This is the story of the last acrimonious days of The Beatles, a final chapter reconstructing for the first time the seismic events of 1969, the year that saw the band reach new highs of musical creativity and new lows of internal strife. Two years after Flower Power and the hippie idealism of the Summer of Love, the Sixties dream had perished on the vine. By 1969, violence and vindictiveness had replaced The Beatles’ own mantra of peace and love, and Vietnam and the Cold War had supplanted hope and optimism. And just as the decade foundered on the altar of a cold, harsh reality, so too did The Beatles.
In the midst of this rancour, however, emerged the disharmony of Let It Be and the ragged genius of Abbey Road, their incredible farewell love letter to the world.
Scottish journalist McNab trudges month-by-month through the discordant days of 1969, the year the Beatles imploded, in this informative though uneven history. In a tedious narrative jumping from one minute detail to another ("the only major hitch was the late arrival by train from Birmingham of Paul's best man, his brother Michael") McNab reveals the creative miasma and artistic stasis that had engulfed the band in its last days. He covers the antagonism toward Yoko Ono and John Lennon flowing under the faltering relationships, often resulting in intense bickering between band members. By the end of February, George Harrison, hurt and angry that neither Paul nor John wanted to include many of his songs on albums (he had considered giving "Something" to Joe Cocker), was ready to leave the band. The dissolution of the Beatles also grew out of each musician's chasing after solo recording contracts and gigs. In spite of the acrimony and ego, the four lads agreed, by the end of June 1969, to do one more for the road, Abbey Road; on April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney "officially announced to the world that the Beatles had split." McNab's straightforward detailing of the demise of the Beatles will appeal to die-hard Beatles' fans who thrive on the nitty-gritty.