On January 30th, 1969, the Beatles made their last public appearance, performing a gig on the roof of Apple Records. A year later, they were done for real: Paul McCartney sued to dissolve the band, concluding what Mikal Gilmore calls "one of the most mysterious and complicated end-of-romance tales of the 20th century."
But what really did the Beatles in? In our new issue, on stands today, Gilmore launches an exhaustive, fresh investigation into an oft-examined topic, recounting the last years of the world's greatest group — the tumultuous time during which they released their best work. Tracing the Beatles' artistic conflicts over the White Album sessions and Let It Be, as well as the management shifts that brought Allen Klein to power and changes in the bandmembers' personal lives, Gilmore comes to the conclusion that the demise of the Beatles was far worse than a "divorce," as John Lennon had referred to it. "The Beatles' end was an accident, a maneuver by John Lennon that went horribly wrong," he writes in our story behind the story.
"Why the Beatles Broke Up" is on newsstands now. Read Gilmore's essay explaining his conclusions — and how he arrived at them — plus flip through an illustrated guide to the Beatles' last days and photos of their entire career, as well as a guide to their full catalog, and hear audio from Jann S. Wenner's landmark 1970 Lennon interview at our Essential Beatles Coverage page.