This Is What Would Have Happened If The Beatles Had Taken Lorne Michaels Up on His Offer to Reunite on ‘SNL’

Beatles fans would have been pissed
This Is What Would Have Happened If The Beatles Had Taken Lorne Michaels Up on His Offer to Reunite on ‘SNL’

The 1970 Beatles documentary Let It Be just hit Disney+, which would probably be more exciting, if not for the fact that most of the footage from the movie was just reworked into the Peter Jackson docuseries Get Back. Like, Let It Be didn’t even bother to include the scene where Ringo proudly announces that he ripped a silent fart. What were they thinking?!?!

Let it Be features the last ever Beatles performances captured on film, but John Lennon and Paul McCartney came very close to reuniting on television just a few years later, thanks to Saturday Night Live

Famously, in 1976, Lorne Michaels appeared on SNL to offer The Beatles a certified check for $3,000, just to reunite and play “three Beatles tunes,” noting that the check was made out to the band, not the individual members. “If you want to give Ringo less, that’s up to you,” Michaels deadpanned. 

In 1980, Lennon told an interviewer that he and McCartney were together that night at his apartment in New York, and considered heading to the SNL studio “as a gag” but then decided against it because they were “too tired.” McCartney confirmed the story, but in some later interviews he claimed that it was actually a week after Michaels made his faux-pitch, not the very same night. 

In any case, this one anecdote has become so legendary that it was even dramatized in a 2000 TV movie called Two of Us, which, incidentally, was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who made Let It Be.

But while this moment is often described as one of the great missed opportunities in rock music history, had Lennon and McCartney made it to 30 Rockefeller Plaza that night, Michaels likely wouldn’t have let them perform

According to SNL writer Neil Levy, the show received a phone call informing everybody that one half of The Beatles might be dropping by. “What are we going to do when they get here?” Michaels questioned. Sure, letting McCartney and Lennon play music together would have undoubtedly been historic, but it wouldn’t have been funny

Then Michaels had an idea: “How about this, they get here and they want to play a song and I ask them where their guitars are and they say they didn’t bring their guitars and I say, ‘Oh. Well, then you can’t play, because there’s a union rule that you have to have your own guitar.’”

Yeah, had Michaels somehow managed to bring John Lennon and Paul McCartney back together again years after The Beatles split, he would have prevented them from giving the world what it desperately wanted, purely as a bit. 

Instead, he had to settle for turning down George Harrison when he showed up to ask for his portion of the money.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


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