Break-up of the Beatles

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The Beatles were an English rock band consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr from August 1962 to September 1969. Their break-up was a cumulative process attributed to numerous factors, such as the strain of the Beatlemania phenomenon, the death of manager Brian Epstein in 1967, McCartney's domineering role, Lennon's heroin use, his relationship with Yoko Ono, Harrison's prolific songwriting output, the floundering of Apple Corps and the Get Back project (later Let It Be, 1970), and managerial disputes.

During the second half of the Beatles' career, the members began to assert individual artistic agendas. Their disunity became most evident on The Beatles (also known as "The White Album", 1968), and quarrels and disharmony over musical matters soon permeated their business discussions. Starr and Harrison briefly quit the group during the making of The Beatles and Let It Be, respectively. Starting in 1969, the group split into two camps regarding who should handle their business affairs. McCartney lobbied for entertainment lawyers Lee and John Eastman, but was outvoted by his bandmates in favour of businessman Allen Klein.

The final time that the four members recorded together collectively was the session for Abbey Road's closing track "The End" on 18 August 1969. Lennon privately informed his bandmates that he was leaving the Beatles on 20 September, although it was unclear to the other members whether his departure was permanent. On 10 April 1970, McCartney issued a press release that stated he was no longer working with the group, which sparked a widespread media reaction and worsened the tensions between him and his bandmates. Legal disputes continued long after, and the dissolution was not formalised until 1974.

The members occasionally reunited for collaboration, but never with all four simultaneously. After Lennon's death in 1980, the remaining three regrouped for Harrison's song "All Those Years Ago" in 1981 and the Anthology project in 1994, the latter using the unfinished Lennon demos "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" as the basis for new songs recorded and released as the Beatles.

Background[edit]

By 1966, the Beatles had grown weary of live performance.[1] George Harrison was the first to tire of Beatlemania, while Paul McCartney continued to thrive on the adulation. McCartney finally ceded to his bandmates' insistence that the group stop touring towards the end of their August tour of the United States.[2] Afterward, Harrison informed manager Brian Epstein that he was leaving the band, but was persuaded to stay on the assurance that there would be no more tours.[3]

When the group convened to record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in November 1966, there was still a camaraderie and desire to collaborate as musicians; however, their individual differences were becoming more apparent. To a greater extent than the others, McCartney maintained a deep interest in the pop musical trends and styles emerging both in Britain and the United States, whereas Harrison developed an interest in Indian music, and John Lennon's compositions became more introspective and experimental.[4][5] In Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn's opinion, Sgt. Pepper represented the group's last unified effort, displaying a cohesion that deteriorated immediately following the album's completion and entirely disappeared by 1968.[6]

The Beatles filming their Magical Mystery Tour film, September 1967

Brian Epstein's management style was to let the group pursue their musical notions and projects, while often mediating when there was a conflict. This role began to diminish after the band stopped touring in 1966, although Epstein still exercised a strong influence, settling disputes among members and, most importantly, handling the group's finances.[citation needed] In mid-1967, Apple Corps was initiated under Epstein's oversight as a tax shelter endeavour. On 27 August, Epstein died of a medical drug overdose; the consequences of his absence, combined with the Beatles' inexperience as businessmen, led to an unexpectedly chaotic venture that added stress for the band during the coming months.[4]

Epstein's death left the Beatles disoriented and fearful about the future.[7] McCartney sought to initiate projects for the group, although his bandmates grew perturbed by his growing domination in musical as well as other group ventures.[8] Lennon later reflected that McCartney's efforts were important for the survival of the band, but he still believed that McCartney's desire to help came from his own misgivings about pursuing a solo career.[9] McCartney felt that the four members' evolution from musicians to businessmen was central to the band's disintegration.[10] Epstein's role as band manager was never replaced, and ultimately the lack of strong managerial leadership contributed significantly to the break-up.[11]

Another factor in the split was Harrison's growth as a composer during the second half of their career.[12] Many of his song ideas were rejected by Lennon and McCartney, especially from 1968 onwards.[13][nb 1] While this was partly indicative of the increased competition for space on album sides, with three songwriters in the band, Harrison's frustration fostered in him a sense of alienation from the Beatles.[16] He later reflected that at first he was content to make occasional contributions as a composer, and he only came to resent Lennon and McCartney's domination when he offered songs "that were better than some of theirs and we'd have to record maybe eight of theirs before they'd listen to mine".[17] Harrison became the first member of the group to release a solo album, with Wonderwall Music,[18] much of which was recorded in Bombay in January 1968.[19]

