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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed journalist Peter Doggett recounts the previously untold story of the dramatic final chapter in the lives, loves, and legal battles of John, Paul, George, and Ringo - a.k.a. The Beatles - from their breakup in 1969 to the present day. Called "refreshingly straightforward and highly readable" by the Daily Telegraph (London), You Never Give Me Your Money is the dramatic and intimate story of the breakup and aftermath of The Fab Four as it's never been told before.

©2009 Peter Doggett (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about You Never Give Me Your Money

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Four human beings

After listening to Ken McNab’s book “And In The End”, I decided to go back and re-read Peter Doggett’s book, which covers some of the same territory. McNab’s book is more gossipy and is limited to 1969. Doggett covers the legal and business issues in more detail and devotes half the book to the Beatles’ post-1969 solo careers. What neither book does is spend much time analyzing the music, although Doggett spends a little more time in the studio than McNab. On the whole I found Doggett’s account far more satisfying than McNab’s. It digs deeper into the interpersonal dynamics, and it shows more clearly how money corrupts everything it touches.

The slow dissolution of the band is painful to hear about. Once the cat was out of the bag, buried hostilities came to the surface in the form of multiple lawsuits and mind games. Paul wrote a song called “Too Many People” that John saw as an attack on him and Yoko. If it was an attack, it was a pretty mild one. But John was incensed, and in response he wrote a song called “How Do You Sleep at Night?” that eviscerated Paul and his music in devastatingly personal terms; his bandmates fought with him during the recording session to keep the lyrics from getting even worse. Meanwhile George enjoyed the unusual position of being the bestselling solo Beatle and organized a spectacular concert to benefit Bangladesh, ravaged by a once-in-a-century cyclone. (His good fortune didn’t last, and years later, with his film company going bankrupt, he reluctantly signed on to the Beatles Anthology project because he needed the money.)

John Lennon comes off badly in this account: drug-addled, childish, sarcastic, and prone to alternating fits of sullen withdrawal and violent rage. The last time he saw his older son Julian, he reportedly cursed at him for the annoying way he laughed. Doggett refrains from direct criticism of Yoko Ono, but it’s certainly implied by the contrast between her iron control and John’s brief and sunny period with May Pang, when he completed two albums and came very close to working with Paul again. Then one night he went back to the Dakota for a talk and decided to stay, and almost immediately it seemed to his friends that the walls had once again gone up.

Paul McCartney comes off better. He certainly was a more astute businessman, investing in the rights not only to his own music but to the music of others as well (Buddy Holly’s complete catalogue, for example). He put out new albums from time to time, although his bandmates later said that he and Linda consumed so much cannabis that it took them forever to make decisions about anything. Doggett suggests that Paul himself realized that his music had fallen off during this period.

George struggled to get a fair deal with a record company, working first with A&M (who demanded a refund when he was late with an album for them) and then Warner. He became tight with Eric Idle and other members of Monty Python and helped finance some of their ventures. Ringo — or as Doggett insists on calling him, “Starkey” — made several mediocre albums and tried to match his fellow alcoholics drink for drink. Since he insisted on drinking during performances, audiences noticed his drumming becoming more erratic as concerts wore on. Eventually he and his wife entered treatment and got themselves back on track.

Once Doggett has narrated the tale of John’s gruesome murder, there are still three hours of the audiobook left — because of course, as John himself said, the dream is over, and you’ll just have to carry on. The tabloids descended. Paul broke down in the recording studio — but when he recovered, in the coming months, he demonstrated the same graceless response to criticism from colleagues, no matter how mild, that had marred his last years with the Beatles. George hired a bodyguard and a 24-hour security detail to patrol his estate; but a slipup at some point allowed a man to sneak into the house, where he stabbed George repeatedly with a kitchen knife. George was seemingly in remission from cancer, and he survived the attack, but shortly afterwards the cancer returned, and this time it killed him.

All of this is narrated by Shaun Grindell in a brisk, matter-of-fact tone. No effort is made to mimic the distinctive voices of the Beatles or the other participants. It’s a clear, detailed, and entertaining narrative, sadder than I remembered, but sad or happy, it’s one of the best books about the Beatles I’ve read, one that comes closer than most to showing them as human beings.

