There are many things that will bring a smile upon my face. Among them is seeing family members, hanging out with friends to watch a movie, going to Walt Disney World and listening to my favorite band The Beatles. The Beatles were and still are a cultural phenomenon. They sold millions of singles, had many number one hits and even starred in a few movies. To this day, after they broke up, you can still get almost anything your heart desires with images of the Fab Four.
There has been a Cirque du Soleil show for years in Las Vegas. There have been countless documentaries made and everyone can name at least one Beatles song. But this article isn’t about any of these things. We aren’t going to discuss who’s favorite Beatles is who’s. (George Harrison is mine by the way). I’m going to fill you in on a pretty momentous occasion that occurred on Walt Disney World Resort back in the year 1974.
On September 20, 1969, while The Beatles were in a meeting at the Apple Headquarters, a heated argument erupted amongst the four like they did pretty often at that juncture of their career. John stood up during the meeting and said, “I want a divorce. Just like the one I got from Cynthia.” (Cynthia was John’s first wife and mother of Julian) and exited the room.
This wasn’t the first time that members had quit the band. During The White Album sessions in 1968 Ringo walked out but was eventually talked into coming back. George Harrison also got fed up with the quarreling during the filming of Let It Be, and he too quit but also returned. The difference being when John exited, there was no talking him into coming back and Paul publicly announced the end of The Beatles in a newspaper interview in April of 1970.
On December 19, 1974, after four years of court battles and lawsuits, a meeting was scheduled for formal paperwork to be signed by the four. The meeting was to take place in New York City at the Plaza Hotel. Ringo had already signed the documents back in England, so he wasn’t going to be present. George and Paul flew in so they could sign the necessary paperwork. George’s and Paul’s lawyers were present along with Ringo’s lawyer.
Several teams of lawyers representing Apple got everyone around the table to begin signing all the paperwork. Ringo was there on the phone while Paul and his wife Linda documented the occasion on camera.
“Where’s John?” George asked. Which was the question that was obviously on everyone else’s mind. John lived in New York City only a short drive away from the Plaza, but he decided to not show up. When George’s lawyer called and May Pang answered, John wouldn’t come to the phone. He was currently in a relationship with his secretary May Pang. The lawyer asked him why he wasn’t there; John replied “The stars aren’t right.” In a fit of anger George picked up the phone and told May to tell John to “Take off your ******* shades and get the **** over here!” She asked George if he wanted to talk to John, which George did not. John had been listening to the whole conversation.
On December 29, 1974, John and May went to spend Christmas at West Palm Beach. While they were down there, the stack of documents were brought down by an Apple lawyer for John to sign. After some phone calls to one of George’s lawyers to go over some items in the documents, it was time for John to sign. But he didn’t sign. There was a clause that he thought would create a tax problem for him since he lived in the U.S. George, furious, canceled plans for John to join him at a Madison Square Garden concert.
Ten days later, while vacationing in Walt Disney World and staying at the Polynesian with May and Julian, John met with the lawyer once again to go over the new contract. John made a last minute phone call to his lawyer. When John hung up the phone Pang said that “he looked wistfully out the window. I could almost see him replaying the entire Beatles experience in his mind.” She then photographed John signing beneath Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey. Just like that, with the stroke of a pen, John Lennon was the last one to sign and officially disband The Beatles, and he did it while vacationing at the Polynesian at Walt Disney World.
So next time you’re staying at the resort try asking around where it was exactly that this momentous occasion occurred. I’m not sure if he did it in his bedroom or some conference room, but if you happen to know or think you know, drop a comment in the comment section. Or if you ever vacationed while one of the fab four were there let us know that also.
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