Paul McCartney was in too much 'emotional pain' to keep the Beatles going after John Lennon left
The musician also acknowledged he underestimated bandmate George Harrison's songwriting abilities.
Although the Beatles came to an end in 1970, the band's breakup is still a hotly debated topic among fans, including Howard Stern. In 2018, the radio host got Paul McCartney to state, once and for all, that John Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono led to the band's breakup.
On Tuesday, during his Sirius XM show, he probed the musician on another element of the breakup, suggesting McCartney didn't keep the group going with its remaining members — George Harrison and Ringo Starr — because he underestimated Harrison's abilities.
While McCartney didn't deny he overlooked his late bandmate, who died in 2001, he attributed the group's demise to more personal reasons.
"I hear what you're saying, but the thing is Howard, that's like a family. When families break up, it's to do with the emotion and the emotional pain," he responded. "You're hurting too much, and so it wasn't going to happen. We'd been through too much and I think we were just fed up with the whole thing."
The two did agree that Harrison, who was the Beatles' lead guitarist, was a formidable songwriter. Stern brought up his acclaimed 1970 album All Things Must Pass as a prime example. McCartney said he didn't realize Harrison's talents at first because his bandmate was a "late bloomer." A majority of the Beatles' most recognized tracks, like "Come Together," "Hey Jude," "Let It Be," and "Yesterday," were penned by Lennon and/or McCartney.
"It was easy to underestimate George because me and John, like you said, had always written most of the stuff and it had most of the singles," McCartney told Stern. "George was a late bloomer, as far as writing was concerned. He wasn't that interested in the beginning. But then he started to get interested — and boy did he bloom. He wrote some of the greatest songs ever."
Harrison's writing credits for the Beatles included "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun," which McCartney praised, saying, "How appropriate is that for now?"