Paul McCartney: Yoko Ono did not break up the Beatles
After 50 years, the singer tells David Frost that Brian Epstein's successor was to blame for rock'n'roll's most famous split.
Five decades on and neither man has retired, both have reached their 70s, been knighted, and now meet again for one of the longest interviews the former Beatle has ever given.
He says he was in retrospect happy with the timing of the end of the Beatles; they left "a neat body of work" so the split "wasn't that bad a thing".
But McCartney has not completely mellowed with age. He admits he had found Yoko sitting in on Beatles' recording sessions very difficult, but still reserves bitterness for the late Allen Klein, the businessman who tried to take over the void left when the group's manager Brian Epstein died in 1967. Throwing a mock punch at a photograph of the man's face, he says it was Klein who set McCartney fighting against the others: "I was fighting against the other three guys who'd been my lifelong soul buddies. I said I wanted to fight Klein."
He talks too of the loss of Linda, the mother of four of his five children. He admits that despite the family trying everything to hold back the cancer that killed her, he had known from the first diagnosis she would not survive. "The doctors had told me privately that we'd caught it too late, that she'll have about 18 months. And that was what she had."
On a happier note, the world's most successful songwriter says his role to his five children, Mary, Heather, Stella and James with Linda and eight-year-old Beatrice with Heather Mills, and eight grandchildren is the most important one of his life. "Being a father, grandfather, is my coolest thing."
McCartney is apparently known for only giving 15-minute interviews and he has managed to achieve a great deal of privacy over his personal life throughout his career. This latest meeting between the two British legends is billed as Frost's return to the "Nixon-style" interviews for the TV channel Al Jazeera English, where he has worked since its launch in 2006. The 73-year-old Frost said of the 60-minute episodes, which start on 9 November: "The longer conversation not just allows us to go into more depth, but relaxes interviewees to talk more about their life and work."