Moving on from their lives as Beatles, today John was in the studio with the Plastic Ono Band working on “Cold Turkey,” while Paul and Linda had their first night out since the birth of daughter Mary at the UK premiere of John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy.

The lineup of the Plastic Ono Band was the same one that had appeared at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival, except with Ringo replacing Alan White on drums. Today they ran through 26 takes of “Cold Turkey,” all of which would ultimately be deemed inadequate. Three days later the P.O.B. would reconvene at a different studio to try again.

Meanwhile, this was the first time Paul appeared in public after John had quit The Beatles. He played it cool, though. The breakup would not become public knowledge until April 1970, and even then the self-penned Q&A that Paul distributed in conjunction with the release of McCartney was equivocal:

Q: Are you planning a new album or single with the Beatles?
PAUL: No.

Q: Is this album a rest away from the Beatles or the start of a solo career?
PAUL: Time will tell. Being a solo album means it’s “the start of a solo career…” and not being done with the Beatles means it’s just a rest. So it’s both.

Q: Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?
PAUL: Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don’t really know.

Q: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?
PAUL: No.

Well, that last one sounds pretty definitive. Paul can’t have been too surprised when the press reacted hysterically: “PAUL IS QUITTING THE BEATLES” screamed the headlines. John, George, and Ringo interpreted Paul’s actions as a violation of the press embargo on the breakup, and there went any last, slim chance of The Beatles reconciling — probably a non-starter anyway.

Paul alluded to this during his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, kvetching good-naturedly that he’d gotten more than his fair share of blame for the breakup. Maybe so, but he was also kind of asking for it.

In other 2019 Beatles news, Ringo has a new album coming out exactly a month from now. What’s My Name includes a song called “Grow Old With Me,” which was written by John and features a guest appearance by Paul. Quoth the Ringo:

I really wanted Paul to play on it, and he said yes. Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me. So John’s on it in a way. I’m on it and Paul’s on it. It’s not a publicity stunt. This is just what I wanted. And the strings that Jack [Douglas, producer] arranged for this track, if you really listen, they do one line from [George Harrison’s] “Here Comes the Sun.” So in a way, it’s the four of us.

The cover is oddly reminiscent of David Bowie’s Blackstar:

Hopefully that’s not trying to tell us anything. I for one will breathe a sigh of relief when October 28 rolls around and Ringo is still here.

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