Acid Heroes

August 25, 2009

Why the Beatles Broke Up: the Backwords Theory

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John Lennon summed it up as neatly as ever: “I started the band, and I disbanded the band.” The Beatles were basically John Lennon’s band. He was the driving force. “You could see he was the spark behind the whole thing,” said boozing buddy Harry Nilsson. Even though McCartney may have come up with the concept and the packaging for albums like Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour, it was Lennon that gave the concept its psychedelic power. “We were all in love with John,” said Paul. And THAT was the driving force behind The Beatles.

Everyone in Lennon’s orbit competed for his friendship, his approval, and his love (so-called). “John rarely tolerated a dissenting opinion and always had to get in the last word,” said Lennon gofer Fred Seaman. What broke up The Beatles was that McCartney finally got tired of playing second fiddle to Lennon. By the time of the White Album, McCartney realized he was a musical genius and began to notice that he was the one coming up with most of the hit records. So he began veering off on an independent path. Something that Lennon would never tolerate. Lennon demanded complete subservience. He demanded total loyalty. Even as he rarely gave it back. He often pointed out that when he was young he always surrounded himself with a gang of friends — “toadies” — who would do his bidding. That’s just the kind of guy he was. McCartney would talk about the incredible “peer pressure” that Lennon and the other Beatles inflicted on him when he initially refused to take LSD like the rest of them.

In retrospect, the weirdest thing about The Beatles to me was how they always looked, dressed, acted, talked, and drugged alike during the different phases of The Beatles career. Lennon would have tolerated nothing less from his “mates.” But it’s kind of weird when you think about it. Could you imagine walking around everywhere with 3 other guys who dressed and talked just like you?

“John was always the loudest person in every room,” said Paul. But as McCartney pushed into his late 20s, I guess he got tired of being a toadie. The final rupture occurred when McCartney — an astute businessman — decided he wanted nothing to do with a rat like Allen Klein, the guy Lennon wanted to hire as The Beatles manager. Subsequent events would prove McCartney right, as even Lennon would later concede. But to Lennon, McCartney’s actions were an example of the highest form of treason. Why, he refused to go along with what Lennon wanted. So Lennon, as was his character, spent the rest of his life viciously attacking McCartney.

In truth, the amazing thing is that The Beatles (or any band) stayed together as long as they did. Not that they eventually broke up.

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5 Comments »

  1. A theory indeed, but all in all, backwards, ace, but that’s how you can imagine it, but not live it apparently,
    and can only write about it, while they were living people, man.
    So because you hit your sister when you were a child, and are currently on prozac, you are a violent drug crazed lunatic? So be it! Write it in your story, a personal reflection! How novel an idea me thinks.
    Instead, in your hands you take potentially creative moments from your life to think to re-write some event, NO one can really understand, as only each (beatle) had his own mind. That goes for anyone, for that matter.
    Keep cranking out the fiction ! It’s exposure baby! Hey psst. Paul died too.

    Comment by yesman — September 26, 2009 @ 3:29 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the comments, Yesman. You’ve confirmed my worst fear re publishing ACID HEROES: That I’ll be bomb-barded with incoherent babble from all the acid casualties. No, I never hit my sister, and I’m not on prozac (Are you hallucinating again, dude?). Nor am I “violent.” But I have to cop to being a “drug-crazed lunatic.” So you’re two out of three there.

      Comment by Ace Backwords — September 28, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

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