Lennon’s heroin habit. A hare-brained plan to play on an ocean liner. And a road trip from hell with Yoko. A new book about The Beatles’ final days reveals the REAL reasons they split up

As 1969 dawned, The Beatles appeared to be riding high on the success of the ‘White Album’ and the ‘Hey Jude’/‘Revolution’ single, both huge hits for their new Apple Records label. In reality they were unravelling, as Apple haemorrhaged cash, John Lennon immersed himself in heroin with new love Yoko Ono and the band embarked miserably on a new, back-to-basics album. Amid weddings, bed-ins and drug busts, The Beatles eventually made two albums in 1969 – ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Abbey Road’ – but it was also the year they secretly split, torn apart by money, business strife – and Lennon’s decision to supplant Paul McCartney and make Yoko his creative collaborator…  

They didn’t care too much for money

The Beatles’ Apple organisation, conceived by McCartney as a hippy boutique, record label and multimedia company that would offer grants to visionary artists, spent £1.5 million of the band’s money in 1968 – the equivalent of £30 million today – but made only £78,000. ‘Apple was like playing Monopoly with real money,’ said Lennon later. Meanwhile, each Beatle had hugely overdrawn their company expense accounts – Lennon by £64,000, McCartney by £60,000, Harrison and Starr by around £35,000 each. When accountants questioned why the drug-addled Lennon was spending so much money on ‘sweets’, an Apple employee recalls, ‘I had to point out they weren’t really sweets.’ Lennon’s skin was sallow, his pupils dilated, his eyes sunken and he later blamed his drug use on the other Beatles and their attitude to Yoko. ‘John was strung out on heroin so he behaved like most junkies – manipulative, self-centred, in pain,’ says Barry Miles, a friend of the band. To cap it all, the highly competitive Beatles were furious to discover that The Rolling Stones were making more money than they were, despite selling fewer records.

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One thought on “Lennon’s heroin habit. A hare-brained plan to play on an ocean liner. And a road trip from hell with Yoko. A new book about The Beatles’ final days reveals the REAL reasons they split up”

  1. So very but tallies with what a friend of Lennon’s told me about what caused the break-up, and it wasn’t due to Apple.

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