Paul McCartney wasn’t interested in performing live by ‘Abbey Road’
The year was 1968, and the Beatles had just finished recording the White Album. However, the experience was anything but pleasant for the fab four. The cracks among the band had started to emerge as George Harrison was getting more and more frustrated due to Paul McCartney and John Lennon not giving importance to his songwriting prowess. The perfect example of it was how they ignored him as he tried to record While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And then, the arrival of Yoko Ono also gave rise to tension among the band members. And then, there was Ringo Starr also leaving the band for a short amount of time.
To cope with all that, McCartney tried to use a new approach in their next album – the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. However, that turned out to be a disaster. And by the time the Beatles got on to recording Abbey Road, Paul McCartney totally scrapped the idea of performing live. They went back to the studio and made their iconic album Abbey Road. And here’s why.
The Get Back/Let It Be sessions changed the way Paul McCartney saw live performances
The Get Back recording sessions were a disaster from the start. Changing the recording studio and having the media record their fights was an absolute disaster. Therefore, they scrapped that idea and instead went on to the roof of the Apple building and gave their iconic Don’t Let Me Down live performance, along with other tracks. And Paul McCartney revealed in an interview to the BBC in September of 1969 that the Beatles had no intention to perform at a concert again.
According to McCartney, concerts and live performing limited them as musicians. He said:
You get an act, and we never used to really vary the act. Occasionally, we put a new song in. But you get very stereotyped. Once you knew the act, there wasn’t really much more fun in it.
Paul McCartney further said they the Beatles have “done all you can do in performing,” saying:
We can get bigger audiences. We can get bigger in quantity, but in quality of performance it’s difficult.
When Beatlemania forced the Beatles to stop touring
In a way, this is also precisely the reason why the Beatles quit touring in 1966. After their final tour, the fab four started working on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). And needless to say, their creativity got them to make arguably the most influential album of all time in Rock music. And all that because they stopped touring and got the time to channel their inner creativity. However, they didn’t have much of a problem in performing at intimate venues with a small audience. Paul McCartney told the BBC:
[After the Cavern Club era], our thing’s gotten more into records and songwriting. I personally, if we were gonna do anything, I’d prefer to just go back to a small club. Just have 50 people in and sing to them. You know, have a bit of a sing-song. I’d get more fun from that.