Apple to the Core: The Unmaking of the Beatles

I acquired Apple to the Core: The Unmaking of the Beatles by Peter McCabe and Robert D. Schonfeld at a Beatles convention well over thirty years ago, yet it remained unread until now. This book was originally published in 1972. This was at a time when litigation to dissolve the Beatles was before the courts so the authors had up-to-the-minute information to draw upon, yet obviously didn’t have the privilege of history to write about any final outcome. An authors note at the end of the book was dated September 8, 1971, likely the last date before the manuscript was sent to press. The information was thus still unfolding and at times was extremely detailed, in particular the chapters about the sale of Northern Songs and the race to acquire company shares.

One can’t talk about the “unmaking” of the Beatles without writing about the group when it was together with its manager Brian Epstein. This information laid the foundation for the state the Beatles were in following Epstein’s death. McCabe and Schonfeld also wrote about the formation of Apple and its various money-losing ventures, especially the Apple Boutique. This background into the state of the Beatles’ finances was necessary in order to grasp all of the wheeling and dealing after the group’s dissolution. The authors spent an extraordinary amount of space profiling the two warring managers, Allen Klein (for John, George and Ringo) and Lee Eastman’s firm (for Paul) and the communication between the two camps. I hadn’t read as much about their personal roles and interactions in any of my past Beatle books.  

This was a can’t-put-down book, well-written by journalists with musical and business backgrounds. Legal types would love the drama at the end with corporate takeovers and backstabbing at stake. I couldn’t get too worked up about all of this, though, as publishing rights and control of shares don’t excite me. I didn’t appreciate the slutty portrait the authors painted of Linda Eastman before she married Paul. But I will say that this book was nonetheless very well researched. I feel that the cover might belie the formal nature of the contents (Linda Eastman description notwithstanding).

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