Quick Review: You Never Give Me Your Money

This book by Peter Doggett, which shares its name with a Beatles song from the Abbey Road album, is about the interactions between the Beatles from 1968 through today. While most of the information about 1968 to 1970 can be found elsewhere, the rest of the book was illuminating what happened between the four after the break-up.

Once the Beatles broke up (unofficially in 1969 and officially in 1970), the four members went their separate ways. In the forty years since then, the relationships have been primarily marked by two types of events:

1. Squabbles.

2. Brief moments of friendship.

The squabbles began in the late 1960s as Apple Corps started falling apart and the group couldn’t agree about who should handle the business end of their relationship. Reading about all this took some of the tarnish off what I knew about the Beatles. The author kept hinting at this as well; despite all the great music and idealism, the band couldn’t even be friends after breaking up.The Beatles, heroes to many, were reduced to sniping at each other over money and control.

The brief moments of friendship were pretty consistent. However, a lot of the talk about possible reunions (and they received a number of large offers) tended to push them apart rather than pull them together. It seems that they eventually realized that once they were Beatles, they couldn’t stop being Beatles. But they also chafed at being remembered together, as if they didn’t exist as competent individuals.

Ultimately, the events recorded here say much about human frailty – even some of the best musicians are just human. In fact, it is remarkable that the individual members were able to produce some of the fine solo work that they did while the business and personal fights were taking place in the background.

So while the Beatles will remain known for their music, innovation, and idealism, they can also be remembered for their faults.

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