.

Paul McCartney: The Beatles Considered Reuniting

Rocker says the attempts to re-form never got all four members on board

February 15, 2012 5:05 PM ET

paul mccartney
Paul McCartney performs during the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Beatles had considered getting back together while all four members were still alive, says Paul McCartney. "There was talk of re-forming the Beatles a couple of times," he tells Rolling Stone, "but it didn't jell, there was not enough passion behind the idea."

According to McCartney, the band was very pleased with having come full circle creatively, and worried about tainting their legacy. "More importantly, it could have spoiled the whole idea of the Beatles, so wrong that they'd be like 'Oh, my God, they weren't any good,'" he says. "The re-formation suggestions were never convincing enough. They were kind of nice when they happened – 'That would be good, yeah' – but then one of us would always not fancy it. And that was enough, because we were the ultimate democracy."

Though the Fab Four never came back together, various combinations of the band's members have played together on various projects and special occasions in the decades since the group disbanded in 1970. Ringo Starr appeared on solo recordings by John Lennon, George Harrison and McCartney, and both Starr and McCartney appeared together on "All These Years Ago," a Harrison song written in memory of Lennon. The three of them also finished a pair of Lennon demos, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love," for the Beatles Anthology series.

The individual Beatles also reconnected for one-off live collaborations, including Starr and Harrison's performance together at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971 and the time when McCartney, Harrison and Starr played "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" at Eric Clapton's wedding in 1979.

McCartney and Lennon reunited briefly for a studio jam session in 1974 that also featured Stevie Wonder, Harry Nilsson, Linda McCartney and Bobby Keys. "We were stoned," McCartney says of the session, which has been immortalized as the bootleg Toot and a Snore. "I don't think there was anyone in that room who wasn't stoned. For some ungodly reason, I decided to get on drums. It was just a party, you know. To use the word 'disorganized' is completely understating it. I might have made a feeble attempt to restore order – "guys, you know, let's think of a song, that would be a good idea' – but I can't remember if I did or not."

To read the rest of Brian Hiatt's cover story in Rolling Stone All Access, click here.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com