White Album and Get Back rehearsals[edit]

In May 1968, the band met at Harrison's home in Esher to record demos of songs later recorded for their November 1968 release The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). Contemporaneous reviews and retrospective commentary by the Beatles acknowledged that the double album reflected the development of autonomous composers, musicians and artists.[15] Rolling Stone later described it as "four solo albums in one roof".[20] McCartney described the sessions as a turning point for the group because "there was a lot of friction during that album. We were just about to break up, and that was tense in itself",[21] while Lennon said that "the break-up of the Beatles can be heard on that album".[22]

Lennon's wife Yoko Ono, March 1969

The sessions marked the first appearance in the studio of Lennon's new domestic and artistic partner, Yoko Ono, who accompanied him to EMI Studios to work on "Revolution 1"[23] and who would thereafter be a more or less constant presence at all Beatles sessions.[24] Ono's presence was highly unorthodox, as prior to that point, the Beatles had generally worked in isolation, rarely inviting wives and girlfriends to recording sessions.[25][nb 2] Lennon's devotion to Ono over the other Beatles made working conditions difficult by impeding the intuitive aspect that had previously been essential to the band's music.[28] Ono's presence was regarded as intrusive, and became a particular source of rancour with Harrison; because, since 1965, he and Lennon had bonded over their experimentation with LSD and Indian spirituality – two experiences that McCartney had approached with a level of caution.[29]

Lennon's and McCartney's artistic avenues became more disparate,[30] with McCartney disapproving of Lennon and Ono's experimental sound collage "Revolution 9",[31] and Lennon contemptuous of light-hearted McCartney songs such as "Martha My Dear" and "Honey Pie".[32] Harrison continued to develop as a songwriter, yet he received little support from within the band during the sessions.[33] Feeling resentment from Lennon and McCartney for his role in leading the Beatles to the Maharishi, Harrison's composition "Not Guilty" reflected his state of mind after their return from India.[34] Starr became increasingly dissatisfied with the standard of his drumming. According to author Mark Hertsgaard, this was "a feeling that [McCartney] in particular had done much to encourage".[35] Distressed also by the sour and tense atmosphere that was characteristic of the recording sessions,[36] Starr felt so isolated that he left the band for several weeks and holidayed with his family in Sardinia.[37] He returned in early September to find his drum kit decorated with flowers,[32] which were a gift from Harrison.[38] The strain of recording the White Album also took its toll on EMI recording engineer Geoff Emerick. Like Starr, he left during the sessions, which commenced in June and concluded in October.[39]

Upon completion and release of The Beatles, the band no longer gave collective interviews or recorded appearances, and public relations were carried out individually. Other evidence of the group's collective alienation came with the release of their 1968 Christmas fan club recording; the contributions were entirely individual and Lennon made disparaging remarks about his bandmates' apparent disdain for Ono.[40]

By the end of 1968, the Beatles' status as a group entity was in limbo. McCartney suggested a group project involving rehearsing, recording and then performing a set of songs for a live concert. The project soon adopted a working title of Get Back. Although the sessions for their double album had involved a degree of ensemble playing, the band were ill-prepared to settle comfortably back into this mode; in particular, Lennon had descended into heroin addiction, leaving him variously incommunicative or highly critical of the venture.[41]On 10 January 1969, eight days after filmed rehearsals commenced at Twickenham Film Studios, Harrison's frustration and resentment peaked and he informed his bandmates that he was leaving. Having enjoyed rewarding collaborations outside the Beatles during much of 1968, particularly with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan and the Band, the combined patronising by McCartney and estrangement from Lennon had taken its toll and the band were at an impasse and on the verge of collapse.[citation needed]

Ultimately, complicated negotiations brought Harrison back into the group's activities. At Harrison's insistence, McCartney's plans for a full concert were abandoned and the project was relocated to the band's Apple Studio in Savile Row,[42] with the focus now on merely completing a new album of some of the songs rehearsed at Twickenham. The Beatles gave their last public performance on the rooftop of Apple's headquarters on 30 January 1969, as a substitute for an audience-based concert.[43][44][45]

Business difficulties[edit]

