1969-1970: Break-Up

The last two years of the group sees endless in-fighting. Paul struggles to keep The Beatles together but personal relationships are breaking down.

  • Jan 1969  Yellow Submarine, the soundtrack, is released in the U.S. and reaches the number two position on Billboard's album chart. The White Album is number one.
  • The Beatles perform together for the last time on the rooftop of Apple Corps Ltd. in London.
  • Sept. Lennon privately decides to leave the Beatles.
  • Abbey Road is released in the U.K. where it soars to the top of the charts. It is the Beatles' last studio album.
  • Nov. Lennon returns his Member of the British Empire medal as an anti-war protest.

The terrible atmosphere in the studio affects the production of Let it Be - as can be seen in this short clip:

Editing the resulting mess was eventually farmed to Phil Spector to edit - with controversial results. Meanwhile The Beatles briefly ceased hostilities long enough to produce a fitting finale to their recording career - the magnificent Abbey Road.

  • Jan. 11 1970 McCartney announces that he has left the Beatles.
  • May Let It Be, which was recorded before Abbey Road, is released in the U.K. where it rockets to the number one position on the British album chart.
  • Let It Be, the documentary, premières in London. None of the Beatles attend.

The End

By late 1969 The Beatles were falling apart, with several walk outs or threatened walk out by Ringo, George and John. But perhaps surprisingly, it was Paul McCartney who officially announced he was leaving The Beatles in January 1970.  

John was predictably enraged at having been upstaged and from they communicated through their lawyers and bitter interviews in the music press. 

The dream was over, as John put it. Only the music lived on.

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