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Why did The Beatles split up?

The band changed the face of music as we know it, and many things have been blamed for their disbandment

392279 03: (FILE PHOTO) The Beatles, left to right, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon (1940 - 1980) arrive at London Airport February 6, 1964, after a trip to Paris. It was reported November 8, 2001 that Harrison is undergoing cancer treatment in a Staten Island, N.Y., hospital. The 58-year-old ex-Beatle was diagnosed with lung cancer and a brain tumor earlier this year. (Photo by Getty Images)
The Beatles were comprised of Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and John Lennon and they were a band from 1960 to 1970. (Getty Images).

The Beatles are one of the most important bands to ever exist in the history of music, but despite the impact they had the group weren't together for all that long.

Consisting of members Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, the group reached starry heights thanks to their talent and skills as musicians — releasing 12 studio albums including Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Be and Abbey Road.

Read more: Why it’s taken 43 years for the final Beatles single to be released

The quartet debuted in 1960 and changed the face of music in the 10 years they were a band together, and now a previously unheard song featuring all four members, titled Now and Then, is set to be released into the world.

But what was it that tore them apart? We trace back the history of their feud in search of an answer.

When The Beatles catapulted to stardom in 1964 they created a movement known as Beatlemania, and the experience led to various highs and lows, and unique issues coming to the surface between them that then became too much to deal with by 1970.

There were many things that got in the way and led to rifts developing, rumours persisted of Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono being the catalyst for their disbandment but the reasons are more complicated than just a woman "coming between them".

A rift between John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Musicians John Lennon and Paul McCartney introduce Apple Corps to the United States. Press conference took place at the Americana Hotel, New York. (Photo by Sal Traina/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)
John Lennon and Paul McCartney were the main songwriters of the band and developed a rivalry with each other over the years. (Getty Images)

Lennon and McCarthy were the main songwriters of the Fab Four, but as they grew in popularity and explored their music they began to take interest in other musical styles.

Though they worked well together and wrote songs individually that had a huge impact on the cultural sphere, by the end of their time as a band the musicians were interested in making different things.

Creative differences aside, Lennon and McCartney's friendship was a complex one that saw the pair develop a rivalry over their different approaches to music and position within the band.

Their animosity came to public attention through their music after The Beatles' split, in which Lennon and McCartney took shots at each other in the lyrics of their songs.


Money troubles

This photo taken on June 29, 1966 shows members of the British band The Beatles, (L to R) Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, holding a press conference in Tokyo at the start of their tour. - A group of Japanese Beatles fans on October 30, 2018 have lost their bid to get police to hand over historic footage of the band's legendary 1966 Japan visit. (Photo by JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT        (Photo credit should read JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Beatles, pictured in 1966, also had some financial troubles during the final years of their time together. (Getty Images)

Never let money get in the way of friendship, so the old saying goes. Well, in the case of The Beatles this was something that factored into their split.

The Beatles were managed by Brian Epstein, whose death in 1967 is for many where issues with the band first started.

When Epstein died the group were split on who they wanted to take over their management. McCartney wanted his Lee and John Eastman to do it, while Lennon, Harrison and Starr preferred Allen Klein, who had managed the Rolling Stones.

The Beatles at TVC animation Studios in London, 6th November 1967, L-R Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney. They were taking part in a short film called 'A Mod Odyssey' about the making of 'Yellow Submarine'. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Getty Images)
The Beatles (pictured in 1967) were managed by Brian Epstein, whose death in 1967 is for many where issues with the band first started. (Getty Images)

Both were temporary managers for the band but McCartney was eventually out-voted and Klein brought in, McCartney had refused to sign the management contract — thus causing tension with the band.

Epstein had also been a huge advocate of the group going on tour to make money, something that the quartet wanted to take a step back from because of how exhausting it was and the impact they felt it had on the quality of their music.

In the end, the band did take a break from touring but it led to financial issues. Without the lucrative nature of tours The Beatles had to find other ways to earn money which led to some failed business ventures and other issues.


Yoko Ono

British singer, musician and member of The Beatles John Lennon playing guitar beside his wife, the Japanese-born American artist and musician Yoko Ono. 1970 (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images)
Another reason given for The Beatles' disbandment is John Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono, the couple are pictured in 1970 (Getty Images)

Many often point fingers at Yoko Ono for The Beatles split, Ono began dating Lennon in 1966 and the pair were so madly in love that they soon became inseparable.

The couple married in 1969 and were together for 11 years before Lennon's assassination in 1980. They share a son together.

Ono was often by Lennon's side during The Beatles days, she would regularly be in the studio for the recording of Let it Be in 1968 and also had an influence on the musician's songwriting during the period — pushing him to explore a more experimental style.

John Lennon (L) and Yoko Ono attend an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences dinner at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on April 18, 1975. (Photo by Pierre Schermann/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono, pictured 1975, were inseparable and were married until the musician was assassinated in 1980 (Getty Images)

Critics have long placed blame on Ono for the rift between Lennon and the band, but historians have also since called out this explanation as being fuelled by racism.

Nadia Kim, a professor of Asian and Asian American Studies, previously told NBC Asian America: "The question itself that people pose, that she could have broken up The Beatles, the racist and sexist and nativist dimensions of the question, show how preposterous it is.”

The Disney+ documentary Get Back also helped discredit the notion that Ono had any part in The Beatles disbandment after she was shown doing menial tasks while they were recording Let It Be.