“January 10. Got up. Went to Twickenham. Rehearsed until lunchtime. Left The Beatles. Went home.”—George Harrison’s diary of the first split up of The Beatles in 1969 from And in the End, a book about the band’s breakup.
Was it really Yoko who split up The Beatles? Well, she certainly didn’t help the widening divide between John and Paul. John’s increasing heroin use also didn’t restore their collaborating spirit. In fact, all the band members felt Paul was using all three as “McCartney’s sidemen” rather than equal collaborators as they used to be. The failure of Apple Corps, the business end of The Beatles, was also seen as Paul’s failure, which caused many in the band to lose a substantial portion of their personal wealth.
Born at the tail end of the Baby Boomer generation, I missed Beatlemania. I knew who they were, of course, but they had already broken up by the time I started listening in earnest. And in the End is great at setting the scene so even if are unfamiliar with the news at the time, you can still relate to the story.
In fact, it is an almost universal band breakup story. All the members became famous as a group. But as individual members looked around at the others, they began to perceive they were being treated unfairly or their voices were not being heard. Also, their personal yes-men were building them up only to have a more famous member of the band tear them back down. As a long-term band member friend told me, “a band is like a marriage between 4 people and when they grow up their paths and motivations change just as anyone’s would.”
There are many surprising secrets within this book. If you are a Beatles fan, or wonder what all the noise is about, this is a must-read behind-the-scenes look at a famous band amidst their breakup. 5 stars!
Thanks to Thomas Dunn Books, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.