Your episode about Klein and the relationship between John and Brian… I’ve never agreed with someone so much. A lot of things Brian did because he was biased towards John were very unprofessional (and Paul was right to be irritated at some of them) and yet they’re always either forgotten (by the Jean Jackets) or romanticised (by the fans, especially the youngest).Our Tumblr Asks
Thanks very much for this feedback!
There are so many problematic assumptions baked into the Beatles story, it’s amazing. One of the worst, in our view, is the idea that Lennon was entitled to act however he wanted with total impunity and that everyone in the Beatles universe was obligated to serve and capitulate to Lennon’s needs only. To even challenge this assumption is radical in some circles. We think it’s time for this to change!
One of our baseline assumptions about the Lennon-McCartney partnership is that they considered each other equals, and that there absolutely was no “junior and senior partner.“ Operating under this assumption, it’s reasonable to argue that Paul’s needs were every bit as important, and should have been equally represented by management. And the idea that he should have capitulated to a manager that was aggressively hostile and abusive to him (Klein) is absurd. We can’t believe that some writers are even floating this idea and we think it only reflects how skewed the thinking is.
For more on Klein and Epstein, check out Episode 4 of our ongoing Break-up Series
From If I Ran Away from You: Episode 4, which focuses on the impact of Allen Klein on The Beatles and on the Lennon/McCartney relationship.
“If I Ran Away from You: Part 4″ Love, War, and the Games that Ended the Beatles
In this episode, Diana and Phoebe begin their investigation into the issues that separated John and Paul and turned them against each other, the most significant of which was Allen Klein: the Demon King of the Beatles Break-up.
They examine how Klein drove a wedge between Paul and John and hastened the band’s demise. They also discuss what Paul McCartney describes as “the cracking of the Liberty Bell,” a hugely important moment in the journey of the Beatles.
When 3 educated, professional women with a lifelong love of the Beatles found each other through their fandom, and found they all shared a common dissatisfaction in how the Beatles story is analyzed and told, Another Kind of Mind was born!
OMG Thank you so much. You have pretty much hit the nail on the head for what I think happened and articulated it SO WELL.Our Tumblr asks
Thanks, Joan (great url!). We’ve been studying them and considering all angles for a really long time. It’s great to hear that our take is resonating!
– the AKOM crew
Since there’s evidence to show John’s interest in Paul (in that he feels rejected by him), what do you think of the evidence suggesting Paul maybe felt similar feelings, if not to a lesser “interested” degree? Similar to how Philip Norman’s phrasing of “bohemians should try everything” minimizes John’s feelings for Paul, I feel like the dude-fandom-writers “romanticizing” of Paul’s pining for John (so that John is seen as the strong one/hero) has actually washed down Paul’s true feelings as wellOur Tumblr asks
This is a great question. You make an excellent point- that the fannish tendency of writers (looking at you Doggett and Lewisohn!) to position Paul as forever smitten by and pining for an indifferent, dismissive John probably obscures Paul’s true feelings as well.
Having said that, we aren’t aware of any evidence that suggests Paul had “similar” (i.e. sexual) feelings for John. Of course it’s possible, but entertaining this idea would be pure speculation. However, if you know of any evidence whatsoever (i.e. testimony from Paul or his intimates) that Paul wanted an affair with John, please let us know.
Paul is SO much more publicly forthcoming about his love for John than vice verse. We see this as both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, Paul’s testimony is very informative about the depth of their relationship. On the other hand, it gives a lopsided impression of their feelings for each other, and gives ammunition to those who wish to see the relationship as lopsided.
As we point out on the podcast, 95% of Paul’s loving comments were made after John’s death. But even in 1970, as Paul was attempting to finalize the divorce, he was able to articulate to the press several times (i.e. to John, through the newspaper) that he loved John. To our ears this doesn’t sound “desperate” or “thirsty” but quite the opposite! To us it sounds like Paul is trying to soften the blow of his departure, reassuring John that despite the mess of the break-up, John is still valued and loved. Again, YMMV, but to us this sounds like it comes from a place of maturity and true, deep compassion.
