The New Beatles Doc "Get Back" Proves What We Knew All Along — Yoko Ono Did Not Break Up The Band

·8 min read

On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed the new Beatles documentary Get Back. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to BuzzFeed’s Kayla Yandoli about the recent Beatles documentary — and how Yoko Ono did not, in fact, break up the band. Here's some of what we learned:

BuzzFeed Daily: So you recently wrote a piece for Buzzfeed about the Beatles, specifically the narrative that Yoko Ono was the reason the band broke up. But before we get into that, what is your relationship with the Beatles? Would you consider yourself a super fan of them?

@thebeatles / GIPHY / Via giphy.com

Kayla Yandoli: I definitely am a fan. I'm not like a Beatlemania expert. I don't know the lyrics to every single song, but I did grow up listening to them. My cousins introduced me to their music. My cousin and my brother and I would listen to the Beatles 1 CD over and over again, and we started our own rock group in elementary school. Obviously, it didn't go anywhere but it was still fun and I've been lucky to see Paul McCartney in concert and Ringo Starr in concert. Their music always feels like home to me.I will say I do love the Beatles a lot, but I don't believe that they're the end all be all of music. I get a lot of hate for saying it. It's not me negating their impact on the musical world or pop culture or anything like that. But they had musical influences of their own and they wanted to be like Elvis and Chuck Berry and Carole King. So I think that's also important to note.

BuzzFeed Daily: A couple of weeks ago, the new Beatles documentary series Get Back premiered on Disney+. Did you watch all eight hours of it? And what was your biggest takeaway?

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr

KY: I did watch all eight hours of it. And to those who are listening, who haven't watched it yet, definitely spread it out because it is a lot of information to digest.I did it all in one weekend. I really enjoyed it — they originally released a documentary in 1970 called Let It Be, which followed the same narrative, their last recordings before they disbanded. That documentary was only an hour and a half, so there was a lot we didn't see.

I just loved watching the band writing new songs that would become number one hits. I liked watching them argue with each other because it was a real look inside how they worked with each other. Especially by that point in 1969, I liked seeing all the people that would come in and sit in during the recording sessions.It wasn't just Yoko Ono. Paul McCartney's girlfriend was there, Ringo Starr's wife was there, a bunch of siblings, and kids' friends. So it was just a really interesting look and how they were working together by the end of their run.

Disney+

BuzzFeed Daily: Let's get into the Yoko of it all. Can you explain the narrative surrounding the band's breakup and Yoko's involvement?

Yoko Ono and John Lennon

KY: Yeah, sure. I have so many feelings, but I'll stick to facts too. So ever since Yoko came into the picture, which was around 1967/1968 — around the time John Lennon got divorced from his first wife, Cynthia — a lot of Beatlemania fans, and journalists alike, didn't like her.

It was very easy to [blame Yoko for] breaking up the Beatles when she entered John's life around the late sixties. I think mainly because it's easier to place the blame on a woman, especially a woman who is not white, and not place the blame on the men involved in the band, who actually broke up the band.

So the narrative, all of these decades later, has been that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles and she controlled John Lennon's voice and personality and all these other things. But what I loved about the documentary, and what I wrote in the article — it was kind of cheeky — were all the reasons that Yoko broke up the Beatles, and the proof was just like her sitting quietly in the corner, reading a newspaper or knitting or patting John's head or something.

She was just very quiet and supportive and she was there during the whole recording session, but she didn't break up the Beatles. And all of these decades later, no matter what interview she's done from 1971 until 2009 on The View with Barbara Walters, they would ask her, "Are you happy that the Beatles broke up?" and Yoko would say, "No, they were a great band, but by that point they were together for 10 years and they grew up a whole lot and they wanted to explore their personalities and delve into new creative outlets and the Beatles were holding them back as individuals.I think the public couldn't accept that about John Lennon, so they just easily placed the blame on a woman.

Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

BuzzFeed Daily: Sounds about right. Where did this narrative come from? Was it from the media? How much do you think that misogyny and xenophobia played into how this story was shaped?

Yoko Ono and John Lennon

KY: A hundred percent. First of all, it did come from the fans, but it also did come from the media. There's another documentary that was released in 2019 called John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky, which followed them recording John Lennon's album Imagine. In the documentary, there is a journalist who was quoted as saying, "Oh, you know, us Brits in England, at that point there were only two things we really loved and could agree on: the queen and the Beatles. And then when this woman came into John's life, she was taking away John, she was taking away the Beatles."So I think the media definitely had a heavy influence on blaming everything on Yoko and then fans alike followed along. Unfortunately, it's still a narrative that people believe in. I went to Twitter immediately after finishing the documentary, because I wanted to see what people were thinking. A lot of people were making jokes that Yoko broke up the band when she was reading a newspaper.

And then there were a lot of other fans of the Beatles who were really mad that Yoko was in on every session and were still blaming her for disbanding the group when the Beatles broke up the Beatles.So I think it definitely came from the media, but also fans played a huge part in it as well.

Channel 4 / Via youtube.com

BuzzFeed Daily: Now in the last few years, people have finally started to push back against the idea that this was all Yoko's fault, like you mentioned, but what do you think has recently changed?

Photo of Yoko Ono in front of a microphone holding a cup of tea

KY: I think the #MeToo movement has had a huge part in a lot of famous women's stories the past few years. It doesn't just trickle into TV and film — it also trickles into the music world, a lot of other pop culture aspects, and also personal lives as well.This falls under that umbrella, and also, I really think Britney Spears' story — when that documentary came out earlier this year it just allowed people to analyze how women, especially famous women, have been treated in media by fans. So once the Britney Spears documentary was released, a lot of people talked about the Janet Jackson narrative, with Justin Timberlake at the Super Bowl in 2004.And I think that was the gateway into viewing women differently. I think you'll go, "Yoko definitely falls under that umbrella." It's realizing, Oh, men should be held accountable for things they've done instead of women who were completely innocent in 99.9% of these situations. I really hope that this documentary sticks with people and disbands that narrative, and really makes people realize one person did not break up this big group. It was so many other elements. It was the four men, you know? I think that made space for people to realize, Oh, it wasn't Yoko's fault. Like, let's move on with it.

Charles-andre Habib / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

🔈Listen to the episode above for the full interview.

We also discussed Drake making Grammys history...by withdrawing himself from consideration the day voting was set to begin.

Photo of Drake looking toward the camera holding a microphone

A month after his song “Way 2 Sexy” earned a Best Rap Performance nomination and Certified Lover Boy was nominated for Best Rap Album, Drake requested both nominations be pulled.

The Recording Academy complied, and so far neither they nor Drake has offered an explanation for the move.

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

Plus, Chris Noth recently weighed in on the feud between his Sex and the City costars Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall — and it seems he’s on Sarah Jessica's side.

Photo of Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker

He told The Guardian: “I have to tell you, I have absolutely no idea what [Kim’s] thinking is or her emotions. I do know that I'm very close with SJ and [Kim's] descriptions of her don't even come close."

He also said: "I liked [Kim], I thought she was marvelous in the show, and some people move on for their own reasons. I don't know what hers were. I just wish that whole thing had never happened because it was sad and uncomfortable."

Mega / GC Images

As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at daily@buzzfeed.com.

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