By Kevin O’Sullivan
They’re clogging up the charts with the re-mastered versions of their thirteen albums, you can’t escape them on the radio, you can be them on Rockband. Thirty-nine years after they split for good, the Beatles are still the reference by which all popular culture for an entire generation is defined. As the Financial Times puts it today: ‘As all philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato, all modern popular music is a riff on the Beatles.’
But you don’t need me to prattle on about the band and its significance. Instead, head over to Rolling Stone and check out their ‘Essential Beatles’ guide, with fascinating photographs and audio interview with John Lennon from 1970. Or, better still, get your hands on the 3 September hard copy edition of the magazine (in the shops on this side of the Atlantic right about now) and read Mikal Gilmore’s fascinating lengthy investigation into the long break-up of the group: the creative tensions, the shock of manager Brian Epstein’s death, the arrival of Yoko Ono, the torturous recording of Let It Be, and the divisive battle over the appointment of New York accountant Allen Klein as business manager (McCartney: ‘I said, “Look John, I’m right.” And he said, “You fucking would be, wouldn’t you? You’re always right, aren’t you?”‘). Even if you’re not particularly into the Beatles, this is one of the best pieces of music journalism/history I’ve read in ages.