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Author Topic: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?  (Read 4417 times)

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chimac

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Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« on: August 28, 2011, 12:40:47 AM »

It's always interesting to read other people's opinions, particularly on the cause of the Beatles' breakup.  Most people bring Yoko and Linda into it; I agree they played a part, but it was only a bit part.  There were other Beatle wives, Beatle girlfriends all along.  The boys were perfectly able to get work done regardless of the domestic situations.

For me...the reason always came down to business and hurt feelings.  Once John and Yoko fell in with Allen Klein, and then George and Ringo went along with it...the writing was on the wall.  Klein is *not* a Paul kind of guy.  As a smarmy, fast talking New York "hustler", he put Paul off from the beginning.  In John's defense, he read this as earthiness, as Klein being "real" and "working class".  Paul simply didn't like or trust him.  People forget that Paul pushing the Eastmans as an option came *after* Klein was foisted on him.  Looking back, it's obvious he wasn't going to sway the others with a potential relative.  The Eastmans wouldn't have been my choice for that reason, regardless of business acumen.  But, from Paul's point of view, he just knew he could never work under Klein and this was the easiest alternative.  Sad.

That's when things went from awkward and passive-agressive, to outright heated amongst the Beatles. Keep in mind there was open hostility here between Klein and Paul, his "client".  It's crazy to realize that once John told Klein he was leaving, that Klein actually wanted him NOT to tell Paul.  It's more sad to me (and telling) that John basically AGREED, until he famously let it out of the bag during a Paul pitch session.  Paul, who was his partner for almost 15 years, was now out of the loop; replaced with a guy who John barely knew!  This was when the Beatles really ended, IMO.

Paul has been described as "the one who wanted to keep it going the most", to which I agree.  However, it's neither a point in his favor nor against.  For every person that finds that quality admirable, there is another who would read that as a weakness of Paul's.  It's relevant only in the sense that once Paul retreated and created his first solo work, there came a point in which he finally was ready--mentally and emotionally--to go solo.  And for Paul, coming to that painful conclusion was met with the realization that business-wise, Klein and the other 3 had zero intentions of letting him out of the contract.  On this point I agree with Paul:  once you decide amongst yourselves that the "Beatles" as an entity no longer exists, then why not TRULY split and each go his own way, allowed to succeed or fail on your own?  Hence, Paul's lawsuit. 

He ate a lot of crap over that lawsuit, but it was the right call, imo.  I liken it to getting a divorce, but then your ex-wife and her new lover get the 2nd floor of your house, and you keep the 1st floor.  How could that ever be workable?  The Beatles were too close to ever JUST be business partners, coming together for a new "Beatle product" every 4 or 5 years.  And you know what?  Thank God they didn't.

It then came to be all-out war once Klein had the others feeling like they had one over on Paul (the contract binding them together for 20 years) and started to flex that a bit.  I vaguely remember an anecdote (correct me if I'm wrong) where in reference to the solo album, Paul had been told by George "It will f***ing come out under Apple.  Hare Krishna."  Now, I love George, but I can totally see him saying that.  George could be every bit a jerk as Paul and John in his own way, and maybe this was his way of getting back at Paul for being increasingly told how to play his parts in Paul songs.  Paul threw Ringo out of his house after he tried to get him to switch the release date of "McCartney".  My point is, all of these strange and aggressive behaviors revolved around business matters, NOT Yoko & Linda or the other wives.

I think history has proven Paul right, as far as his business acumen is concerned.  Klein *was* a dirty leech, and John and George in particular had nasty legal battles with him, not to mention choice words.  And wasn't Lee Eastman the one who advised Paul to get into music publishing?  Buy the songs you love?  I wish Paul had gone about things differently, but on the key business points, Paul made all the right moves and the others made all the wrong moves towards the end.  Paul always had the financial upper hand from this point forward.  And that contributed to hurt feelings and petty blow-ups long after the emotional scarring of the breakup had healed.  The Beatles were never going to be "equal" again.  Paul being Paul, probably wasn't going to let any of them forget that, either.  John, George and Paul always struck me as guys who held grudges waaay too long.  It's a pity they didn't have Ringo's personality in this regard.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2011, 02:11:57 AM »

Great post chimac, and a warm welcome to DM's.