One thing we do believe is that Paul did cherish being the most important person in John’s life and perhaps Paul’s (romantic, possessive) feelings may have gotten murky by ’68 when Yoko entered the scene and Paul realized his position as #1 might be threatened. By 1970 (when he commits to the divorce), Paul is able to articulate that he was jealous of Yoko when she first arrived, indicating that he is aware of his feelings and capable of taking responsibility for them.
By 1985, Paul understands and is able to say aloud that he was “like (John’s) girlfriend” so he recognizes that they are like a couple (in terms of intensity of emotion). However he also makes the point that he couldn’t fight for John because he was “not a girl.” While this is somewhat open to interpretation, it sounds to us as if the stumbling block in Paul’s mind is mismatched gender; they love each other but are both guys, so therefore it doesn’t work (at least in Paul’s heterosexual mind). Maybe in another lifetime, another incarnation… But not this one. So Paul stepped aside.
Whereas John seemed to have loved and wanted Paul as he was. i.e. John loved Paul the man, as a man.
Is it possible there’s more to the story? Sure. But if there is, we simply don’t have those details. And we believe the way both John and Paul continued to struggle with comprehending and defining their relationship throughout their lives was genuine. Our best evidence is that while they weren’t lovers, they were something more than friends and they probably existed in this indefinable middle ground for a long time. Paul seems to have dropped enough hints/taunts (on RAM, for example) to indicate that he was aware of some underlying sexual tension between them, and that he was aware of John’s desire for him. So even if Paul wasn’t interested in or willing to pursue a sexual relationship, he did seem willing to fan the flames and probably greatly enjoyed being desired, and sometimes deliberately stoked the heat between them.
Ultimately, John and Paul reached some sort of impasse in 1968-69, and we DO know that John contemplated an affair with Paul (and was deterred because he believed Paul was straight and therefore uninterested). This is the actual information we have, and therefore what our assumptions are based on.
We definitely believe Paul loved and missed John throughout the 70s, and continues to love and miss John now. We also believe that John & Paul had a special connection that they both found impossible to replicate. Again, the main difference is that Paul is (at least now) much more able and willing to articulate these things without shame.
Which gets to the bigger point. We find the major difference in what John and Paul are willing to admit about each other somehow involves internalized shame. Paul simply doesn’t exhibit the shame John does on this subject. Paul’s ability to wax poetic about how John had beautiful hands, for example, reflects to us a lack of embarrassment about his feelings. John’s ability to speak openly about his love for Paul was much more compromised, often coinciding with his level of comfort with his own sexuality. (You can do the math on that one). And vitally, what John said behind closed doors about Paul (to Yoko, to Harry Nilsson, to his own diaries, etc) was often more revealing than what he said in public.
I sometimes feel like the fandom displays an overwhelming desire for equivalence in this area, I guess because this is more palatable? But John and Paul were of course, individuals with separate identities (sexual and otherwise) and by the time they broke up we do believe they wanted different things. Also, fans and authors alike tend to show resistance towards allowing Paul to have multiple and complex emotions like they allow for John. So while we do think John was the center of Paul’s universe in the 60s, we also think Paul had other interests, attractions, and loves and this is seldom acknowledged. So although we always consider their love deep and mutual, we do acknowledge that their wants and needs occasionally fell out of sync and caused hurt feelings on both sides.
Also, the fandom seems to underestimate Paul’s incredible powers of seduction, and his natural inclination to flirt. And the authorship (who is apparently 24/7 horny for Lennon) seems in literal denial about Paul’s desirability. We feel this also drastically skews the read on the Lennon/McCartney dynamic.
