Though the common census is that Yoko Ono and to a lesser degree Linda Eastman, killed the Beatles, there is a bit more to it than that.
John, Paul and George met in their late teens in the late 1950s and performed together for the next ten or so years. They also saw each other nearly every day for ten years straight. "Ringo" Richard Starkey came onto the scene in the early sixties, just as the Beatles were starting to gather a following. Ringo was also the only Beatle that consistently managed to stay on good terms with the three other ex-bandmates, in the post-Beatles era.
Beatlemania officially took over the world in 1964, somewhere in between the infamous "Ed Sullivan Show" appearance and the completion of their first U.S. tour. It was also John, Paul, George and Ringoís first trip to the U.S. The Beatles were excited and overwhelmed. They no longer had any privacy. But they did have lots and lots of (pre-taxes) money, girls, and drugs. And they had their music.
George and John were the first to publicly complain about Beatlemania. Though Paul may have felt the same, he was also completely infatuated with the Beatles and their success so he kept his mouth shut and his smiles big.
After a year or so of relentless touring and chaos, the Beatles decided to stop touring. In the wake of JFKís death, safety was also a concern. Their last official live concert was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, on August 29, 1966.
They had a bit of a break before they returned to the studio. During their break, John flew to Spain to work on the movie How I Won the War. In later interviews, John said that this was when he first started thinking about going solo. It was also during this period that "Strawberry Fields Forever" first began to take shape.
Back in the studio, "Sergeant Pepperís Lonely Heartís Club Band" was mostly Paulís baby. He came up with a majority of the ideas, and sometimes had to push the other Beatles to work (rather than take holiday). Needless to say, Paul was thrilled with the critical praise Sergeant Pepper received when it was released in June of 1967. Fellow rock Ďn rollers were also impressedóJimmy Hendrix memorized one of the songs off the album in a day so he could perform it in time for a concert.
The same month, Paul publicly admits that he has experimented with LSD. Though he was the last to try it, he is the first to admit it. When a reporter asked him about his LSD use, he decided he was sick of lying. He tried to place the blame on the media by saying that it was their choice to broadcast it. If they felt his admonition would promote LSD use, then he told them they shouldnít use it.
At the urging of Georgeís wife Patti, the Beatles took up transcendental meditation. Beatles Manager Brian Epstein died of a drug overdose that same month, on August 27, 1967óalmost a year to the date of the Beatles last concert. Though his death was deemed accidental, speculation of a suicide still persists. Some people claim that being in the closet was too much for Brian; others say he was depressed because he felt like the Beatles no longer needed him.
In the wake of Brianís death, the Beatles didnít quite know what to do with themselves. On August 31st, the Beatles announced that they would be managing themselves from then on. But in Brian the Beatles not only lost a friend, but a peacekeeper and a manager. Almost immediately, Paul took up Brianís position. In September they filmed the critical and commercial disaster Magical Mystery Tour. John later commented that if nothing else, at least it got them working again.
In late 1967, John and Paul created Apple Records. The company continued on into the mid 1970s due to legal issues, but it really ended in the summer of 1968. None of the Beatles were business men and it showed, though Apple did manage to discover James Taylor and Badfinger.
At the end of December the psychedelic color-friendly Magical Mystery Tour was released on the BBC in black and white. It was time for a break.
In early 1968, the Beatles set out on a meditative journey for India. Ringo couldnít handle the food and was the first to leave, followed not long after by a disillusioned John and Paul. George and Patti stayed on a bit longer. Nonetheless, 32 new songs returned to England with them, along with a newly spiritual George. Thus, the White Album was born.
Yoko and Linda first came into the picture when the Beatles were working on the White Album. Paul felt threatened by Johnís close relationship to Yoko, who had quickly become his muse and creative partner. Meanwhile, Paul was also busy falling in love. He had met Linda at a club called the Bag ĎO Nails in 1967 and went to visit her in mid 1968 on a U.S. business trip. A month later, Jane Asher publicly announced that her engagement to Paul is off. In November the White Album came out, and John is officially granted a divorce from Cynthia.
Tensions in the studio make Ringo walk out of a White Album session. He returns to flowers and apologies. Later on when recording Let It Be, George would also walk out on a session. Both frustrations with Paulís bossiness and a fight with John have been sited as reasons for the walk-out. A tiff with Paul was recorded in the movie Let It Be, but John can also be heard during the session, angrily commenting on the fact that they will have to get Eric Clapton to fill in for George because George is being difficult.