You've pretty much summed up the way I've always viewed it. For me, Klein was always a much bigger villain in the break up process than Yoko (or Linda, who tends to get less criticism). But I tend to agree with John Lennon... the beginning of the end was the death of Brian Epstein. Once The Beatles were exposed directly to the world of "business" (from which he had always shielded them) they were helpless.  Apple was a calamity. They could be painfully bad judges of character - it wasn't just Klein who milked the bandwagon. They were taken in at one time or another by everyone from The Maharishi to Magic Alex.
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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2011, 02:40:37 AM »

Yes, welcome to the Forum, chimac.  It's a pleasure having you here.

You've also expressed my feelings on this matter.  And I, too, agree that Brian Epstein's death precipitated the events which followed.  I've always been critical of Baby You're A Rich Man to the point where I shut the album off after Penny Lane sacrificing All You Need Is Love as well.  Somehow those two songs, coupled the way they are, show a side of John Lennon I do not particularly care for. 
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Toejam

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2011, 08:41:54 AM »

One thing I can never quite work out is why it all went so bad so suddenly during the White album sessions before the buisness side of things really started to get seriously problamatic. Obviously Yoko going along to the sessions wasn't a good idea and maybe it was indicative of Johns lack of real concern about the band but there had always been arguments for e.g Paul didn't even play bass on She said she said 'cause he'd walked out of the studio after an argument. I'd love to know what happend on that day. The engineer Norman Smith has said the Rubber soul sessions were marked by John and Paul arguing but the arguing seems to have just quite suddenly and seemingly inexplicably got much worse after they got back from India. That seems strange to me but ultimately obviously if they had agreeed on a way forward on the buisness side of things then things wouldn't have got so bad although Yoko making her opinions known about the music in the studio must have been bizzarre and I can see how the other 3 ended up hating her for it. Then there's Johns heroin addiction. I think that just made him a very irritable and unhappy person and when people get like that then they inevitably become a pain in the ass. Paul always was a pain in the ass and George just got fed up of being dissed and Ringo...well he didn't really have much say in things did he?
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chimac

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2011, 04:10:17 PM »

Great to see other opinions here.  Each of you touch on good points.  All of these things helped precipitate the fall...

RE:  Brian Epstein.  My opinion on Brian was always that he probably WASN'T the best money manager, but he didn't play favorites.  He might have fancied John, but he sided with Paul on enough Beatle decisions (such as who gets the "A" side), where no one was worried about favoritism.  In short, he had the Beatles' best interest in mind...as an entity.  I too kind of soured on John's attitude during the Klein era, where he felt the need to bash Brian.  When you think about it, once Brian died...there was a tremendous power vacuum.  Everyone at Apple, not to mention outsiders like Klein, were all clamoring to get "in" or establish their secure perches.  No doubt there were a lot of whispers to the boys, like "Brian really mismanaged your money, guys.  Look at what he did here, here and here.  Why, if that was *me*, I would have done this...and made / saved you a ton of money."  They were all being convinced that billions of dollars were flushed down the drain by Brian.  John could be easily taken in when he let himself.  And "Baby You're a Rich Man" is a pretty classless tribute to a guy who was still covered in fresh dirt.

RE:  The White Album.  I’m not sure things went bad suddenly at this time.  I would say the rifts became transparent at this time.  Meaning, there were definitely arguments in and out of the studio all along up to this point.  Even in the early interviews, they talk about having little "rows".  It's just that they didn't linger because the boys were still tight then.  They were still living inside the same bubble.  My theory on India is this:  Brian was gone, and now each didn't have marching orders in front of them.  So they could do what they wanted, individually, without someone telling them "you will be in India from this date until this date".

Without that schedule, it's evident that the 4 had different agendas.  George and John seemed to expect the most out of India, as they stayed there the longest and latched on to the Maharishi.  Paul left rather early, as I recall.  He did his bit, wasn't particularly enraptured by the giggling guru, then got out when he felt he absorbed what *he* wanted.  Ringo was there the shortest time.  He seemed to view it as a terrible place to vacation.  He probably had the best BS detector among the group:  he didn't go there looking for a magic yogi.  I always sensed a little resentment from George and to a lesser extent, John, about this.  It was as if "we really feel this is the new thing...and you guys obviously don't take it as seriously".  But it's simply because they were now masters of their own schedules--not going through Brian anymore--that you could see the individual Beatles start to express themselves more.  No more matching suits, no more Sgt. Pepper outfits...from here on out this was even reflected in their individual fashion sense.
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Toejam

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2011, 04:01:32 PM »

Great to see other opinions here.  Each of you touch on good points.  All of these things helped precipitate the fall...