A terrace house with four floors and an attic. It is red brick, with a slate roof, and the ground floor rendered in imitation of stone and painted white. Each upper floor has four sash windows, divided into small panes. The door, with a canopy over it, occupies the place of the second window from the left on the ground floor.
Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row

In early 1969, Apple Corps was plagued by mismanagement and was losing money. On 26 January, Lennon and Ono met with Allen Klein, an American music business manager, regarding managerial advice. Lennon requested that Klein represent his business interests in the band. McCartney, however, chose to be represented by American entertainment lawyers Lee and John Eastman, the father and brother of his girlfriend Linda Eastman, whom he married on 12 March. In April, after a series of rancorous meetings between Klein, the Eastmans and the Beatles, Klein was appointed as the band's business manager on an interim basis, with the Eastmans as the Beatles' lawyers. However, the band members' quarrels and disharmony over musical matters soon permeated their business discussions.[46][47]

Dick James, the managing director of Northern Songs (publisher of the Lennon–McCartney song catalogue) became increasingly concerned over the band's dissension and resentment towards him due to his refusal to renegotiate their royalty rate. Without informing Lennon or McCartney, James and Northern Songs' chairman Emmanuel Silver accepted a bid from the British entertainment conglomerate Associated Television (ATV) to sell their 32% stake in the company and recommended other shareholders do the same, which would give ATV a controlling interest. Lennon and McCartney, who together owned 26% of the stock, made a bid to gain a controlling interest in Northern Songs but were unsuccessful. The Eastmans and Klein soon developed an adversarial relationship given their disparate advice and counsel. Conflicting advice regarding an offer to purchase Brian Epstein's NEMS Enterprises, which still collected 25% of the Beatles' income, resulted in a missed opportunity and the Epstein family sold their 90% stake to Triumph Investment Trust instead.[48]

Given a choice between Klein and the Eastmans, Harrison and Starr opted for Klein. The Eastmans were dismissed as the Beatles' legal representation, and on 8 May, Lennon, Harrison and Starr signed a contract with Klein to be the band's business manager. This further aggravated the underlying mistrust and antipathy experienced within the band.[49][50][51]

Abbey Road and Lennon's departure[edit]

Lennon rehearsing "Give Peace a Chance", June 1969

With the troubled Get Back project put on hold, the group continued to record together sporadically during the spring and early summer of 1969. Otherwise, the band members became increasingly involved in activities outside the band; among these, Lennon launched an international peace campaign with Ono, spearheaded by their single "Give Peace a Chance";[52][53] Harrison continued to focus on producing Apple Records signings, including Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston and devotees from the London Radha Krishna Temple;[54][55] and Starr began to establish himself as a film actor.[56][57] Their occasional sessions together over the first half of the year ultimately paved the way for the Beatles' last studio recording project, Abbey Road.[45] The 18 August session for "The End" marked the final occasion that all four members recorded collectively.[58] The last time the foursome were together in the same studio was for the completion and mixing of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" two days later.[59]

On 8 September, while Starr was in the hospital, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison met to discuss recording a follow-up to Abbey Road. In the meeting Lennon and Harrison expressed frustration with having to compete with McCartney to get their songs recorded.[60] Lennon proposed a different approach to songwriting by ending the Lennon–McCartney pretense and having four compositions apiece from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, with two from Starr and a lead single around Christmas.[61][nb 3] Harrison referred to the possibility of a new Beatles album in an interview he gave in November, and he called this songwriting arrangement "an equal rights thing".[62] McCartney later dismissed the new division of songwriting, saying it "wasn't the right balance" and was "too democratic for its own good".[63] Speaking to Melody Maker in September, Lennon said: "The trouble is we've got too much material. Now that George is writing a lot, we could put out a double album every month ..."[64] During the 8 September meeting, McCartney expressed that, before Abbey Road, he "thought that George’s songs weren't that good", to which Lennon reacted by saying none of the other Beatles liked McCartney's "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and that those types of songs should be given to other artists to record.[60][61]

