You Never Give Me Your Money
Veteran music reporter Peter Doggett offers a heartbreaking but fascinating account of the postbreakup Beatles.
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And don’t hope for anything much better from the others. George Harrison comes across as a grouchy guy who tried to keep the world at bay with Krishna chants and who began to fear a crazed assailant long before one ever found him. Ringo Starr seems to have spent many of the post-Beatles years trying to drink himself to death (although he has been sober for more than a decade now).Skip to next paragraph
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If the Beatles don’t come across well, neither do many of those who surrounded them. The mismanagement of their affairs was stunning – both on their part and that of others.
Doggett, however, is too clear-eyed to try to foist too much of the blame onto any one individual. Some of the frequently targeted villains in the Beatles saga are on display here – business manager Allan Klein and the infamous Yoko Ono, to name two – but this is a sophisticated narrative that recognizes that the mistakes and miscues were too multiple to attribute to any one figure. Neither does Doggett ask us to choose between John and Paul, casting one as a saint and the other as a sinner. Although the reasons behind some of Paul’s business decisions seem clearer in this telling than in many others, both men come across as flawed – albeit highly gifted – individuals.
What should please fans, however, is that Doggett clearly loves his subjects. Despite some of the dirt he’s forced to dish, his tone is always respectful and often rather affectionate. He never seems to forget the overwhelming talent and charm that these four boys from Liverpool generated both individually and collectively and that, ultimately, that’s the only reason we’re still reading about them all these years later.
Paul and Ringo, as the two surviving Beatles, are probably smart enough to stay away from any and all Beatles books these days. But the rest of us – who can’t help ourselves – can be grateful that, if the Beatles’ story must be told, it has fallen into a pair of hands as capable and caring as those of Doggett.
Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor’s book editor.