Friday, September 05, 2008

The Beatles...After The Break-Up In Their Own Words

by David Bennahum

The first book of Beatle quotes about their lives after the end of the group. What John, Paul, George and Ringo have to say about...
The Beatles' Break-up, Each Other, Family, Religion, Business, Solo Work, Re-union Rumours, Themselves, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Money, Live Work.

"Big bastards, that's what The Beatles were. You have to be a bastard to make it. And The Beatles were the biggest bastards on earth." John Lennon

"I refuse to be a leader and I'll always show my genitals or do something which prevents me from being Martin Luther King or Gandhi and getting killed." John Lennon

"Yes, I was in The Beatles. Yes, we made some great records together. Yes, I love those boys. But that's the end of the story." Ringo Starr

"The biggest break in my career was getting in The Beatles in 1963. The second biggest break since then is getting out of them." George Harrison

"Don't ever call me ex-Beatle McCartney again. That was a band I was with. Now I'm not with them." Paul McCartney

"I'd like to play with the other guys... You never know, The Beatles might feel like getting back together again." Paul McCartney

Includes quotes from before and after John died, and many previously unpublished pictures. This book, compiled by David Bennahum, completes The Beatles' story.

Born in New York in 1968, David Bannahum graduated in Literature from Harvard University in 1990. He is single and still lives in New York. This is his first book.


After Brian (Epstein) died we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles? We broke up then. That was the disintegration. John, 1970

No matter how much we split, we're still very linked. We're the only four people who've seen the whole Beatlemania bit from the inside out, so we're tied forever, whatever happens. Paul, April 1970

I didn't leave The Beatles. The Beatles have left The Beatles but no one wants to be the one to say the party's over. Paul, 1970

'Wedding Bells' is what it was: "Wedding bells are breaking up that old gang of mine". We used to sing that song...It was like an army song and for us The Beatles became the army. We always knew that one day 'Wedding Bells' would come true, and that was when it did. Paul, October 1986

The actual story in my mind is that it was all getting a bit sticky during the 'White Album'. And 'Let It Be' was very sticky -- George left the group then, and so did Ringo, but we managed to patch that back up. The dates are all purple haze to me, but at some point -- after 'Let It Be' was finished, and about the time I was wanting to put the 'McCartney' album out -- we had a meeting at the Apple office, and it was like, "Look, something's wrong and we've got to sort it out." I had my suggestion: I said, "What I think we ought to do is get back as a band -- get back as the little unit we always were. I think we ought to hit small clubs and do a little tour." I just wanted to learn to be a band together again, 'cause we'd become a business group. We'd become businessmen. So that was my big suggestion. And John looked me in the eye and he said, "I think you're daft. In fact, I wasn't gonna tell you...but I'm leavin' the group." To my recollection, those were his exact words. And our jaws dropped. And then he went on to explain that it was rather a good feelin' to get it off his chest -- a bit like when he told his wife (Cynthia) about a divorce, that he'd had a sort of feeling of relief. Which was very nice for him, but we didn't get much of a good feeling.

At first we agreed not to announce it. But after three or four months, I got more and more guilty about people saying, "How's the group going?" when we sort of knew it was probably split up. So I did a kind of dumb move in the end, and when I look back on it, it was looks very hard and cold. But I was releasing the 'McCartney' album, and I didn't really want to do much press for it; so I told a guy from the office to do me a list of questions and I'll write the answers and we'll print it up as a pamphlet and just stick it in with the press copies of the album. The questions were quite pointed, and it ended up being like me announcing that The Beatles had broken up. John got quite mad about that, apparently -- this is one of the things he said really hurt him and cut him to the quick. Personally, I don't think it was such a bad thing to announce to the world after four months that we'd broken up. It had to come out sometime. I think maybe the manner of doing it I regret now -- I wish it had been a little kinder, or with the others' approval. But I felt it was time. Paul, January 1986

We didn't accept Yoko totally, but how many groups do you know who would? It's a joke, like Spinal Tap. You know, I loved John, I was his best mate for a long time. Then the group started to break up. It was very sad. I got the rap as the guy who broke the group up. It wasn't actually true. Paul, October 1986

When I was in The Beatles I could never understand when they said: "What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?" It was a joke question. We always used to say, "We'll burst with it -- ha, ha."

