Great New Book for Beatles Fans

You Never Give Me Your Money is the title of a new book on the Beatles, and while ostensibly it focuses on the post-breakup years (thus the subtitle The Beatles After the Breakup) the first 100 pages describe the legal entanglements and personality conflicts between the Beatles in the waning days of the group.  You get the feeling that it was not a whole lot of fun being a member of the biggest rock group in the world in the late 1960s.  Following the death of their manager Brian Epstein and the establishment of Apple Records, the attempts to bring order to their business dealings only increased their hostility towards each other, as personal ambitions also were coming to the fore. 

This book is unique in Beatles biographies in that it mostly refuses to take sides and choose heroes and villains.  Allen Klein and Yoko Ono, who are often cast as the bad guys in Beatles lore (though Yoko's reputation seems to have been rehabilitated somewhat in recent years) are treated fairly overall.  Yoko takes some of the blame for John Lennon's low/low-quality output in the 70s, but he certainly had no shortage of other personal issues as well.  George Harrison perhaps comes off best even as the shabbiness of much of his post-Beatles output is considered.  Despite his willingness to work with other Beatles, he also seemed the most opposed to ever reuniting the band, largely because of personal conflicts with Paul McCartney.  McCartney, though, is perhaps the most confounding to consider.  He was the one (besides Ringo Starr) who was most opposed to splitting up the Beatles, but was also the one who announced he was breaking away first.  His reputation is that of a charmer but he also suffers major foot-in-mouth syndrome.  Lennon's realness fascinates people while McCartney's articificiality has helped him become a showbiz survivor.

Most tantazlizing though are the various near-misses of Beatles reunions.  Despite their insistence that a reunion would never happen, there are quite a few instances of possible one-off concerts and Lennon/McCartney writing sessions that would not come to be because of legal and/or personal reasons.  Lennon was starting to write again at the time he was killed and had plans to visit McCartney in New Orleans - could this have led to something previously thought improbable???

The final third of the book, after Lennon's murder, is not as captivating as the rest, as it covers the personal reconciliations and attempts to deal with the band's legacy.  Overall, though, this book is as well-written as any music biography I've read and was a real page-turner.

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