Soon after the sessions for Abbey Road, Lennon's heroin use inspired him to record "Cold Turkey" with his and Ono's conceptual group, the Plastic Ono Band, after the Beatles had rejected the song for release as a single. The formation of the Plastic Ono Band was conceived as an artistic outlet for Lennon and Ono, but the enthusiastic reception afforded their performance at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival on 13 September 1969 ostensibly crystallised Lennon's decision to leave the Beatles, which he made on the flight back to London. During a band meeting at Apple on 20 September, he informed McCartney, Starr and Klein of his decision (Harrison was not present at the meeting), telling them he wanted a "divorce". That same day, the band signed a renegotiated recording contract with Capitol Records, guaranteeing them a higher royalty rate.[65] The sensitivity of the negotiations with Capitol led to Klein and McCartney urging Lennon to keep his announcement private, which Lennon agreed to do.[65]

On 25 November, Lennon's comments from a recent radio interview were reported in an NME article titled "The Beatles on the Brink of Splitting".[66] Among his remarks, Lennon said that the running of Apple had superseded the band's music-making and he went "off and on" the idea of the group recording together again.[67] McCartney later recalled that in the three or four months after Lennon's announcement, he, Harrison and Starr would phone each other asking, "Well, is this it, then?" McCartney said that they suspected that it might be "one of John's little flings" and that Lennon might change his mind, since he "did kind of leave the door open".[68] In early January 1970, while visiting Denmark with Ono, Lennon told a journalist that "we’re not breaking up the band, but we’re breaking its image" and added that none of the Beatles were millionaires, which is why before long they would record a new album.[69]

Announcement[edit]

Release of McCartney and Let It Be[edit]

Having long attempted to maintain cohesiveness within the Beatles, McCartney secluded himself with his new family at his Scottish farm, distraught at Lennon's departure.[70] After being tracked down by reporters from Life magazine in late October 1969, McCartney said that "the Beatle thing is over", although the full meaning of this remark was ignored.[71][72] Effectively estranged from his bandmates and deeply depressed,[73] McCartney begun making a series of home recordings in London during December. Operating under strict secrecy, McCartney privately agreed on a release date for this proposed solo album, titled McCartney, with Apple Records executive Neil Aspinall.[74]

Let It Be producer Phil Spector (1965)

On 3 and 4 January 1970 McCartney, Harrison and Starr reconvened at Abbey Road Studios to record Harrison's "I Me Mine" and complete work on McCartney's song "Let It Be".[75][76] Both tracks were needed for the Let It Be album,[77] as the threat of legal action by American film company United Artists led to a decision to finally prepare the Get Back recordings and footage for release.[78][nb 4] On 5 January 1970 record engineer and producer Glyn Johns prepared an updated master tape for release,[80] but in March producer Phil Spector was invited to work on the tapes.[81] Although McCartney has claimed that he was unaware of Spector's involvement until receiving an acetate of the Let It Be album in April,[82][83] Peter Doggett writes of work being delayed for "several weeks" until McCartney returned "a string of messages" requesting his approval for Spector to start working on the tapes.[84]

Once Lennon, Harrison and Starr became aware that McCartney intended to release his solo album on 17 April 1970, the date was immediately deemed as problematic,[85][86] due to the existing items on the Apple release schedule – Let It Be and Starr's own solo debut, Sentimental Journey. On 31 March, Starr went to McCartney's house to tell him personally of the decision to delay the release of McCartney, news to which he reacted badly, dismissing Starr from his home and refusing to cede the date agreed to with Aspinall. Stunned at his bandmate's outburst, Starr relayed the situation to Harrison and Lennon, and McCartney's album was reinstated on the release schedule for 17 April.[87] McCartney's bitterness over this episode contributed to him publicly announcing his departure from the Beatles. He has also cited Spector's treatment of some songs on the Let It Be album, particularly "The Long and Winding Road", as another factor.[8] The chronological relevance of the latter claim is disputed by Starr, however, who stated that, when acetates of the album were sent out for each of the Beatles' approval, on 2 April: "We all said yes. Even at the beginning Paul said yes. I spoke to him on the phone, and said, 'Did you like it?' and he said, 'Yeah, it's OK.' He didn't put it down."[88]

McCartney's announcement came via a press release distributed to select UK journalists on 9 April, with advance copies of McCartney.[89] The press release took the form of a Q&A in which McCartney discussed his album and, with Lennon's exit still being withheld from the public (for business reasons),[90] matters pertaining to the Beatles' immediate future. McCartney did not state that the group had broken up, but he talked of his "break with the Beatles" and having no plans to work with the band in the future; he also emphasised his distance from Klein's management and ruled out the likelihood of ever writing songs with Lennon again.[91] Although McCartney said that Apple's press officer, Derek Taylor, submitted the questions, Taylor said that those concerning the Beatles were added by McCartney.[92][nb 5]

