The Break-Up of The Beatles
OK, so this isn't really a rant, but several of you regular frequenters of this comm (including the mod) have asked me my thoughts on the Beatles' break-up, particularly Paul's role. Well, obviously I don't think you can point a finger and fix the blame completely on any one person (much as I would love to completely blame Yoko). No, I suppose everyone had a hand in it.
Let's start with the obvious, Yoko. Everyone (including myself), likes to blame the breakup on Yoko. I suppose that's because she's such an easy target, she's very difficult to like as a person (unless you are xxprettyinmetal or queenpeladon), and she used to steal George's food (THAT BITCH!!!!). That said, I don't think Yoko broke up that band, or even caused the break up. If anything, I think she was more of a catalyst. I think things were already starting get strained and bad among the boys well before she showed up, (what with Brian dying, leaving The Beatles with no manager, growing personality conflicts between Paul & George, financial issues with Apple, growing drug use, etc, etc, etc) and when she did show up, the manner of her arrival and the way John expected her to be immediately accepted by the other three as having every right to be there, caused huge contention in an already deteriorating situation. I don't doubt for a minute that Yoko tried to isolate and separate John from the other 3, especially Paul, and she acted as though she had every right to be there and be a part of "the Beatles." But in all fairness, that attitude of hers, which drives me completely nuts, wasn't totally her fault; John treated her like she did have every right to be there, and it was "his band" after all, so what was she supposed to think? It was obvious that she wasn't wanted, but none of the other 3 actually had the stones to say "John, we don't like Yoko, and we don't want her here." So instead they just shot her nasty glances, and a small resentment turned into a huge one over a short time.
Which brings me to John. John was an ass, we all already know that (and I wrote such a lovely rant about it on the first rant post), but I don't think that's what broke up the Beatles. No, I think his growing addiction to heavier and heavier drugs played a huge role, and the breakdown of his relationship with Paul. Not trying to downplay the roles of George, and Ringo, but let's be honest, there would be no Beatles if not for John and Paul, their song writing, and their bond. That said, when John started getting into heavier drugs, and Paul didn't, that was the first big rift in their relationship. Add to that, that no wives, girlfriends, or friends ever broke into the box that was "The Beatles" and no one, not even George and Ringo were able to break into the Lennon/McCartney team. Then one day, John just decided that Yoko was "it" for him, that they were joined at the hip, and that he couldn't live without her. Ok, I can definitely see falling very suddenly and unquestioningly in love, so fast that it hits you like a freight train. I get that. In fact, I've lived that. But seriously, John should not have expected everyone to look at Yoko and see everything he did. If he wanted her around, fine, let her sit up in the control booth while he made music with his band. If he wanted to make "music" with her, that's fine too, continue to make more albums with her. But don't assume that the other 3 people in your band are going to open up their arms after nearly a decade of playing together and say "yes, John, we'd love to have the GIRL who can't play an instrument and sounds like a cat being swung around by its tail when she sings, join our band. That'd be just great." Seriously John, what were you thinking? I'll tell you what he was thinking, he was thinking about himself, and ONLY himself. That mindset and selfishness by all of them is ultimately what brought the band down, IMHO.
The natural segway from John is to Paul. Pretty Perfect Paulie (another clue to who wrote this rant), who never did anything wrong, and only had the Beatles' best interest at heart right? Erm, kind of. I do think that Paul was the only person who took The Beatles' careers seriously after Brian died. Paul was the brain child behind Sgt Peppers (for which he will be punished later), Magical Mystery Tour, and Let it Be. Were these ideas great? In theory yes, and had someone like Brian actually been around to make things work, I think MMT the movie would have much more successful, and Let it Be probably would have faired better as well. Paul wasn't helping things either by turning into an over controlling perfectionist, who completely suppressed all of the other 3 Beatles' creative inputs, especially when it came to his songs. He took charge of the band and became quite bossy. But honestly, they let him. They sat there and grumbled under their collective breathes about how bossy and controlling Paul was becoming, but yet none of them were willing to step up and take the reigns. They all sat idly by while Paul tried to drive things on his own. It's a common theme among them all; they are all silly boys, who sat and grumbled and gossiped like old women, yet never ever talked anything out. I honestly think that had they actually sat down just the four of them and said everything that bothered them, and got everything out in the open, that would have cleared a lot of things up, and maybe we would have all been treated to some Beatles' disco. But no, because even when Paul requested that they meet just the 4 of them, John, Paul, George, and Ringo, to discuss the manager situation, John said "there is no John, there is JohnandYoko." *Le sigh* Yeah John, we get it, you two were in love, and you two were one unit and made all decisions together, but at that point, refusing to leave her even for a meeting? You're just saying that to be obstinate and because you know it would annoy Paul.
