The $230 Million Deal That The Beatles Turned Down
The Beatles performed two shows at Manchester's ABC Cinema on the 16th date of their 1963 Autumn Tour - HDBeatles / Youtube
Despite the band breaking up right at the doorstep of the golden age of rock, the masses never really moved on that well from it. But who could blame them? The Beatles gave so much more than music in such a short span of time. In 1976, public demand in getting them back together was so intense that a $230 million reunion offer was made, but to no avail.
Sid Bernstein was behind the massive offer, who was responsible for the band’s earlier tours in America. On September 16, 1976, Bernstein offered the sum for a one-off charity reunion concert of the band, but was politely turned down. McCartney later admitted that the band almost took the bait and considered the offer.
This wasn’t the first time the band was offered to play together again, though, as promoter Bill Sargent put down $10 million in 1974, then increasing in on January of 1976 to $50 million. McCartney shares the train of thought the ex-members had on the offers in a 2007 interview with Radio Times. “There were phenomenal amounts of money being offered. Millions by Sid Bernstein, this New York promoter. But it just went round and round. There might be three of us thinking, ‘It might not be a bad idea’ — but the other one would go, ‘Nah, I don’t think so’ and sort of veto it. Let’s put it this way, there was never a time when all four of us wanted to do it,” he said.
While both of these didn’t turn out to be successful, there was one offer that the band thoughtfully considered on taking. In the April 24, 1976 episode of SNL, producer Lorne Michaels made an offer to the band, saying NBC “has authorized me to offer you … a certified check for $3,000. You can divide it anyway you want. If you want to give Ringo less, that’s up to you.”
John Lennon shared the story with All We Are Saying author David Sheff, saying “Paul and I were together watching that show.” Lennon told author David Sheff in the book All We Are Saying, “He was visiting us at our place in the Dakota. We were watching it and almost went down to the studio, just as a gag. We nearly got into a cab, but we were actually too tired.”