Doggett writes that, amid the uproar that ensued, McCartney returned to the issue of Spector's work on Let It Be "like a dog obsessively licking a wound".[96] McCartney had conceived of "The Long and Winding Road" as a simple piano ballad, but Spector overdubbed orchestral and female choral accompaniment.[8][97] On 14 April, McCartney sent a letter to Klein demanding that the new instrumentation be reduced, the harp part removed, and added: "Don't ever do it again."[98] Arriving twelve days after Spector had distributed the acetates with a request for any of the Beatles to contact him immediately with proposed changes, McCartney's demands went unheeded.[99] Klein claimed to have sent McCartney a telegram in reply to the 14 April letter (McCartney having changed his telephone number without informing Apple), but he received no response. Klein therefore went ahead with the manufacturing of the new Beatles album.[100] McCartney blamed Klein for Spector's involvement, since Klein had brought the producer over to London to work with the Beatles.[101] McCartney resolved to end his ties to Apple and the Beatles, as the only means to extricate himself from Klein.[102]

Aftermath and reaction[edit]

Newspapers around the world interpreted McCartney's remarks as an announcement that the band had broken up.[103][104] On 10 April, having been among the recipients of the Q&A, Don Short of The Daily Mirror reported on McCartney's departure from the Beatles under the front-page headline "Paul Quits The Beatles".[105][106] McCartney's bandmates viewed his announcement as a betrayal, particularly since he had used it to promote his solo album.[107] He was vilified by the group's fans and the press for his perceived role in the break-up.[108][109] McCartney later said that he did not view his comments in the self-interview as an official announcement.[110] According to Beatles confidant Ray Connolly, McCartney was "devastated" at the reaction his words had caused.[111]

From 10 April, reporters and some of the band's fans began gathering outside the Apple Corps offices at 3 Saville Row. A CBS News team reported that "The event is so momentous that historians may, one day, view it as a landmark in the decline of the British Empire ... The Beatles are breaking up."[110] Inside Apple, where he was being filmed for an episode of the BBC1 program Fact or Fantasy?, Harrison refused to speak to the media; after completing the filming, he watched an early edit of the documentary film The Long and Winding Road (later expanded into the 1995 series The Beatles Anthology). Asked for their response to McCartney's comments, Starr said, "This is all news to me",[110] and Lennon said: "It was nice to find that he was still alive. Anyway, you can say I said jokingly, 'He didn't quit, I sacked him!'"[112] Taylor issued a press release, which stated in part:

[The Beatles] do not want to split up, but the present rift seems to be part of their growing up ... at the moment they seem to cramp each other's styles. Paul has called a halt to the Beatles' activities. They could be dormant for years ... It is no secret that Klein and Paul have never hit it off ... He opposed the appointment of Klein and wanted to make his father-in-law [Lee] Eastman, a New York lawyer, manager.[110]

In the 18 April issue of Melody Maker, Richard Williams commented that, since the Q&A did not categorically state that McCartney had left the Beatles or would never record with them again, "What else is new? All these facts existed at the time of Abbey Road, but it didn't stop that album being made."[113] Williams dismissed the news as "possibly the non-event of the year",[114] since he believed the Beatles would continue as before.[113] In an interview for Rolling Stone that week, Lennon said that it was merely McCartney "causing chaos" in the same way that he used to "sulk" if Epstein would not let him have his way.[114] Lennon also said: "The cartoon is this – four guys on a stage with a spotlight on them; second picture, three guys on stage breezing out of the spotlight; third picture, one guy standing there shouting 'I'm leaving.'"[115]

In an interview he gave in New York in late April, Harrison stated that, even though he was about to record a solo album with Spector as his producer, it would be "very selfish" if the Beatles did not put aside their differences and record together again soon, given how much their music meant to listeners around the world.[116] Harrison said that, from its launch in 1968, McCartney had led Apple into financial problems and the others had then had to step in and try to remedy the situation. McCartney was unable to accept that he had less control than before, Harrison continued, and that, with their appointment of Klein, the others were putting the Beatles and Apple first rather than "trying to do what's best for Paul and his in-laws".[117] Harrison's message that the Beatles would regroup after each member had completed their solo projects was syndicated internationally.[118] Lennon also suggested that he was interested in recording again with the Beatles, saying of the current turn of events: "It could be a rebirth or a death. We'll see what it is. It'll probably be a rebirth."[118]