R John could be easily taken in when he let himself.  And "Baby You're a Rich Man" is a pretty classless tribute to a guy who was still covered in fresh dirt.



BYARM was actually released before Brian died. It was the b-side to All you need is love.
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nimrod

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2011, 10:28:48 PM »

I always thought Rich Man was a sort of jokey light hearted dig at Brian, typical of Johns humour, there is a rumour that John sang Baby Your A Rich f** Jew.....and Brian thought it was hilarious, theres no doubt in my mind that John had a deep affection for Brian.

As regards the break up to save me doing my 2 finger typing all over again I'll paste this from the McCartney thread;

from all the reading Ive done and interviews Ive read etc Id place a lot of the blame for the break up on Paul.

... the main reason there was a backlash against Paul was that he was was taking over the band, becoming the leader, the idea's man, the musical director, the frustration shows in Harrisons "I'll play whatever you want or I wont play at all' and Lennons 'Let It be is basically the Paul McCartney show'.

Ive played in enough bands to have seen there is usually someone who 'appoints' himself as the unofficial boss eventually and that can rub people up the wrong way when a band is supposed to be a sort of equal concept.
Theres a part in the Imagine film where theyre eating at the table and joking (obviously aimed at Paul IMO) about 'Beatle Ed' being no 6 in Sweden, this again shows the general animosity the others had towards Paul especially as he tried to foist his father in law Lee Eastman onto the other 3 as the new manager, surely for decisions like that, the majority vote should rule but Paul was having none of that and it ended up in court.
Im not saying Paul was totally the bad guy here but just saying that he shoulders some of the blame for the break up and just because he wanted to keep going and doing more gigs doesnt make him a saint.


Theres no doubt that he was the keenest to keep it all going towards the end and he had seemingly more energy than the others but in some ways his eagerness and desire to start the band doing gigs again kinda ended up having a negative effect, the others saw it as him being bossy and pushy and reacted against that by being even more ambivalent towards the band and him.
Had Paul took a step back and diplomatically let things unfold in time the others may have decided to put the band on the back burner and do solo things.....in other words, take a sabbatical.
The Stones and other big name bands have done this successfully so I dont see why The Beatles couldnt have taken that path, yes John privately announced he was quitting the band but as we (and surely the others new) John could change his mind overnight, sadly though I think Paul caused all out war with his releasing McCartney before Let It Be complete with the infamous included 'interview' insert, and of course with his stance re Lee Eastman.

I think the women (especially Yoko) played a big part too, as far as Im concerened she didnt like John being tight with Paul (or anyone else).
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 08:42:53 AM by nimrod »
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chimac

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 07:06:48 AM »

I always thought Rich Man was a sort of jokey light hearted dig at Brian, typical of Johns humour, there is a rumour that John sang Baby Your A Rich f** Jew.....and Brian thought it was hilarious, theres no doubt in my mind that John had a deep affection for Brian.

I dunno, it's hard for me to picture Brian truly thinking that was hilarious.  I recall reading somewhere else that John had referred to Brian's book "A Cellarful of Noise" as "A Cellarful of Boys" in front of the others, and Brian was hurt.  Seems only natural; a comment like that is *meant* to hurt.  I ascribe it to John's personality, which could be sour at times, particularly when he felt he needed to impress the others or show how sharp he was.  Brian would have been an easy target.

And you're right...at the same time, John did have a deep affection for Brian.  He was truly an enigma.   :)
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Toejam

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 07:56:00 AM »

I dunno, it's hard for me to picture Brian truly thinking that was hilarious.  I recall reading somewhere else that John had referred to Brian's book "A Cellarful of Noise" as "A Cellarful of Boys"

That was after it was decdied to call it a Cellarful of noise. When Bryan first told John he was writing a book John is reputed to have said 'call it Queer Jew' which made Brian cry.
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In My Life

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 03:41:25 AM »

Quote from: chimac
He was truly an enigma.

That he was. I have read so many contradictory things about him that I am never sure if I like him or not. I think he was brilliant and funny but terribly wounded.
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tkitna

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 01:13:19 PM »

Theres no opinion as to why they broke up, its due to all the well known factors that have already been mentioned. No one thing caused it, but the combination.

