Why The Beatles Turned Down $50 Million to Reunite

It had nothing to do with tensions between former bandmates

July 6, 2020
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Everyone has their own line they won’t cross, no matter how much money they’re offered. For The Beatles, the price was $50 million. The line? Having a shark as the opening act.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, drummer Ringo Starr said the band was offered $50 million for a one-off reunion concert in 1976. The offer was made by Bill Sargent, a key figure in the pay-per-view business.

The Beatles were obviously the main draw, but Sargent had an idea that would surely make the event one to remember. A man fighting a great white shark as the opening act.

“We called each other to see what we think,” Starr said. “We decided not to do it because the opening act was a guy biting a shark. So we thought no.”

Starr and his bandmates had the right mindset as it’d be difficult to imagine the band going out to perform after a potentially fatal incident.

The offer came six years after The Beatles gave their memorable final performance on the rooftop of the Apple Corps headquarters in London in 1969.

Despite this “crazy offer,” Starr remained hopeful that the band would one day get back together. He confessed he initially thought the band’s breakup would be temporary rather than a permanent split.

“When we finished 'Abbey Road' I did not walk away thinking that’s the last album,” he said.

“I thought ‘we’ll be back in how many months and we’ll do another’. Between times we did actually break. No one went away thinking ‘That’s it.’”

“I didn’t leave the studio thinking that will be the last record we’d ever make. I never thought that. I didn’t think it would be the last time we’d ever tour together either,” he added.

The deaths of John Lennon in 1980 and George Harrison in 2001 make the thought of a Beatles reunion one of music’s great “what-if’s?”

Starr is convinced that the group would have put aside their differences and come together for a reunion.

“If John and George had not died there was surely a possibility of that. Paul and I are still on the road. John would have still been on the road,” he said.

“I don’t know about George. We’d still be doing what we love to do. Maybe separately, maybe together. Nobody knows.”

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