The one event John Lennon blamed for The Beatles’ breakup

john lennon

No group should play together indefinitely. Even though four or five people can create amazing music together in a room, there will eventually come a point when everyone wants to experiment or try something new without their bandmates. While fans continue to debate The Beatles’ dissolution, John Lennon believed that Brian Epstein’s passing was the turning point in the band’s history.

However, it’s difficult to really pin the Fab Four’s breakup on a single individual. It’s fair to argue that a nasty guy like Allen Klein didn’t help things in the end. However, it made sense for each of them to separate and focus on their own music. The world had watched them grow from boys to men, and their respective aspirations for their careers varied.

During those initial years, Epstein was among the select few who could legitimately assert themselves as “The Fifth Beatle.” Even though many other artists have received that honour over the years, Epstein’s correct take on rock & roll and his insistence on making the group appear more sophisticated by dressing in matching suits make them appealing to both parents and children.

What Epstein did during Beatlemania was nothing short of heroic for someone who had only been given the role of manager. Their manager was the one to defuse the situation. He managed the press and ensured the band behaved well in interviews. This was necessary since everyone went crazy the minute Lennon said that the group was bigger than Jesus.

It wasn’t apparent whether The Beatles needed Epstein after they left the road. In 1967, despite his uncertain contract, the group was completely shocked by his untimely drug overdose death.

As Lennon put it in an interview with Rolling Stone, “After Brian died, we collapsed“. He believed that Epstein’s passing was the first sign of doom for the band. Paul took charge and seemed to guide us. But when we keep going in circles, where is that getting us? That’s when we broke up. That was the breakdown. I was hurting myself. Really, I wasn’t noticing. It was like a job, really. The Beatles split up following Brian’s passing.

The Beatles produced some of their best songs while they were in free fall, even though Epstein’s passing may have contributed to their downward spiral. Projects like The White Album and Abbey Road brought out the best in each member of the band because of the ongoing tension amongst them. It was almost as if they were striving to keep working to realise their dream.

That wasn’t to say that it wasn’t difficult. Watching documentaries like Get Back makes it clear why there was a great deal of animosity within the group due to McCartney’s style of group leadership. Though Lennon’s release of “God” made us all realise that we had to face reality, the idea of The Beatles was still very much alive and well in the rock world. The dream was officially over.

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