In early 1969 Paul wants to do another movie, but no one else does. They settle on a documentary that ends up recording the beginnings of the Beatles break-up.
Musically, the Beatles have also grown apart. John, Paul and George often prefer to record their own songs alone. Paul is upset with the way new producer Phil Specter handles his song "Let It Be." George is upset that he still isnít treated as serious as a song-writer as John and Paul are, especially by John and Paul. In his frustration, he produces some of his most beautiful songs. Ringo also would have liked more of a chance to write his own songs, but was often too insecure to bring it up. With Georgeís help he writes "Octopusís Garden." He also wrote the ironically entitled "Donít Pass Me By"óa song that didnít make it on to an album until the White Album, though Ringo can be heard asking the other Beatles to mention his song to the press as early as 1964. They also all begin on their own solo projects.
Both Linda and Yoko stop by during the sessions, though Linda does not sleep on a mattress underneath a piano or scream out Johnís name at odd times like Yoko does. Yokoís constant presence makes the other three uncomfortable, though John didnít notice anything at the time. Later he explains that they just wanted to be together all the time. Once the Beatles are officially over, Paul does the same thing with Linda. Though hard to believe, Yoko actually had musical training, however, unlike Linda.
Paul marries Linda on March 12, and John and Yoko follow in suit eight days later.
Surprisingly, the Beatles decide to record one more album, this time with their original producer, George Martin. The Beatles do their best to put their differences aside and fight as little as possible.
The Beatles also fought over their new business manager Allen Klein. John introduces the Beatles to Allen Klein in early 1969, and George and Ringo take a liking to him. Paul does not. He would prefer that Lindaís lawyer father and brother handle their finances. In May, Paul refuses to sign an official business contract with Allen Klein. The other three sign the contract.
In September, Abbey Rd is released and John officially announces to the rest of the Beatles that he is calling it quits. He does not publicly announce it, however, because business and contract negotiations were still in the works. In the end, it was Paul that announced the break-up, just as he had announced their LSD use.
In April 1970, Paulís first solo album "McCartney" was released. Several days later he publicly announces that he left the Beatles. Less than a month later Let It Be the album, followed by Let It Be the movie, is released.
The other Beatles did not publicly confirm the break-up until December 31, 1970, when Paul filed a lawsuit against John, George and Ringo in order to dissolve the Beatles. By then the Beatles had not recorded together in more than a year. They continued to go their separate ways.
Three years later, John, George and Ringo split with Allen Klein and sued him.
Lot's of people ask why The Beatles broke up, as if it's not miraculous enough that they ever came together in the first place. Much has been written about how the four met and much has been written about their history. Sort of glossed over is the break up. It's painful to talk about for those involved, I'm sure. And no one, not even the Beatles, could possibly touch on all the dynamics that brought about The End. But a big part of what broke up The Beatles was the tremendous egos and differences of the four, and particularly the two main players Lennon and McCartney. In my humble opinion The Beatles started to die after Paul wrote and released "Yesterday." That was the peek of the roller coaster and it was followed by the extreme rush down the hill to oblivion. (And Yesterday would not have happened without George Martin). But to the world, and especially Lennon, it was a McCartney solo hit.
It's hard to understand why John seemed to be more miserable the bigger The Beatles got. Fame isn't as glorious as it seems to a teenager. It was not a glamorous and fun time for John. But one must try to understand Lennon's wounded psych. He was extremely insecure. That's why he needed a band around him. And as youngsters the ones he picked fed his ego, were generally younger, and basically played yes men to John's dream of how the game should be played. He needed this, and conversely the others needed him. He was the undisputed leader of the band. But don't for one minute, despite his mega fame, think he was not extremely bothered by Paul being "The Cute" one, and that he wasn't hurt when Paul's music did better than his own. This songwriting competition led to the rapid creation of the best songs in song writing history, but by it's very nature was doomed. In the very beginning they really did sit across from each other and write together. Later the extent of their collaboration was trying to out do the other.
(And call me nuts if you want, but I really hear John and Paul talk to each other through their music. Maybe John was the Fool On The Hill and maybe Paul was the subject of Hey! Bull Dog). But we're limited in space here and I'm not writing a book. There's enough books out there now. I just want to understand the break up of The Beatles a little better.