Gary910

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 08:44:40 PM »

I agree there was no single event that broke them up. My list of events/attitudes are as follows:

1. The decision to stop touring
2. Figuring out that they could send an album on "tour". (Sgt Pepper)
3. Growing up.
4. Brian's death and lack of a leader. As John had been the leader, Paul wanted to assume the role, then subsequent resentment.
5. Independence as evidenced by the "White Album". (John, and a backup band... Paul, and a backup band...etc.)
6. Disagreements about where the band was going. By 1969, Paul wanted to play live again.
7. The wounds that the "Get Back" sessions inflicted.
8. Allen Klein vs The Eastmans - debate.
9. Yoko, Linda and resentment from John against Linda, Paul and George's resentment of Yoko.
10. Growing up (again) and wanted to explore their own options.
11. George's walking out.
12. Ringo's walking out.
13. Tired of playing with the same guys.
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nimrod

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2011, 12:27:43 AM »

^ sadly yes
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2011, 08:05:44 PM »

Apart from all the well known factors, maybe they didn't have anything new to say (or play) as a group.
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Gary910

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 10:13:32 PM »

Apart from all the well known factors, maybe they didn't have anything new to say (or play) as a group.

Number 13 on my list...
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 10:49:49 PM »

Number 13 on my list...

Yeah, but apart from being tired of playing together they had already done a musical cycle, completing the full circle. Maybe it was a good time for the Beatles to be disbanded, if they didn't have nothing innovative to give. They could have gained a bad reputation as other great groups like the Stones and the Beach Boys that continued recording during decades. Just see the solo careers, there was some good music, yes, but nothing groundbreaking. But who knows, being together they could have done more magical things. Anyway, the Beatles belong too much to the 60's, and there's no Beatles outside of that decade.
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nimrod

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2011, 12:52:36 AM »

They could have taken a sabbatical and met up two years hence with new ideas maybe..

I believe that wasnt possible thought due to Pauls stance against Klein and his pro eastman stance (he shouldve accepted majority view imo) also his unreasonable releasing of McCartney before Let It Be complete with an interview sheet that said he didnt miss working with John or the others and throwing Ringo out of his house, kinda burnt bridges really.
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Gary910

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2011, 01:30:47 PM »

It would not be accurate for me to say I am happy they broke up, but I do think it was the right time. I think they could have made other good music together, but sometimes it is better to quit when you are still on top. I agree the Stones have gone on too long (I know that is not exactly what you said).

I think they made some great music on their own. It is a pity that we no longer have two members of the band. I think it would have been great to see more of the get together (on a small scale, if that is possible) once in a while. I would have liked to see John and Paul play together again, write a song or two, and then go their own ways again, to rejoin a couple of years later.
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2011, 03:30:50 PM »

Actually I meant that about the Stones. I love them, but I don't care about anything they did after 1972.

The Beatles and "musical revolution" mean the same, and I think that's an image that would have been stained if they had continued recording together. But yes, it would have been great for fans to see them together again, at least for a brief moment.
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BeatlesForever

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Re: Opinion on why the Beatles broke up?
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2011, 04:18:09 PM »

How's it going fellow Beatles fanatics? I hope that everyone's weekend is going well. There were so many reasons as to why THE BEATLES broke up. I like to think and go by what Paul McCartney said in an interview a while back which I know many of you are aware of. It goes something like this:

There were four of us, we were young kids that joined the Army together. We learned a lot from one another, we loved each other like Brothers. We grew to need each other. We went through so much together. As time went on, we grew up from being kids to young men. When it was time to leave the Army, as men, we said our goodbye's and went our own ways and started our own families.

In my opinion, that pretty much sums up THE BEATLES. It was never meant for THE BEATLES to continue on. After all, THE BEATLES are THE GREATEST band that music ever produced, all the other bands that were to follow after THE BEATLES, had to catch up with them since THE BEATLES are still a hard act to follow to this day. THE BEATLES achieved and accomplished the impossible in 8 years, it usually takes other artists or bands a lifetime to accomplish what THE BEATLES did in 8 years. THE BEATLES did a lifetime's worth of music in 8 short years. THE BEATLES broke up while they were still in their prime, had they stayed together, no telling what THE BEATLES would have done. Take care.         
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