The John Lennon track that broke up The Beatles

John Lennon

The Beatles eventually separated their ways in April 1970. The media eagerly exaggerated the apparent conflicts among the four members. However,  the band gathered in the studio to collaborate on their final two albums, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be”.  It was apparent that significant internal conflicts were shaping the group’s future.

As shown in Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary “The Beatles: Get Back,” the primary conflicts emerged between George Harrison and Paul McCartney. George was striving to have his own compositions featured on the new record. While John Lennon became more distant as he became deeply involved with Yoko Ono.

After the untimely death of The Beatles’ beloved manager, Brian Epstein, in August 1967, McCartney assumed the band’s de facto leadership. His confident and professional demeanor naturally led to this unspoken role. And while his bandmates recognized it, it ultimately contributed to the Beatles’ downfall.

In addition, Harrison aimed for a solo career; McCartney’s influence grew. John Lennon and Ono’s heroin addiction began affecting the group during the “Get Back” sessions in 1969.

Paul McCartney later reflected, “The two of them were on heroin. This was quite a shocker for us because we all considered ourselves to be quite experimental. But we realized we’d never gone to that extreme.”

Lennon’s heroin addiction compounded his personal struggles with fame, global turmoil, and childhood trauma, leading to a fading Beatles energy. While he had previously alluded to his drug use in the 1968 song “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” he took a more direct approach a year later when he presented “Cold Turkey” to his bandmates.

After receiving critical feedback from his fellow Beatles, Lennon decided to record “Cold Turkey” as one of his early solo releases following “Give Peace a Chance”. The song featured Eric Clapton on guitar and expressed Lennon’s anguish over his battle with addiction: “Temperature’s rising/Fever is high/Can’t see a future/Can’t see a sky/My feet are so heavy/My head is heavy too/I wish I were a baby/I wish I were dead.”

While facing bandmate rejection, Lennon’s single’s chart success, despite radio bans, propelled him toward freedom in his solo career. Six months after “Cold Turkey” hit the record stores, The Beatles officially announced their breakup.

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