3 people found this helpful

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  • TM
  • 01-08-21

Awful Narration - Returning It

The content maybe fine, although it seems the author has a decidedly negative agenda (how many great songs have you written sir?).

But the narration is unbearable. Every sentence is delivered with the same cheesy vocal pattern. Think of the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” guy, but stuck like a broken record. Ugh. Apparently everything is salacious!

Avoid.

1 person found this helpful

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The Beatles' Epic Divorce Story

What happened to the Beatles? What in the end made them break up--and so acrimoniously?

Peter Doggett tries to address those questions in his book You Never Give Me Your Money. It's a fitting title because not only is it taken from a song on Abbey Road, the Beatles' last album (if you don't count Let It Be, which was recorded before Abbey Road but released after), but also because John, Paul, George and Ringo's tight friendship, already teetering under the pressure of celebrity and diverging interests, ultimately fell apart over bad business decisions and money.

Suddenly being in the Beatles wasn't about music but about contract disputes and lawsuits.

The book begins with John Lennon's death in 1980 and then circles back to 1966, '67 and '68 when the Beatles were at the height of their powers, and when Brian Epstein died (leaving them without a manager), and when John met Yoko.

The pace slows down in 1969 as a lot the problems that had been bubbling under the surface burst into the open. The childhood friends divided over who'd manage the group--with John, George and Ringo on one side and Paul by his lonesome on the other. No wonder groups say being in a band is like being married. The Beatles' split is an epic divorce. And it goes on for-ev-er.

Here's how this book differs from many Beatles books: More than half of it is devoted to the Fabs' lives after the 1970 split. John's political activism and his Lost Weekend with May Pang. Paul's solo albums and forays with Wings. George's massive All Things Must Pass and the Concert for Bangladesh. Ringo's Sentimental Journey and Beaucoups of Blues.

And in between there are all those missed opportunities and could-have-beens.

One of the most poignant story threads is that of Paul and John's friendship. Paul looked up to John and always sought his approval. They danced around each other for a decade after the breakup but John was so mercurial in those years that it was hard to tell if he was saying come close or stay away. Had Paul just imagined their intense, intimate bond? John's murder meant he'd never know. Then a couple days after the tragedy, Yoko called, as if she knew the question was hanging in the air.

Interesting stuff.

I don't know that Doggett has identified THE reason the Beatles broke up. There were many reasons, and there were four individuals who hated to see this chapter of their lives end almost as much as they couldn't wait to put it behind them. Nothing lasts forever.

The narrator Shaun Grindell delivers a fine nonfiction performance. He doesn't go for dramatics or try to mimic the Beatles' voices. He's there to get the story across and he does it well.

1 person found this helpful

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yeah yeah yeah

great book. narrative is well done..information is greatly appreciated.
paul and John come off not so good.

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Great, Great Book

Fascinating read filled with interesting insight into the lives of each Beatle. Highly recommended!!! A+

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Narrator damages an otherwise intriguing listen

A great insight into the end of the greatest music group of all times and what came after. But the experience is marred greatly by the cadence of the narration and the reader's insistence of ending every sentence in the tone of a gossip monger. Otherwise a nicely detailed dive into the often unpleasant lives of the Fab Four from the end of the Beatles and beyond.

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A must read!... or listen.

It opens with the death of John Lennon and goes back to the mid 60s. From there it travels to 2008? Around there at least. It can seem boring around times cause there’s a lot of legal jargon. But it’s needed because it focuses heavily on the breakup of the beatles. But I believe it does it well cause within the legal woes lie their separate careers. And within their personal lives while they had to deal with legal separation of the beatles, they had their own sets of problems. I probably would have gotten bored if I had to read this. But the audiobook format works great. I think this book is important cause other books don’t deal with the after the Beatles journey. Unless it’s separate biographies obv. But it’s nicely done!

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A little too negative

This book has all the details of the accepted story of the Beatles demise and later years. The author, though, becomes increasingly negative about the band.