High Court suit[edit]

McCartney's wish to dissolve the partnership was problematic, since it would expose them all to enormous tax liability, and his pleas to be released from Apple were ignored by Lennon, Harrison and Starr.[119] McCartney said he struggled all through the summer of 1970 with the idea of having to sue his bandmates in order to be free of Apple and Klein. Anticipating the suit, Klein suggested that the other Beatles invite McCartney to a recording session in October where Lennon and Harrison were due to work on Starr's song "Early 1970". Klein reasoned that if McCartney attended, it would show that the Beatles' musical partnership was still active and undermine McCartney's case. McCartney did not accept the invitation.[120] In December, Harrison and McCartney met in New York to discuss their differences but the meeting went badly.[121] The press nevertheless interpreted the meeting as a truce between the two parties and, since Lennon was also in New York that month, reports insisted that the Beatles would soon re-form.[122]

On 31 December, McCartney filed a lawsuit against the other three Beatles in London's High Court of Justice for dissolution of the band's contractual partnership.[123] For Beatles fans, news of the action and the publication of Lennon's two-part "Lennon Remembers" interview in Rolling Stone increased the distasteful atmosphere surrounding the group's demise.[124][nb 6] Time magazine dubbed the confrontation "Beatledämmerung", in reference to Wagner's opera about a war among the gods.[127] By contrast, according to Guardian journalist Kitty Empire, writing in 2011, Harrison's All Things Must Pass triple album "functioned as a kind of repository for grief" for the band's fans.[128] In Doggett's description, the Beatles-related songs on Harrison's album "offered a teasing glimpse into an intimate world that had previously been off-limits to the public", and they introduced a self-referential trait in the ex-Beatles' songwriting that, for fans and the press, came to represent episodes in a public soap opera.[129]

The case opened in the Chancery Division of the High Court on 19 January 1971.[130] McCartney's counsel, David Hirst, told the court that the Beatles' finances were in a "grave state" and outlined the three reasons behind McCartney's claim for dissolution: the group had long ceased working together; in appointing Klein as the band's exclusive business manager, the other Beatles had acted in breach of the partnership deed; and throughout the four years of its existence, McCartney had yet to receive audited accounts of the partnership.[130] On 18 February, the day before proceedings began, the press announced three further reasons: Klein's attempt to postpone the release of McCartney; Klein and ABKCO's altering of "The Long and Winding Road" without first consulting McCartney; and ABKCO's transferral of the Let It Be film rights from Apple to United Artists without McCartney's approval.[131]

During the subsequent proceedings, McCartney's legal team focused on portraying Klein as a disreputable businessman,[132] and McCartney took the stand to state the case that the Beatles had long ceased to be a functioning band and their differences were irreconcilable.[133] The court heard affidavits from Lennon, Harrison and Starr in which they stated their past difficulties of working with McCartney but said that these had largely been surmounted and there was no reason that the band could not continue.[134] On 12 March, High Court judge Blanshard Stamp found in McCartney's favour and a receiver was appointed.[135][136]

Legal dissolution[edit]

The subsequent negotiations were lengthy as McCartney continued to demand his freedom from the Beatles and Apple, yet his own advisors were now giving him the same warnings regarding the potential tax liability as Klein had identified.[137] The other Beatles soon came to doubt Klein's ability to negotiate a successful settlement with McCartney, given the pair's ongoing antipathy;[138] they were also disillusioned with Klein for his mismanagement of Harrison's Bangladesh aid project,[139] and Lennon felt betrayed by Klein's lack of support for his and Ono's increasingly political music.[140][141] Lennon, Harrison and Starr formally severed their ties with Klein in March 1973, initiating a wave of lawsuits in London and New York.[142] In November, they sued Klein for misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.[143] Klein then countersued Apple for $19 million in unpaid fees. The cases were settled out of court in 1977 with Apple paying Klein $5 million.[144]

With Klein no longer managing Apple, the four former bandmates were able to work cooperatively towards a settlement. This document, known as "The Beatles Agreement",[145] was signed by the four in December 1974.[146] Photographer Bob Gruen recalled Lennon's bemusement at the length and intricacy of the settlement document, saying: "He told me that the original agreement between Klein and the Beatles had been two or three paragraphs on a single piece of paper. Now it was going to take an eighty-seven-page document to dissolve."[147] The formal dissolution of the partnership took place in London on 9 January 1975.[147][148]

Offers to reunite[edit]

Lennon in 1975 and McCartney in 1976

A wave of Beatles nostalgia and persistent reunion rumours in the US during the 1970s led several entrepreneurs to make public offers to the Beatles for a reunion concert.