It is now well known how much they hated the boy band image, but it was smooth sailing till the band, and mostly John, decided to change their image and writing style. Unfortunately, John made his first major, (though innocent enough at the time), mistake by saying The Beatles were bigger than Jesus. (Read Beatlesnumber9's Bigger Than Jesus piece). This didn't raise an eye brow in Britain, but 5 months later this quote was taken out of it's original context and splattered across the American press in a way to demonize The Beatles. I'll avoid the hypocrisy of America in this article. Suffice it to say I'm ashamed of the United States and especially it's self-righteous lynch 'em attitude - right wing, self- righteous religious bible thumpers.
But the fact is, Lennon began receiving death threats. Lots of them! The Beatles were boycotted and the KKK protested outside their concerts. They were harshly beaten by the southern bible belt and John was EXTREMELY paranoid. Though the other three stood by John, they privately resented John for putting his foot in his mouth. Out of this fear John decided to quit touring, and George hopped aboard this decision. Paul to this day thrives on touring and wasn't happy about 'never' again touring. Maybe he thought things would pass and eventually they would resume touring. But for the time being they began an amazing stint as studio recording artists. John was losing his role as the leader, and Paul gladly picked up the slack (the void left by the death of Brian Epstein only sped up this inevitability). By the time Sgt Pepper was recorded Paul was the leader of the Beatles, and John in turn hated this new Beatles. He resented the whole charade and all his old childhood anger resurfaced. He wanted out of it. I think he brought Yoko in only to sabotage the group. And it worked. John played dirty. Paul played just as dirty, and the dream was over. There just is no one person to point the finger at. Lennon and McCartney lost control of their egos and crashed. Not a total surprise for working class Liverpudlian's. Competition turned fierce and it destroyed the group. Everything else is arm chair psychiatry. I will say this; The Beatles made it to the top not by trying to impress us, but by trying to impress each other. The what ifs and what next is for people through out the rest of history to wrestle with. I do it. I read about their childhoods and try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. The books are out there. Go grab some and play arm chair shrink. All human nature, warts and all, can be seen in the story of The Beatles.
For Paul's part, as the newly bearded father figure, he certainly made his share of bad choices. Not the least of which was his idea to 'Get Back.' He didn't see there was no going back, only forward. To make a documentary on film at the height of their fighting was a rotten idea. George walked out, John is seen sitting next to Yoko usually mocking Paul, and Paul is shown trying to rally the troops, but only as side men to McCartney songs. This period, and the film caused Harrison so much pain the film was taken out of print at his request in 1981 and only allowed to be re-released after his death. We're still waiting....
John fought hard, I think too hard, to destroy the 'boy band' image, and Paul fought hard, I think also too hard to hold on to a pop image. Musically we ended up with the two extremes after the break up. No Beatle magic there. Some Time In New York was John's crap recording and Silly Love Songs summed up Paul's idea of rock 'n' roll. It was never so obvious how desperately they needed each other. We can clearly see how the combination of these two egos created magic, and had they taken a much needed break from each other perhaps the split could have been avoided. But it seems as though Paul was under the spell of his in-laws and was angered that his brother and father in law weren't made managers of The Beatles. John pointed out that much earlier on they agreed to never let relatives be their managers (a wise decision), but the war raged on.
Somewhere along the way Paul got it in his head to sue the others and make a legal break up (Hmmm, his in laws were lawyers....not a lot of thought need be put into this). Leaving aside all opinions about this and that, one could simply say 'Paul broke up The Beatles'. The others had each quit, but never publicly. By all accounts the others had plans to record as The Beatles again. Paul's lawsuit and announcement that he was leaving The Beatles surprised John, George and Ringo as much as it did the world.
Now here's the twist. The break up was a disaster for all four Beatles. Lennon and McCartney's early solo efforts were still very much collaborations/competitions. Paul was writing for John even on his solo albums (Too Many People, "You took your lucky break and broke it in two...". I wonder, did John break his lucky break?) And John's "How Do You Sleep?" was a direct communication to Paul. Paul hasn't released anything memorable since John died (I will say Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is a long over due decent recording). You know, the sad thing is by most accounts John and Paul were planning to record again. There was a Beatles Anthology on the drawing board, and both had agreed to play on Ringo's new album. Most of this was sabotaged by Yoko, who obviously had her own agenda. And then Dec 8, 1980 happened. We're left with educated guesses and wishful thinking. But one thing is undeniable. The thing that made the Beatles what they were was each one was 25% of the whole. What destroyed them was egoism. And like anything, it could have been mended, I believe it was being mended, and in time they'd have done something again. But that's the one thing we weren't granted. More time...
