With Mark Lewisohn lately touting the recording of a business meeting where an album after Abbey Road was being discussed, I was particularly interested in this YouTube edit of interviews with all four Beatles during the same period. (BTW, I’ve heard tell of Lennon’s carve-up plan for decades—four songs for him, four songs for Paul, four for George, and two for Ringo—so I wonder just how unheard Lewisohn’s tape really is. Maybe I’m dreaming, but I’m sure I read this years ago.)
I’ll say right now: there are no bombshells in these interviews (and I seem to remember some of this stuff on the David Wigg album I had as a kid). But I think you will be struck at how open and genial all of them seem towards each other, and the group. Some of this is surely well-practiced PR, but for me, it really underlines how—for all the other tensions that were going on (John’s heroin use, Yoko’s levering him away from Paul, George’s general disinterest in Beatledom, Paul’s creative ascension), the real point of no return was Klein, and the necessity of Paul’s suing the others to keep the Beatles’ catalog out of the clutches of ABKCO.
It is ironic that Allen Klein, who craved nothing more than to be the man behind The Beatles, was so crappy at the personal side of his job that he destroyed the group. Brian Epstein comes in for a lot of knocks in the Beatle canon—and rightly so—but he understood the first rule of managing creative people: keep the talent happy.