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You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles Paperback – 7 Oct 2010
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"Enthralling...impossible to put down...fascinating" (Independent)
"A gripping account that portrays The Beatles as something much more interesting than the airbrushed gods we've recently seen" (Guardian)
"The Beatles story you haven't read" (GQ)
"Refreshingly straightforward and highly readable portraits of the leading players...compulsive" (Daily Telegraph)
"Truly remarkable...a gripping narrative...the most important book on its subject since Revolution In The Head" (Sunday Herald)
The most important book about the Beatles since Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head.See all Product description
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One person who comes out of this account with surprising integrity is Allen Klein, usually portrayed as the Demon King, but here revealed as a particularly astute businessman doing an impossible job with impossible people, while managing to generate far more income for his clients than they had previously enjoyed.
Impossible the members of the Beatles most certainly were after the breakup.
John was obnoxious and never saw a looney protest movement he didn't like, although the FBI and the CIA, who were both monitoring him, came to the conclusion that he was too addled with narcotics to present a revolutionary menace. Paul was domineering and petulant, although his ferocious work ethic paid off. George was so pious that the reader wants to shake him, hard. Ringo was drunk.
Quite how four lovable young men turned out so dysfunctional can be attributed to the weird bubble they inhabited from their early 20s onwards, together with the ingestion of industrial quantities of illicit substances and a distinctly odd choice of marriage partners. But at least the lawyers were happy.
Doggett follows the tangled trail right through to its bitter end, when like some monstrous metaphor, cancer ate its way through the Beatle circle. The dream was over.
McCartney comes out looking best, he fought to keep the band together and behaved the most logically in terms of wanting a real financial divorce. Harrison is presented as a far more well rounded character and it's clear that his dislike of McCartney and loyalty to Lennon clouded his judgement at terms of going with Klein. Starr comes across as the most down to earth but with a hard edge that we've not really seen before. He, alongside Lennon, seems the most lost after the Beatles break up as he lacks McCartney's musical career or Harrison's wider interests such as religion, film making and gardening.
Finally there is John Lennon. For all the beauty of his songs, he comes across as an horrific man. It would take a utterly frank interview from Paul McCartney (which Doggett assures us won't be forthcoming - Macca hiding, quite sensibly - behind official anecdotes that he trots out when needed) to explain just why he bothered with Lennon post 1970. I think it's fair to say that Paul desperately missed both the friendship and the song writing, but was it worth it? Lennon's treatment of his first wife and son Julian; Ono and May Pang were all pretty awful and his 70s existence at the Dakota is far nearer Goldman's assessment than his folderol about making bread and playing house with Sean. Ono comes across as a parasite that Lennon desperately needed.
The financial woes that they band experience post break up is fascinating as it is exhausting. It's the dark shadow of being a Beatle and must have been very stressful. Likewise the drug and alcohol intake of all concerned (yep - even Wings) seems to have eroded their talent. McCartney's nomadic existence compounded by drugs and without any dissenting voices meant his solo career has been hit and miss, where it had always been hit. Harrison had scaled down his career to part time by the end of the 70s but his cocaine and womanising habit means that he spends a lot of time appearing very cold. Starr's recovery in the 80s and beyond is encouraging and by touring with his All Starr Band he's found some peace. Lennon's 70s are a disaster. His political adventures are a joke, after lecturing the world about being JohnandYoko he drunkenly falls back into being John and you feel his best chance would have been to have settled down with May Pang and started working with McCartney as much for his mental health as anything else. His reunion with Ono leaves him hiding in the Dakota in a state of spiteful depression.
Well written and insightful, I'm not sure about Doggett's sources, but he appeared to me to be both credible, objective, and unbiased. It was a riveting read, and helped me understand things even better than before, particularly the early seventies and immediate post break up time.
It seems even more plausible that the fabs would have reformed at some point, according to Doggett, but Yoko got in the way initially, and then later of course, it was never to be, after Lennon's untimely death.
Highly recommended, the best Beatles book since Revolution in the Head. I'd callthis is the first '21st Century Beatles book', as it seems to have been able to mop up so much of the last 20 years too into a cohesive sweep, and retell this wonderful, captivating story from a new perspective - quite an achievement.
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