10 Reasons The Beatles Broke Up

Other than the magnificently transportive music they made that shaped the way pop music itself was conceived, made, and culturally codified thereafter, one of the key things that makes The Beatles such a compelling band is the strength of their myth. Now, I have personally bored many people senseless in conversation, and even in podcasts, on the nature of The Beatles as a story, not just as a musical act.

What kind of story are we talking about exactly? I’ve come to believe that their story is a quest myth, and a coming of age story all rolled into one. To the former, it really is a story full of colourful characters that seem to be so huge that recognizing the fact that they were and are living, breathing human beings is rational, but not quite complete. They were, and are, more than that. This is because they take up space in our imaginations as much as they did and do in real life time and space. But as to the latter, the coming of age part of the equation, that’s the aspect of The Beatles story that adds a splash of mournful blue to the psychedelic spectrum. For something to be so wonderful to those outside looking in, it couldn’t possibly have been made to last.

As with everything in life, the answer to Why Did The Beatles Break Up? is and always has been more complicated than one factor affecting the whole. As much as fans like me venerate the people involved, we are talking about human beings here, however talented. They were subject to conflicting forces and grey areas that we all are. What were those forces according to me at least? Here in (very!) rough chronological order are at least 10 for you to consider, Good People.

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Ringo Starr Sings ‘Early 1970’

Here’s a clip featuring Liverpudlian tubthumper, singer, compulsive peace-sign flasher, and birthday boy Beatle (he’s 71 today!) Ringo Starr. It’s his 1971 B-Side (to his smash hit single “It Don’t Come Easy”) dedicated, even then, and in the midst of legal wrangling in some cases, to his former bandmates in the Beatles.

The song reveals a couple of things about Ringo. First, that his love for rockabilly and country music was absolutely ingrained in his approach. And second, that he was, even early on, the keeper of the flame where spirit of the Beatles is concerned.

He was seemingly above all of the squabbling even at its worst. He  always seemed to know best among all four men, that they had created something bigger than all of them. It certainly appeared that he felt it was bigger than their differences at the time.

This song is a clear call to friendship, aimed at each band member, with a verse dedicated to each (and one that pokes fun at his own musical limitations). But, there is a point of view that is more cynical where this track is concerned. Read more