Friday, July 2, 2010

"You Never Give Me Your Money"

It's a great song, of course, but it's also the name of a new book by Peter Doggett about the famously ugly breakup of The Beatles (I made mention of it a while back). Below is a pair of positive, in-depth reviews. Note to Hugo Lindgren of Bloomberg Businessweek: I read your piece with interest and learned from it, but the Metallica comparison was not at all instructive. Therapy?

From the LA Times:
But equally disruptive was the group's partnership agreement, dismantled only at the end of 1974. Until then, all four Beatles shared equally in the proceeds of one another's albums, guaranteeing resentment from the bigger sellers (Harrison and McCartney, primarily) as well as an abiding feeling of being trapped. How could they be considered to have broken up, "You Never Give Me Your Money" asks, when for years after their final recording sessions, they were regularly brought together for lawsuits and contractual negotiations and maintained a financial stake in one another's work? It was only in October 1996, after McCartney, Harrison and Starr finished work on the final "Anthology" CD set of unreleased outtakes and alternative versions from the Beatles archive, that Apple released a statement declaring, "The end has finally arrived."

From Bloomberg Businessweek:
Of course, money alone was too weak an incentive to keep the Beatles together. Although they disgraced themselves fighting over it, they always had plenty. Up until Lennon's murder in 1980, the Beatles were routinely offered giant sums to reunite, including a $30 million offer for a single album from David Geffen in 1974, which sounds like a ton of money even today.

Had they been less financially secure, the Beatles might have had no choice but to soldier on. That was the Stones' secret. As British music journalist Nick Kent describes in his recent memoir, Apathy for the Devil, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards couldn't afford their own Lennon-McCartney-style psychodrama. Around the same time the Beatles imploded, Jagger, writes Kent, "discovered that most of the money the Stones had made in the Sixties had been pocketed by manager Allen Klein along with all the rights to their recorded back catalogue."

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