It was the only thing we could think of, just to answer the thing. But I never took it in. I never understood what they meant. What does it mean, "when the bubble bursts, I'll be dead?" When it bursts, I'll be dead. Never understood the question really. I never took it in until The Beatles broke up. And they were always going on about "the pressures." I could see there were pressures. I couldn't feel them! I was just a rocker...I didn't begin to feel any until the big, dramatic breakup of The Beatles. Paul, 1984

It's just like divorce. It's that you were so close and so in love that if anyone decides to start talking dirty -- great, then Pandora's box is open. That's what happened with us. Paul, November 1987

Immediately after the breakup of The Beatles I felt, "What am I gonna do?" I then went into a period when everybody started to call me a hermit in isolation...I was trying to get normal again, and giving myself time to think, what do I want to do? Paul, 1984

When The Beatles split up, I fell on the rocks. I've been accused of walking out on them but I never did. It's something I'd never do. One day John left and that was the last straw. It was the signal for the others to leave. The Beatles were a blanket of security. When the job folded beneath me, suddenly I didn't have a career any more. I wasn't earning anything. All my money was in Apple. I couldn't get it because I'd signed it all away. I stayed up all night drinking and smoking and watching TV. I lost all my security. I had no idea what to do, there seemed no point in me joining another group. Paul, 1984

There was a certain amount of relief after that Candlestick Park concert. Before one of the last numbers, we actually set up this camera -- I think it had a fisheye, a very wide-angle lens. We set it up on the amplifier and Ringo came off the drums, and we stood with our backs to the audience and posed for a photograph, because we knew that was the last show.

There was a sense of relief after that, getting home. Then we spent what seemed like fifty years going in and out of each other's houses, writing tunes and going into the studio for 'Sgt. Pepper' and the 'White Album'. But for me, I think for all of us, it was just too much. The novelty had worn off. Everybody was growing up. Everybody was getting married and leaving home, in effect, I think it was inevitable really. George, November 1987

I realise The Beatles did fill a space in the '60s and all the people The Beatles meant something to have grown up. It's like with anything. You grow up with it and you get attached to things. That's one of the problems in our lives, becoming attached to things, and it's appreciated that people still like them. But the problem comes when they want to live in the past and they want to hold on to something and are afraid to change. George, 1974

All this stuff about The Beatles being able to save the world was rubbish. I can't even save myself. It was just people trying to put the responsibility on our shoulders. The thing about The Beatles is that they saved the world from boredom...But we didn't really create any great change, we just heralded that change of consciousness that happened in the sixties. We went along with it, that's all. The whole Beatles thing is a nightmare. I don't even like to talk about it. I just hate it. George, 1983

Beatle producer, George Martin, said recently how he always felt sorry because he concentrated more on them and he should have paid more attention to me. He said, "I hope you'll forgive me." But I'm quite happy with my role in The Beatles. You know, it split up because of all those problems, there were too many songs. Because we got too close to each other, but I'm quite happy about the way things went. I feel that whatever I am now, I always have been that, you know. Maybe different things have taken longer to reach the surface or whatever, but I'm who I am and I am not really that much different to how I was then. Maybe I'm more able to express it or maybe people are more interested now in what I have to say. Because in the sixties and the early seventies they thought I was a loony. George, 1988

I think being (a Beatle) was much more difficult. I mean, it was fun for a long time, but there was so much pressure on us. It became really tiresome and it was good, in a way, to dissipate that energy that there was with the four of us together. You know, let it go away so that we could have some semblance of a life. Otherwise it would have just been madness continually. George, 1988

Even now I look back and I can see, relative to a lot of other groups or pop music in general, The Beatles did have something. But that's relative to that. Relative to something else...I can accept whatever The Beatles were on those terms. But it's a bit too much to accept that we're supposedly the designers of this incredible change that occurred (in the '60s). In many ways we were just swept along with everybody else. George, November 1987

Yes, I was in The Beatles. Yes, we made some great records together. Yes, I love those boys. But that's the end of the story. Ringo, 1978

Things were getting a bit rough, and I'd left The Beatles for a couple of weeks because I couldn't take it any more. So I went on holiday with my family to Sardinia. A friend lent us a boat, and one day the captain served us some octopus for lunch. Naturally we all went, "Urrgghh-ah! No thanks. Have you got any egg and chips?" But I started talking to the captain, and he told me all about octopuses, how they go 'round the sea-bed and pick up stones and shiny objects and build gardens. I thought, "How fabulous!" 'cause at the time, I just wanted to get out of (The Beatles) for a while. Of course, I ended up going back to the group because I couldn't play with anyone better. But that's how 'Octopus' Garden' came about. Ringo, April 1981

Yoko's taken a lot of shit, her and Linda (McCartney); but The Beatles break-up wasn't their fault. It was just that suddenly we were all thirty and married and changed. We couldn't carry on that life any more. Ringo, 1981

I'm not sorry I went through it (Beatlemania), but that was then, and we had a lot of good times, but I don't really ever want to do it again. I don't want to go on the road again; I enjoy the studios more now. Ringo, January 1974

The '60s was totally different. I mean, that was the fabs up there, this was just the greats (Ringo's All-Starr Band tour of 1989). It was a zoo attitude. They just came to see you, no one could hear anything. By 1965 we were turning into such bad musicians 'cos we were just playing chords on the beat. There was no groove to it, and that's why we stopped (touring). Ringo, January 1991

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