I have a few other thoughts about The Beatles as an organization, brought up by doing some extra reading about the band (references listed at the end of the post) and spending more time in their musical catalog. While I’ve come to really enjoy their music, their story has become the more fascinating element; while it has been written about and discussed endlessly, the history of the Beatles as an organization has a few interesting components that I think deserve a fresh perspective.
When anyone speaks of the breakup of the Beatles, most fingers point to Yoko Ono’s presence and/or the power struggle between Paul and John regarding the musical direction of the band. It’s only been somewhat recently that Yoko’s “role” in the band’s dissolution has been reconsidered more thoughtfully. At the time, her very existence as John’s partner and her physical proximity to the band during a time when the Beatles were coming apart at the seams meant she was an easy target in the media. Also, as an Asian woman, she came in for a LOT of racist and misogynist treatment. (For a very good primer on Yoko Ono the individual and her life and times related to the Beatles, listen to this episode of the You’re Wrong About podcast.) While the narrative that “Yoko broke up the Beatles” may never fully die, it’s more accepted today that at worst her presence may have just exacerbated tensions in the band, and at best, had nothing at all to do with it. In Get Back, Paul McCartney actually predicts how the story of the Beatles and Yoko will go, saying that in 30 years, people would complain that they broke up “because Yoko sat on an amp!” and it wouldn’t really be true. So if we can now reconsider the narrative about Yoko, perhaps we can reconsider the self-told narratives about how the Beatles broke up.Continue reading