The Beatles 1994 reunion: How New York’s ‘biggest rock event ever’ never happened

The Beatles: Get Back documentary teased by Peter Jackson

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After The Beatles’ split, dozens of reports suggested they would eventually get back together for another collection of shows. On this day, February 13, 1994 the Mail on Sunday further fuelled speculation with an exclusive report saying the band were gearing up for a gig in New York City.

The report read: “The Beatles are getting back together for a one-off concert that will be the biggest rock event ever staged.

“The three surviving Beatles are set to play alongside John Lennon’s sons to a live audience of more than a million people.

“Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr will each earn £20 million for appearing on stage on the great lawn at Central Park in New York later this year.”

Although McCartney, Harrison and Starr were on good terms at the time, there was no official word that they were getting together again.

Of course, the band did not play New York that year and have remained split up ever since.

The report was quashed by New York City’s commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Henry J Stern.

He told The New York Times: “Beatles reunion stories are like Elvis sightings, although I suppose there is more chance of a Beatles reunion.

“But we haven’t heard from anyone about this. If they want to do it, we’re here and the park is ready, and if it happened it would be wonderful.”

The Beatles perform Don't Let Me Down on rooftop 1969

The commissioner added: “There are a number of reasons that it would make sense for the concert of the century to take place here. Strawberry Fields is here. John and Yoko used to walk in the park.

“Mayor Koch held a memorial service attended by more than 100,000 people after John was shot. So if anywhere, John’s spirit lives in the park.”

McCartney also responded to the rumour telling ABC Radio the story was “an out and out lie”.

Elliot Mintz, a spokesperson for Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, also doubted the story.

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Mintz said: “I ran into Julian [Lennon] last night socially, and he said nothing about it.”

Despite the fact no concert was planned, the three remaining members of the Fab Four did meet up on June 23, 1994.

McCartney and Starr met at Harrison’s house – Friar park – where they played some classic Beatles songs and shot footage for their upcoming documentary The Beatles: Anthology.

Starr later spoke of the reunion saying: “It was just two acoustic guitars and me on brushes.”

The band were originally supposed to perform Let It Be in full – but the absence of Lennon was too much for them.

Instead the trio opted to play some of the band’s earliest songs.

They played Raunchy, Thinking of Linking, Blue Moon of Kentucky and Baby What You Want Me To Do.


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