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The Beatles Song That Proved John Lennon Had ‘Mentally Left’ The Beatles

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 3/26/2023 Ross Tanenbaum

While The Beatles didn’t disband until 1970, John Lennon told the other members he was leaving in 1969. While the bandmates were shocked by his announcement, the writing was on the wall that this was coming. According to producer George Martin, one Beatles song was an early indicator that Lennon was on his way out. 

John Lennon began his solo career before The Beatles broke up

John Lennon | Chris Walter/WireImage © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet John Lennon | Chris Walter/WireImage

On March 20, 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono. The two had an unorthodox honeymoon where the pair invited the media to their hotel room in Amsterdam, where they protested for peace. They held another “bed-in” protest in May, where the couple recorded “Give Peace a Chance.” “Give Peace a Chance” was the first solo release of Lennon’s career.

The single was released on July 4 with “Remember Love” as the B-side. It reached No. 2 on the British singles chart and No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song indicated that Lennon could succeed outside of The Beatles and was an early example of his collaborative process with Ono. 

‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ indicated Lennon would be leaving the band

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“The Ballad of John and Yoko” was released in 1969 and chronicled the events of John and Yoko’s wedding, their honeymoon, and their “bed-in” protests. While credited to The Beatles, it feels like a John Lennon song. The only other Beatle who played on it was Paul McCartney. Martin produced the track, but he later said it didn’t feel like a Beatles song, and it showed Lennon had “mentally left” the band. 

“I enjoyed working with John and Yoko on ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’,” Martin said in Anthology. “It was just the two of them with Paul. When you think about it, in a funny kind of way it was the beginning of their own label and their own way of recording. It was hardly a Beatle track. It was a kind of thin end of the wedge, as far as they were concerned. John had already mentally left the group anyway, and I think that was just the beginning of it all.”

Ringo Starr and George Harrison were content with being left out since they knew this wasn’t meant for them. According to Yoko, McCartney playing on the track exemplified his “brotherly side.”

“Paul knew that people were being nasty to John, and he just wanted to make it well for him,” Ono shared. “Paul has a very brotherly side to him.”

Lennon announced his departure shortly after the song’s release


5 Beatles Songs John Lennon Wrote About Yoko Ono

Paul McCartney publicly announced the end of The Beatles in 1970. However, Lennon had already announced his departure privately in Sept. 1969. Martin’s instincts were correct as “The Ballad of John and Yoko” was an early hint of John’s future. In Anthology, McCartney admitted that he knew John wanted to go in a separate direction with Yoko even before his announcement. 

“I must admit we’d known it was coming at some point because of his intense involvement with Yoko,” McCartney said. “John needed to give space to his and Yoko’s thing. Someone like John would want to end The Beatles period and start the Yoko period; and he wouldn’t like either to interfere with the other.”

Still, The Beatles were already in turmoil in 1969, as the Let it Be sessions showed they were on the verge of breaking up. Harrison had also started his solo career, so it was only a matter of time before someone called it quits. 

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