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You Never Give Me Your Money

Veteran music reporter Peter Doggett offers a heartbreaking but fascinating account of the postbreakup Beatles.

By / January 13, 2011

You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup By Peter Doggett Harper 390 pp.

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My husband John knows everything there is to know about the Beatles. Or so we thought.

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Then his son Mitch handed him a book-shaped package at Christmas. “A Beatles book!” we all cried in dismay as John tore off the wrapping. “He already has them all.”

“Not this one,” explained Mitch. “It’s new. It tells what happened to the Beatles after they split.” You could almost feel us all thinking: “Is that going to be very interesting?”

The answer is: Oh yeah.

My husband read You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup by Peter Doggett in practically a single sitting and then I rapidly followed suit.

What we discovered was a frequently sad but always credible tale well told by a man who knows his field. Doggett, who is a veteran music reporter, has drawn on an astounding array of sources and a sea of interviews to put together a compelling, cogent, well-crafted narrative about the Fab Four and their lives from 1970 on. Because of the depth of his material (his interviewees include Yoko Ono, Derek Taylor, Neil Aspinall, George Martin, Alistair Taylor, May Pang, Cynthia Lennon, James Taylor, Louise Harrison, Michael McCartney, and Leon Russell) Doggett is able to offer multiple points of view and postbreakup portraits of all four Beatles that feel genuine.

If you are a fan, don’t expect to be delighted by what you will discover. The boys don’t often come across well. According to Doggett, neither John Lennon nor Paul McCartney was ever able to rise above their mutual jealousy and resentment. John behaved with a blinding selfishness throughout much of his life, and Paul never seems to have been able to get the better of his controlling nature. Between the two of them, they seem to have jinxed several tantalizingly near misses in terms of trying to get the band back together in the years after 1970.

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