On April 10, 1970, the music world shifted on its axis with the seismic news that the Beatles had split up. The revelation came after Paul McCartney announced he was officially breaking the bonds of brotherhood with John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Millions of fans instantly went into an emotional tailspin. The band’s Apple offices in London were quickly under siege from thousands of weeping girls (and some boys). And the man from CBS News adopted the kind of somber tone normally reserved for a death in the British royal family, heralding the breakup as “an event so momentous that historians may one day view it as a landmark in the decline of the British Empire.”