HOW CLOSE DID THE BEATLES COME TO NOT BREAKING UP?
What broke up the Beatles was Paul's public announcement on April 10th, 1970, that the Beatles would never work together again, and the subsequent lawsuit he filed against the other three on December 31, 1970.
Until then, no matter what they said privately to each other, all their public statements conveyed the message that the partnership was to continue indefinitely. In the fall of 1969, _after_ "Abbey Road" was released, John told Melody Maker that "after 'Get Back' is released in January, we'll probably . . . do another one." In February of 1970, he told _Rolling Stone_, "We still might make Beatles product . . . but we need more room--The Beatles are just too limited., that's where the trouble is." He told the New Musical Express, "It just depends on how much we all want to record together." He said that trying to accomodate everyone's songs on one album was the main problem.
Ringo told NME in March of 1970, "Everything's fine. I've got things to do and George has got things to do and Paul has his solo album and John has his peace thing. We can't do everything at once." George said, in the same article, "Say we've got unity through diversity, because that's what it is . . . we had to find ourselves, individually, one day."
When John Eastman (Paul's brother-in-law and attorney) announced on April 7th that the release of Paul's solo album, "McCartney," was coming out and it meant, in essence, the end of The Beatles, Apple spent three days denying it before it reluctantly released, on Paul's demand, the "self-interview" (subsequently was included in UK copies of "McCartney") that made the split official.
On that day (April 10), Apple also released a statement on behalf of the Beatles that read, "The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you. When the spinning stops--that'll be the time to worry. Not before. The Beatles are alive and well and the beat goes on. The beat goes on."
Even after the April 10th announcement, the remaining three Beatles were still publicly stating that the Beatles, as an entity, still existed and this was a temporary hiatus. A few weeks after Paul's statement, Ringo told a reporter, "I just feel it in my bones that we'll probably all be recording together again before very long." George said, "There is every prospect" that the Beatles eventually would work together again. "Everyone this year is trying to do his individual album, but after that, I am ready to go back to work together again." In early summer, George, while working on "All Things Must Pass", again said he'd expect the Beatles to be working together, possibly by the end of the year.
John initially had little response to Paul's announcement, saying only, "Paul phoned me to say 'I've decided to leave The Beatles.' It was good to hear from him, now that I know he's not dead [a reference to the "Paul is dead" hoax that broke the previous fall]."
In the May 14 edition of _Rolling Stone_, John made his feelings clearer: "It's the simple fact that [Paul] can't have his own way, so he causing chaos. I put out four albums last year, and I didn't say a fucking word about quitting."
In June, Paul, through his attorney, began the slow process of disolving the partnership, raising the issue with John via a letter later that summer. John refused to discuss the issue. Paul again raised it during a meeting with the other three in New York that October. They refused to address it then, either.
McCartney filed suit against the Allen Klein and the other three Beatles on December 31, 1970, asking that The Beatles and Co. be legally dissolved that that a receiver be appointed in the meanwhile.
With that, the Beatles were no more.
Say what you will about the various arguments over guitar leads, drum breaks and girlfriends, but make no mistake, the facts are these: Paul went public and ignited the press firestorm that immediately erupted thereafter. He insisted on an immediate legal disolution of the partnership, igniting almost a decade of vitriolic court battles.
It is important to note that all of John's statements regarding the breakup, such as the fact that he'd actually left first, et cetera, were made after Paul's public announcement and the subsequent hard feelings it generated.
The bitter statements against Paul by the other three that appear in the court affidavits leave no doubt whatsoever as to who "broke up the Beatles."
The ironic thing is that, a mere three years later, John, George and Ringo split with Allen Klein and sued him. If Paul had bided his time, he'd have gotten what he'd wanted (the problem, of course, was Klein; Paul wanted Eastman to manage the group), and the Beatles might have been back in the recording studio in 1975.
Or maybe not.
(From the article, "'Unity Through Diversity'--How Close Did The Beatles Come To Not Breaking Up?" by William P. King, published in _Beatlefan_, #93 (Vol 16, No 3), March-April, 1995. For more information, refer to that article; also see _Apple To The Core_, McCabe and Schonfeld, Pocket Books, 1972.)
