and in the end

4 stars

This was a fascinating non-fiction book about the last year or two that the Beatles were officially a band. It focuses on the business fights regarding band managers, royalties and control of Paul and John’s original songs, as well as the philosophical differences of the band members.

Considering how influential The Beatles are, it’s crazy to remember they were only together as a band for 10 years, and stopped performing live the last couple of years. This book starts with events in January 1969, just as the band starts working on the “Get Back” film and album project. Right away the author sets the scene, describing the frayed nerves and tension between band members. We then take a rollercoaster ride of hurt feelings, betrayals, egos, and business and legal positioning. It’s shocking that they were actually able to produce an album during the chaos.

It’s clear the author did his research. He weaves band member interviews throughout the book to tell the stories, as well as interviews he conducted of people that witnessed certain events. Not having a head for business, I must confess that most of the business shenanigans went over my head. There is A LOT of that in this book, so reader beware. After a certain point, I found myself skimming those sections because it was just too much for me.

While public opinion largely blames Yoko Ono for the break up of the Beatles, the author doesn’t bash her too much in this book. She was definitely an odd, quirky “artist” and a polarizing personality. It’s clear, however, that there were many reasons for the band’s split, and she was just an easy scapegoat. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely seemed to have hastened the band’s break up, but based on everything else that was going on, it was just a matter of time before the foursome parted ways.

There are too many issues discussed in the book to go into detail, but if you’re interested in the Beatles and want to know what REALLY happened right before, and during, their break up, this is the book for you.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.