In the middle of August 1970, three months into the job on Melody Maker, I conducted a question and answer session with Apple spokesman Peter Brown at the Beatles HQ in Saville Row.
CC: “Is there any recorded (Beatles) material still unreleased?”
PB: “No. Even if there were it would never be issued. The group are always very conscious of keeping up with the current tastes.”
CC: “Are there plans for a (Beatles) recording session in the future?”
PB: “There are no plans at all.”
CC: “Are there any plans for any kind of performances whatsoever?”
PB: “None at all. There are no plans for any shows or tours.”
CC: “Have The Beatles finished as a group?”
Apple: “That is a question I cannot answer...”
It was a question that Paul felt able to answer, however. A week later, in the August 29, 1970, MM we published his letter to us: “In order to put out of its misery the limping dog of a news story which has been dragging itself across your pages for the past year, my answer to the question, ‘will The Beatles get together again’... is no.”
Even though it was prompted by me, regrettably the letter wasn’t addressed to me personally but to Mailbag, our letters page, and I believe that in the fullness of time Paul bought it back at auction for a tidy sum that lodged itself in the bank account of whomsoever had the good sense to put the snatch on it. (I have my suspicions.) Nevertheless, I was having none of it, and I’ve lost count now of the number of times I tried very hard to reform The Beatles in the next few years.
Perhaps the most hopeful was on the front page of MM dated February 16, 1974, when, beneath a banner headline that read BEATLES GET TOGETHER!, I began a story, written on my Olivetti portable in the 78th Street apartment in New York, with the bold assertion, “The Beatles are back together again.” Like a reporter from today’s tabloids I went on to quote ‘informed sources’ who ‘suggested’ that the four of them were ‘preparing a joint statement’ to be released ‘in the next few days’ revealing their ‘plans for a new Beatles album’.
What an optimist I was. I think this was the last time I tried to reform The Beatles, the last in a series of selfless acts as princely as any I have ever undertaken, acts which I felt would enormously benefit mankind and give great pleasure to the world, and even deserved some sort of official recognition were it not for the fact that I failed. Again and again.
Sorry everyone. At least I tried. Happy Christmas!