Discover why The Beatles split up at Harrogate event this weekend

Part of the cover of Ken McNab's new book And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatles.
Part of the cover of Ken McNab's new book And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatles.
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Interview - Abbey Road is number one again, The Beatles are back at the top of the charts and the author who, perhaps, knows more about the band's final glorious but troubled year is coming to Harrogate this weekend.

Fans heading to the Crown Hotel this Sunday afternoon for Music in the 60s and 70s at the Raworths Literature Festival will see a discussion with three terrific music writers, including Tom Doyle and Stuart Cosgrove.


But it's Ken McNab who will be the big draw for followers of the Fab Four.
The Scottish writer's new book, And in the End: The Last Days of the Beatles, take a deep dive into the story of the world's greatest band month by month in 1969, the final year before they split up.

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Rather than telling the same old stories, McNab has taken the same dedication to uncovering new information shown by fellow Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn in his definitive 2013 book Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years Vol 1.


Ken said: "The problem with the story of The Beatles is the story becomes myth, then the myth becomes legend.
"The idea was to track down as many people still alive who were in the band's orbit at the time.
"I've put in the hard yards for the book.
"When you talk to people and scrape below the surface, that's when the diamonds emerge."


A big Beatles fan, himself, McNab's previous book in 2002, The Beatles in Scotland, saw him determined to interview at least one eye witness of every show the group played north of the border between 1960 and 1965.


McNab said: "I took the same approach to this book as my first book. You had to go to the ordinary people and talk to them.
"1969 really was a tumultuous year for The Beatles.
"It's a story in three acts - the music, which was still great; business difficulties at Apple which brought in Allan Klein who was a divisive figure; and Northern Songs, their publishing company.
"The last stand between Lennon and McCartney as a unit was their battle to retain copyright of their own songs and it was a battle they lost.

"Abbey Road was their last love letter to the world."


As to who was to blame for the band splitting up the following year, the writer swerves the usual cliches of Allan Klein or Yoko Ono or heroin or, even Lennon, who told the band in secret in September in 1969, or McCartney, who told the world in public in April 1970.


McNab said: "History always blames McCartney for the break-up but there were so many complications going on in the background.
"John Lennon at that time was like a volcano trapped in ice. His mood swings determined a lot.
"It was time for them to stop anyway.
The band that defined the decade split up at the end of the decade.
It was the right time for them to step off the carousel.
"They bowed out at the peak of their powers."


Having looked at each month of 1969 in forensic detail, I ask McNab if he intends to do the same for 1970 next year when the 50th anniversary of Let It Be comes around.
His answer is blunt.


McNab said: "I enjoyed doing the book and I am still a big fan. of The Beatles."
"I think in that particular decade they did change the world.
"But I am done with The Beatles. My next project is about music but it won't feature them."


Raworths Literature Festival presents Music in the 60s and 70s, The Crown Hotel, Harrogate, Sunday, October 20, 3pm.

ITN news readers head to Harrogate for Raworths Literature Festival