Book Review: And in the End – The Last Days of the Beatles

‘Musically speaking, 20 August was the day when The Beatles as a band faded out of time…’

Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles. No, Allen Klein broke up the Beatles. Actually, Paul died in a car crash in 1967 and was replaced with an imposter and that’s why the Beatles broke up. The truth, of course, is a mixture of all of the above (well, the rumour of Paul’s death rather than the fabricated event itself). And in the End attempts to get to the heart of the breakup of the most important band in the history of popular music…

Charting the fraught Let it Be sessions through to the collapse of Apple Corps and culminating in the minor miracle that was Abbey Road, Ken McNab charts the Fab Four through a mixture of well-researched facts, opinion and conjecture, always resisting the urge for sensationalism or salaciousness. The story itself is incredible enough without the need to jazz it up.

The key to the success of this book is that McNab is clearly in thrall to The Beatles (aren’t we all) but he never allows that to cloud his judgement or to get in the way of facts. Rather than favouring one theory, McNab simply lays out all of the information and allows the reader to make up their own mind.

I have devoured everything Beatles-related over the last few years, and along with Revolution in the Head (Ian MacDondald’s essential track-by-track retelling of the Beatles’ story), And in the End is one of the most compelling and fascinating Beatles books out there. Well worth a read.