From “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles, 1997

Ringo visited me, bringing two letters signed by George and John with which, he said he agreed. These letters confirmed that my record had been stopped. I really got angry when Ringo told me that Klein had told him that my record was not ready and that he had a release date for the Let It Be album. I knew that both of these alleged statements were untrue and I said, in effect, this was the last straw, and, ‘If you drag me down, I’ll drag you down.’ What I meant was, ‘Anything you do to me, I will do to you.’

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Ringo came to see me. He was sent, I believe – being mild mannered, the nice guy – by the others, because of the dispute. So Ringo arrived at the house, and I must say I gave him a bit of verbal. I said: ‘You guys are just messing me around.’ He said: ‘No, well, on behalf of the board and on behalf of The Beatles and so and so, we think you should do this,’ etc. And I was just fed up with that. It was the only time I ever told anyone to GET OUT! It was fairly hostile. But things had got like that by this time. It hadn’t actually come to blows, but it was near enough.

Unfortunately it was Ringo. I mean, he was probably the least to blame of any of them, but he was the fall guy who got sent round to ask me to change the date – and he probably thought: ‘Well, Paul will do it,’ but he met a different character, because now I was definitely boycotting Apple.

Paul McCartney – From the Beatles Anthology book, 2000

After Ringo’s visit, Paul called George Harrison, and George would have the following words to describe the conversation:

[Paul] came on like Attila the Hun. I had to hold the receiver away from my ear.”

George Harrison – From George Harrison,Al Aronowitz,Paul McCartney,Ringo Starr,John Lennon (, 1970

As a result, back at Apple, the decision was finally taken to release the “McCartney” album on April 17, 1970, as scheduled, and to delay the release of “Let It Be” to May 8, 1970.

Ringo, reasonable fellow that he is, told the others that if it meant so much to Paul to have his solo album released in April, they should let him do it, just to show friendship. Ringo’s own solo album was pushed back and the release of Let It Be pushed up. As it turned out, all three albums hit the market within three or four weeks of each other, flooding the record bins with Beatles products. It was a dismal marketing decision.

Peter Brown – From “The Love You Make“, 2002

Last updated on April 12, 2022

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