The press release that changed music forever

Did you know that news of The Beatles’ breakup came in a press release? And that the lead—they’re breaking up—was buried? Read the release that rocked rock.

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The band announced the split in a statement on its website and via this tweet: “R.E.M. call it a day …” The tweet included a link to the statement. By midday on Wednesday, the band and its lead singer, Michael Stipe, had become trending topics.

Here’s something to ponder: What if The Beatles had broken up in the age of social media? Can you imagine—no pun intended—the hashtags?

• #Beatles
• #BlameYoko
• #RingOhNO
• #comeBACKtogether
• #Epstein!
• #Happinessisawarm

After all, the band’s breakup became public knowledge thanks to a press release from April 1970—although this wasn’t your typical release.

Rumors had swirled for months about a split— privately, the band had all but disintegrated by that point—but it was a promo package accompanying McCartney’s 1970 self-titled solo record that tipped of the press.

The release is written in the form of a Q&A; some thought both the Q, and the A, were written by McCartney. Not the case, says Sir Paul. In a 1982 interview with the Canadian magazine, Musical Express, he explained:

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