Oops, got sidetracked, back to Paul. I honestly think Paul tried, even after he was suddenly and without any warning replaced completely by Yoko. He even let John and Yoko move in with him when John first left Cynthia. But obviously he and Yoko didn't get along. Paul viewed Yoko as the unwanted interloper, and Yoko viewed Paul as a threat to her control over John. And I think both of them were quite jealous of the other's standing with John. Poor Cyn; she never stood a chance.
But back to Paul; Paul handled the entire Yoko situation badly. Why he never told John how hurt he was by being suddenly cast aside, I don't know, but if I had to guess, pride was the causal factor. One of those immature "well if John can't tell on his own what's wrong, I'm certainly not going to tell him" mindsets that women are most often guilty of (not calling Paul a woman, but gosh those eyelashes!....). So I think Paul eventually reached a breaking point after recording Abbey Road. I think he was fed up, tired of having the other three "gang up" on him over the manager issue, and so instead of being mature about it and just saying "I quit" and walk away (which is what John and George pretty much did) he sued the other three to official & legally end The Beatles. Kind of like a spoiled little boy who, if he can't play with a toy he loves anymore, he's going to break it so no one else can play with it. And I haven't even touched on some of the more sneaky, back-stabbing things that Paul did (well, which they all did, except for Ringo maybe), because honestly I don't think it matters at this point to list all the little nasty things they did to each other (plus my book that points most of these out is currently being loaned to a friend, and I don’t want to misquote anything); it should suffice to say that by the end there, battle lines were drawn, and feelings were hurt, and the idiotic men weren't talking about anything, just making snide comments.
Now onto George, the most useless member of the Beatles (but that’s an entirely different rant), and the most ungrateful, complaining, bitch of the bunch (yeah OK, over the last year I’ve become less and less impressed with George, but again, that’s a different rant). My personal feelings aside, I do think George exacerbated the problem. He was never up front with his feelings or aired his grievances to the others (well, none of them did, silly men that they were), but instead chose to sit along the sidelines and make cutting/snide/hurtful comments, without ever really coming out and saying anything. Obviously George was jealous of John & Paul, and dare I say, with good reason. His writing was nowhere near their’s, and because of that, he rarely got any record space, and as he once said he had “so many songs in his head by the end, that it would have taken 50 years to get them all out on record at the rate they were going.” I could make some snide comment about how I think that’s actually a good thing, since I don’t like his music in general, but instead I’ll sympathize with him about how much being overshadowed by John and Paul and being considered a “Lesser Beatle” had to really have sucked. But he handled it badly. He could have voiced his issues with the band, but didn’t, instead he pouted, and then acted like some predatory cat circling John and Paul waiting to exploit any weakness between them. OK, I need to end this paragraph now, even though there are many many more things that George did to contribute to the break up, but unfortunately, my personal dislike for the man is so strong that I don’t think I could rationally discuss them, so in the interest of fairness, I will end it here.
I think Ringo was mostly blameless. He strikes me as just being happy to be there, and along for the ride, and ready and willing to go with whatever the majority wanted to do. I guess if any blame had to be placed on Ringo, it could be said that he sat idly by, and let the band fall apart with his inaction, and non-confrontational behavior, but I don’t think that’s really fair either, since I honestly believe that Ringo was the glue that kept the band together those last 3 years. The Beatles didn’t have room for one more monster sized ego, and Ringo was definitely the peace-maker of the bunch. I’m even going to go out on a limb and say that we have Ringo to thank for “Let it Be” and “Abbey Road.” I believe that his calming, non-confrontational presence & personality kept the band from completely falling apart long enough for them to eek out those last two albums.
Obviously I haven’t really touched on the crazed fans, roadies, and the many other things that contributed to the break-up (ie Apple & Manager woes), but I think this rant has gone on long enough. BTW, I’m not trying to start any fights, offend anyone or anything like that. These are just my personal thoughts on the break-up, so don’t be hatin’!