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John Lennon Officially Ended the Beatles at Disney World

Keystone Features, Getty Images

Leave it to John Lennon to make the Beatles break up official by signing the termination papers while on holiday at Disney World. Lennon, the last of the four to actually sign off on the contract, was the first to shout out “I want a divorce” before he walked out of a meeting at Apple headquarters with the other three members present back in 1969.

Both Ringo Starr and George Harrison had already quit by 1968, prior to this incident, yet they were convinced to return, whereas Lennon never did. Then there’s Paul McCartney, the one who publicly announced the news to the press in 1970, declaring, “I’m quitting The Beatles.”

After years of red tape and millions of dollars spent, the official dissolution papers were drawn up and ready to be signed off on at the Plaza Hotel in New York in 1974. George and Paul had arranged to fly in and be present, while Ringo signed the necessary documents at an earlier time, while still in England.

So as George, Paul, Apple lawyers and business managers grouped around a large table to dissolve the partnership, Ringo was on the phone to confirm that he was alive. Meanwhile, everyone in the room was curious about John’s whereabouts. This seemed especially ironic, given Lennon lived within walking distance of the Plaza Hotel.

Harrison’s lawyer telephoned Lennon for an explanation. “The stars aren’t right,” Lennon relayed to his then secretary/lover May Pang, who then responded to the lawyer’s query. When John’s response broke across the room, everyone present was furious. John chose to follow his astrological and didn’t come to the arranged meeting.

John and May planned to spend Christmas in Florida, leaving New York for West Palm Beach. After the holiday, an Apple lawyer brought the mammoth contract for Lennon to sign at Disney World, where he was staying at the Polynesian Village Hotel. Thus, with the Magic Kingdom as his backdrop, he picked up his pen and officially finished off the Beatles right then and there. The date was Dec. 29, 1974.

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