John Lennon blamed Sir Paul McCartney's hatred of his wife Yoko Ono for the break up of The Beatles, according to a previously unheard interview with the Imagine star recorded in 1970.
In the revealing conversation, which was recorded by Rolling Stone magazine journalist Jann Wenner in the aftermath of The Beatles' split, Lennon reveals he felt compelled to choose between his wife and his bandmates - and he had no regrets about his decision.
Lennon says in the interview, "It seemed that I either had to be married to them or Yoko. I chose Yoko and I was right.
"They despised her. They insulted her and still do... they can go stuff themselves."
Lennon also displays extreme hostility to McCartney's treatment of the rest of the band following the death of their manager Brian Epstein in 1967.
He continues, "Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles?
"Paul had the impression we should be thankful for what he did, for keeping The Beatles going. But he kept it going for his own sake. Not for my sake did Paul struggle."
SIR PAUL McCARTNEY planned to reunite THE BEATLES a year before JOHN LENNON was murdered, according to a newly released record contract.
In a 1979 deal with CBS Records, McCartney claimed he could again make music with Lennon, GEORGE HARRISON and RINGO STARR under the banner of The Beatles.
Details of the $10.8 million (GBP6 million) contract have been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death on 8 December 1980 later this week.
An industry insider comments, "This is the earliest evidence of any Beatle making formal overtures towards a reunion."
It was 36 years ago today (April 10th), that Paul McCartney's departure from the Beatles was made public, in effect announcing to the world what many fans had suspected over the past six months -- the Beatles had broken up. McCartney's statements regarding the end of his songwriting partnership with John Lennon, along his wish to record apart from Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, came in the part of a question and answer sheet included with the press copies of his debut solo album, titled McCartney.
In the Q&A -- which was written entirely by McCartney -- he asked himself several pointed questions about the future of the group. Macca explained his reasons for going solo, citing "business and musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family." McCartney went on to say that, "I do not foresee a time when the Lennon & McCartney partnership will be active again in songwriting."
In truth, the group had been dormant since John Lennon privately announced his split to MMacca and Starr during a business meeting the previous September. By all accounts, George Harrison was not present for the announcement. Lennon ended the meeting by revealing to the pair that he wanted "a divorce" from the group.
Tensions had been building between the Beatles since their return from India in the spring of 1968. A year later, when Lennon, Harrison and Starr out-voted McCartney into hiring manager Allen Klein to run their company Apple Corps, the rift began to deepen.
True to his decision, Lennon didn't attend what turned out to be the group's final recording session on January 3rd, 1970, when the Beatles taped Harrison's song "I Me Mine."
In the months that followed Lennon's private announcement, the Beatles gave interviews in which they all deliberately refrained from announcing the split. That February -- nearly five months after quitting the group -- Lennon told Rolling Stone that, "We still might make Beatles product. We just need more room. The Beatles are just too limited." That next month, both Starr and Harrison spoke to Britain's New Musical Express, with Starr stating that, "I've got things to do, George has things to do, and Paul has his solo album to come, and John has his peace thing. We can't do everything at once. Time will tell." Harrison added that, "Say we've got unity through diversity... We had to find ourselves individually, one day."
Later that year, Lennon spoke about Macca's announcement, telling Rolling Stone that "We were all hurt that he didn't tell us what he was going to do... A lot of people knew I left. I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record. I wasn't angry. He's a good PR man, I mean he's about the best in the word... he really knows how to do a job."
Paul McCartney said that the split from the group sent him into a huge depression for several months: "I was quite broken up by the end of the Beatles. I'd been trying to hold them together, but it was something that wasn't to be. So, you know, I went into a bit of a depression after that. And I'm normally quite optimistic, but, you know, I'd just lost the best job in the world, and anyone who's just even ever lost a job knows how that feels."
Although the split cemented the fact that the Beatles would no longer record as a single unified group, in December 1970 McCartney sued Lennon, Harrison and Starr to formally dissolve their business partnership. His suit ultimately put all the monies earned by the group in escrow for the next five years. The Beatles formal partnership stretched on until early 1975.
Their business problems carried on through the next 20 years before all their interpersonal lawsuits were settled. Today, the group's company, Apple Corps, is jointly owned by McCartney, Starr and the estates of Lennon and Harrison, and handles all past and future Beatles business.