“The Beatles can’t save the world. We’ll be lucky if we save ourselves.”
“You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After The Breakup” is a page-turning masterpiece, which delves into the drama that played out post-breakup, while delivering a digestible and concise understanding of the business side of the story.
The landmark Sergeant Pepper album was released in June of 1967, manager Brian Epstein died the following month, and January of the following year The Beatles established Apple Corps Ltd. This is where author Peter Doggett picks up the story. Doggett’s impeccably researched book tells a vivid and gripping tale of the legendary and highly publicized breakup, from the petty personal squabbles to epic legal battles over ownership, trademarks, and royalties that went on for decades.
With or without this book, the story of the end of The Beatles plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy, with The Beatles as the young, naive and conflicted protagonists vying against one another while evil antagonists like the infamous Allen Klein did little to help the situation, along with parades of lawyers happy to join in for a cut of the riches. Other familiar characters like the often villainized Yoko Ono and frustrated Apple Corps Exec Neil Aspinall who was powerless to prevent the impending doom dance in and out of the colorful, yet sad tale.
One thing is clear, Peter Doggett loves The Beatles. and his even-handed account of who was to blame is proof of that. Doggett leaves the reader to choose sides (of which I chose Paul McCartney), in an embittered war over a rock band that evolved into a multi-billion dollar brand that quite possibly lost more money than it made, yet still left four guys from Liverpool richer than they could have ever possibly imagined.
One thing is certain, and that is that regardless of all the mess that followed, The Beatles, in Doggett’s own words, “created music of such joy and inventiveness that it captured the imagination of the world”. Not even the lawyers could take that away from us.
Of all the books I’ve ever read about The Beatles – and there have been quite a few – this is certainly the most captivating and intriguing of them all… so much so that I read it twice (Yes, I finished it, and then started at the beginning again. It’s just that good).
For other thoughts and suggested reading on The Beatles, click here