Paul is the first to say Yoko Ono didn’t break up The Beatles. “The group was breaking up and I think she attracted John so much to another way of life that he then went on to, very successfully, add a sort of second part to his career,” he said in a 2012 interview.
Recording with Yoko certainly showed John that a second act was possible right away. Paul said he doubted if John would have written “Imagine” or “Give Peace a Chance” if he hadn’t been with Yoko. With her, he found a new source of inspiration.
Playing with Eric Clapton later that year, John saw that there were other technically skilled musicians he enjoyed playing with as well. (Following a fight with George a year earlier, John had suggested bringing Clapton into The Beatles.)
Since John would never give in to Paul on the management issue and had other great musicians to play with by September of ’69, he had no qualms about telling the band he was done. The rest of the world would find out the following year.
By 1971, John would express his frustrations about Paul in the not-so-subtle “How Do You Sleep?”