Over the years, countless fans of The Beatles have blamed Yoko Ono, wife of the late John Lennon, for breaking up the band. But according to filmmaker Peter Jackson, who recently undertook a three-part, seven-hour documentary of the iconic band’s final years for Disney+, it wasn’t Yoko at all. It was manager Allen Klein.
For all of their success as one of the most popular bands the world has ever seen, The Beatles met a rather messy and complicated end. It’s easy to point fingers at Yoko Ono or Allen Klein as the sole cause of their breakup, but the reality isn’t always that cut and dry.
Peter Jackson has been studying The Beatles for the better part of the last four years. He concludes that Allen Klein is the leading cause of the split. And who are we to disagree? The Beatles: Get Back director talked to Deadline about the break-up felt ’round the world.
“The band broke up over disagreements, with Allen Klein coming in to run their business affairs,” said Jackson. “For the first time in the history of The Beatles, it was three votes to one. John, George, and Ringo wanted to bring in Allen Klein to run their business affairs, and Paul didn’t, and they said, well Paul, Allen Klein is coming in because we are three votes, and you are one vote.”
Just like that, one of the most recognizable music groups in history split up after fewer than 10 years together. Okay, there was a bit more at play than a single split vote. According to Radio X, the members were working on solo projects, and the Apple Records album release schedule became a battleground, further dividing John, George, and Ringo from Paul McCartney.
Contrary to Popular Belief, Peter Jackson Believes Yoko Ono Was Nothing But Respectful to The Beatles and Their Creative Process
In the wake of the beloved band’s break-up, devoted fans were quick to assign blame. Paul McCartney was the first to publicly announce the split, drawing much of the initial heat for being the guilty party. In reality, John Lennon already had both feet out the door, and no one person can really be held responsible. These things happen.
If we’re going to reduce it down to a single person, Peter Jackson says it should be Allen Klein. The Beatles documentarian added that, from his perspective, the criticism levied at Yoko Ono is entirely off-base. Yes, Lennon and Yoko were indeed starting a life together and exploring artistic avenues beyond The Beatles. But she was far from an active contributor to the band’s demise.
“Yoko comes in and doesn’t interfere. She doesn’t express opinions. She’s quiet. She’s there because she and John are in love. There is no other complicating factor to it,” Peter Jackson continued in the Deadline interview.
McCartney himself told BBC Radio 4 that Yoko wasn’t responsible.