Really love what you guys are doing! I recently started listening to the breakup series and one thing I wonder after listening to the first two, why do you think Paul let his relationship with Jane fail? Do you think he let her catch him in bed with another woman on purpose? Was he just being careless? If they were so important to each other I don’t understand why he acted that wayOur Tumblr asks
I’ll be honest, I used to think Paul let himself get caught by Jane in a sort of death-by-cop scenario (since this is how it’s portrayed in EVERY Beatles book), but I’m no longer so sure.
This is a topic we at AKOM have discussed amongst ourselves many times.
First, we’re not even sure we can believe that story 100% since it comes from a dubious source (Francie Schwartz) who over-inflates her relevance. Did Jane stumble upon Paul in bed with Francie? Perhaps. But why would FS be the proverbial back-breaking straw? We all know that Paul had a ton of affairs, and that Jane was still discovering some of them in 1968 (Marijke from the Fool, for example). The point is that the story itself might be a convenient excuse and close enough to the truth that neither Paul nor Jane bothers to correct it. Obviously neither wants to offer details of their relationship, and after all these years “caught in bed with another woman” is vague enough to tie up loose ends and discourage further digging. And since the Beatles authorship shows about 0-2% interest in Jane at all, this works.
We definitely believe Jane and Paul were very, very important to each other and that Paul was crazy about her. Everyone around them comments on it, all the way to Hunter Davies and Paul Saltzman (the 3rd person observer who was in Rishikesh). Paul himself is responsible for downplaying Jane. I think the reasons why are probably two-fold. Barry Miles revealed that the only parts of Many Years From Now Paul requested him to edit out were the multiple references to Jane (and some of Maggie McGivern). This was out of respect/deference to Linda who was terminally ill at the time. Miles also said that when Linda and Paul married, Linda distanced Paul from the old mutual friends he had with Jane, indicating that there may have still been residual jealousy from Linda at that point. (Don’t forget that Paul began seeing Linda when he was still engaged to Jane!). And there is that (possibly sketchy?) story of Linda’s editor taunting her with Jane’s cookbook as late as the 90s (!?). Again suggesting that Linda is fully aware (and slightly competitive) of how deep Paul and Jane’s bond was before she came along.
The other reason Paul downplays Jane is maybe that she broke his heart, simple as that.
We’re not talking about their break-up specifically, just their general collapse as a couple. We believe she was likely the inspiration of some of Paul most heartfelt and brilliant Beatles songs; some of his most beautiful (And I Love Her, For No One) some of his most asshole-ish (Another Girl, You Won’t See Me) and everything in between (We Can Work it Out, etc). His emotions for her, as reflected in his music, were real and complex and ALL the evidence suggests their relationship was tumultuous, full of passion and frustration.
Furthermore, Jane and the Ashers were hugely influential on Paul’s development as a person and an artist. Paul bonded with the entire family and learned so much from them in terms of culture and lifestyle. The lack of curiosity about Jane and Paul in this fandom is somewhat predictable, but the lack of curiosity amongst the authorship is reprehensible. Even worse, they have somehow managed to spin Paul’s relationship with this extremely strong-willed, independent, young career woman (who refused to “settle down” whenever Paul tried to wife her up) as evidence that Paul is an egomaniac who needed a weak groupie to worship him (like Linda, of course). When it actually suggests the opposite, that Paul likes intelligent women who can (and will) hold their own against him.
The rub, of course, is that Jane won’t talk about Paul and Paul won’t talk about Jane. Our guess is that their mutual loyalty and respect extends to this day.
But back to your question- why did Paul behave like a dirtbag in ’68 if he wanted to stay with Jane? Our understanding is that one of the recurring issues in their relationship was Jane’s availability; meaning Jane was away from Paul for long stretches of time (usually due to work) which Paul HATED and they fought constantly about it and Paul would act out whenever Jane was gone. Which is not to say he cheated on her for “revenge,” but let’s put it this way… As a highly desirable rock star, Paul had 24/7 access to any kind of sex he wanted and I think, basically, he wanted sex… if not 24/7 then at the very least on a regular basis! In the end I think he just wasn’t willing to be chaste and faithful in Jane’s absence (especially given his incredibly easy access to free sex whenever he wanted it). YMMV, but this makes sense to us. Not from the standpoint that he “deserves” more because of his rock star status, but simply because everyone deserves a relationship that can satisfy his/her needs. Of course Jane deserves the mate she wants TOO, which is why we think ultimately it was an amicable split, each understanding they just couldn’t be what the other person needed.