  • 1974 – Promoter Bill Sargent first offered the Beatles $10 million for a reunion concert. He raised his offer to $30 million in January 1976 and then to $50 million the following month.[149][150]
  • 24 April 1976 – During a broadcast of Saturday Night Live, producer Lorne Michaels offered the Beatles $3,000 to reunite on the show. Lennon and McCartney were watching the live broadcast at Lennon's apartment at the Dakota in New York, which was within walking distance of the NBC studio where the show was being broadcast. The former bandmates briefly entertained the idea of going to the studio and surprising Michaels by accepting his offer, but decided not to.[151]
  • June 1976 – entrepreneur Alan Amron created the International Committee to Reunite the Beatles, asking Beatles fans worldwide to send in one dollar to then offer the money to the Beatles to reunite.[152][153]
  • September 1976 – Concert promoter Sid Bernstein ran full-page newspaper advertisements inviting the Beatles to reunite for a concert that would raise $230 million for charity.[154][155][156]
  • January 1977 – Amron partnered with boxer Muhammad Ali for a proposal to the Beatles to reunite to help create a $200 million charity fund.[157][158]
  • March 1978 – An environmental group called Project Interspeak announced to the media that they were planning a concert to raise money for anti-whaling efforts and suggested the Beatles would participate.[159][160][161]
  • September 1979 – Bernstein again appealed to the Beatles with a full-page newspaper advertisement asking them to perform three concerts to benefit the Vietnamese boat people.[162] At the same time another effort to reunite the Beatles for the same cause was sponsored by United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. Those discussions led to the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea in December featuring Wings but not the rumoured Beatles reunion.[163]

Further collaborations between members[edit]

In the ensuing years, the band members occasionally collaborated, but never with all four Beatles simultaneously. After Lennon's death in 1980, the remaining three reunited for the Anthology project in 1994, using the unfinished Lennon demos "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" as a basis for new songs recorded and released as the Beatles.[164]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In the early years, Lennon and McCartney were the band's primary songwriters and vocalists, with Harrison and Starr taking supporting roles. Lennon and McCartney would often compose one song per album for Starr to sing, while Harrison would either cover an old standard or record one of his own compositions. From 1965 onwards, Harrison's compositions started to mature and become more appealing in their quality.[14] Gradually, the other band members acknowledged his potential as a songwriter.[15][9][14][improper synthesis?]
  2. ^ McCartney's girlfriend at the time, Francie Schwartz, was also present at some sessions,[26] as were the other two Beatles' wives, Pattie Harrison and Maureen Starkey.[27]
  3. ^ In 2019, Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn said the existence of a tape of this conversation, which had been recorded for Starr's benefit, was "revelatory" and challenged the assumption that the band had never intended to record together again.[61]
  4. ^ Lennon did not participate as he was in Denmark at the time.[79]
  5. ^ Peter Brown, another Apple executive who helped in the promotion,[93] said that all the questions were written by McCartney.[94][95]
  6. ^ In addition, McCartney took out full-page advertisements in the music press, in which, as an act of mockery towards Lennon and Ono,[125] he and Linda extended Christmas greetings while dressed in clown costumes and wrapped up in a bag.[126]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lewisohn 2010, p. 210.
  2. ^ Rodriguez 2012, pp. 17–18.
  3. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 213.
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, Ian. Revolution in the Head, PIMLICO, 2005
  5. ^ Ray Coleman: Lennon: The Definitive Biography 3rd edition, Pan Publications, 2000
  6. ^ Lewisohn 2010, p. 237.
  7. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 268.
  8. ^ a b c Barry Miles: Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Owl Books, 1998
  9. ^ a b Jann Wenner: Lennon Remembers: The Rolling Stone Interviews, Popular Library, 1971
  10. ^ Business caused Beatles' break-up, McCartney says. (1986, Aug 22). Chicago Tribune (1963–Current File)
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