Why the Beatles Broke Up: The New Issue of Rolling Stone

August 19, 2009 1:33 PM ET

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.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »