Every April 10 is a little bittersweet for Beatles fans. On this day 45 years ago, as part of a promotional push for his solo debut, Paul McCartney issued a “self-interview” that more or less announced the Fab Four were finished. News of the breakup had been a long time coming. They’d drifted apart, as childhood friends and business associates often do, and for all the talk about Yoko and money and whatever else allegedly led to the split, there was no single cause. The greatest rock band of all time had simply run its course.
The reason the date is bittersweet, not just bitter, is that it’s a reminder of how much the Beatles accomplished in 10 years, from 1960 to 1970. Obviously, there’s the music—a near-perfect catalog of 12 LPs and dozens of songs everyone on the planet hums from the womb. But, more than that, John, Paul, George, and Ringo taught the world that life doesn’t have to be a drag. From a scrappy working-class city, they were flawed individuals whose humor, drive, curiosity, warmth, and talent made them more than the sum of their parts. Their story is filled with triumphs, tragedies, lucky breaks, and bizarre detours — moments their millions of fans experienced right along with them.
On the 45th anniversary of the world becoming Beatle-less, we’ve collected nine of the most magical and mysterious moments in the band’s history. There are countless more to choose from, but taken together, this handful is enough to make you think the universe conspired to bring these four musicians together, and that they stayed together precisely as long as they needed to, not a day longer.