Because Jane and Paul won’t talk about their relationship, we have to rely on other people’s accounts. Nearly everyone in their circle was shocked and sad when they broke up. Thanks to Allistair Taylor we know Paul wept and moaned about Jane. We think besides being his girlfriend, Jane was most likely Paul’s primary confidant in the Beatle years and it must have been beyond devastating to lose her at such a pivotal time in his life. And I definitely think it would’ve contributed to the overall soul-searching and depression he exhibited in the next couple of years. Of course this fandom loves to attribute Paul’s EVERY emotion to John Lennon, but it’s always important to remember that Paul had other people and things in his life.
Thanks for the great ask!
-Phoebe and the AKOM crew
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This was an amazing episode. The further you go in this series the more baffling it is that no one has seriously broken down John’s love for Paul in a prominent Beatle’s book. I really liked that you pointed out how Paul now uses hyperbole to try to explain his relationship with John. I hope you guys are getting enough appreciation and not too much push back, this is a really refreshing series with some very important points that I hope continues for a long time.Our Tumblr asks
Thank you so much! Your words mean a lot to us, and it is very reassuring to know that someone out there is listening and appreciating the hours (lifetime!) of research and thought we’ve put into this analysis.
To be perfectly frank, we haven’t gotten ANY pushback on any of our analysis about the Beatles. The only pushback we’ve gotten thus far has been about our criticism of Mark Lewisohn. (None of it was substantive, however, it was all of the generic, “hey, he’s a good guy!” variety)
As to pushing back on actual substance… we encourage it! We can defend all our viewpoints, they are all based in logic, common sense and facts, so are open to challenge and debate.
I truly appreciate your podcast, keep it up!! Me and my brother both really enjoy it 😊Our Tumblr asks
We’re so glad you and your brother are enjoying the podcast! Thanks for reaching out, and keep listening…we have a lot of other very exciting topics in the pipeline!
-Thalia and the AKOM crew
In this episode, Diana and Phoebe pick up where they left off, in the spring of 1969. They focus on the Ballad of John and Yoko as a concept and dissect its mythology.
Part B breaks down the tenets of the mythology and explores the purpose it serves for John and Yoko — and how it has impacted the telling of the Beatles story.
In this episode, Diana and Phoebe pick up where they left off, in the spring of 1969. They focus on the Ballad of John and Yoko as a concept and dissect its mythology.
Part A re-centers the story on John and Paul.
No pressure, but I was wondering if there was an ETA on future eps? Love this podcast!Our Tumblr asks
Hello Listener, thank you so much for reaching out to us!
Phoebe and Diana are hard at work on the next installments of the Break-up series.
We’re hoping to post Episode Three by the end of this week! Stay tuned and thanks for listening!
– the AKOM crew
Part 2 is here!
In the second installment of our Break-up series, Diana and Phoebe take a DEEP look into January 1969, when the Beatles record and film Let it Be.
Part 1 reflects on the sub-textual conversation revealed in their behaviors and their music. Part 2 (this one) looks at some of the underlying issues of the break-up as they play out in this period.
This multi-part series explores the emotional roots of the Beatles break-up with a focus on Lennon/McCartney.
Hi! Love love love what you guys are doing and no pressure, but just wondering on an ETA for the next episode? Thank you so much!Our Tumblr asks
Hello! 🙂 We’re so happy you’re loving our podcast!
We love it too, so we are taking great care to make sure the next episode is amazing and of a high quality. Researching, recording, and then editing our conversations into something cohesive and enjoyable to listen to do take a lot of time and care. We hope to have our next episode out early this coming week!
Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a BIG one! 🙂