So why did the Beatles break up? After more than 40 years no one knows the real story. At one time or another I think I have heard all four of them claim that they were the one that walked away first but I think I might have found the real answer and I will present evidence to make my case. First a little background.
A quick review of the Beatles catalog shows that John and Paul were responsible for the majority of songs on every album while George was given only one or two songs per album. The casual listener was led to believe that this was because that was all the songs he had that were “worthy”. This belief was of course blown to smithereens once the Beatles broke up and George’s first solo offering was All Things Must Pass, a stunning three record album completely written by George. How was that possible?
It was possible because George was a much bigger talent than John and Paul wanted us to believe. I expect that he had been bringing more to the table than they were prepared to put on “their” Beatle albums. To support this position I would like to point out that All Things Must pass, the title song on George’s first solo album had been pitched to the Beatles during the Twickenham sessions leading up to the Let It Be album. In listening to these sessions we hear take after take of the Beatles playing All Things Must Pass and guess what….they all suck! It seems pretty clear to me that John and Paul really did not have their heart in playing George’s song. Take a listen to this take that provides one example of the point I am making:
This take was made on Day 5 of the sessions…George walked out on Day 8 but was eventually talked into returning (read more about the Twickenham Sessions in this article on Wikipedia). I suspect that his mind was already made up to end the Beatles even when he returned. It must have been clear to him that he had outgrown the Beatles. Take a listen to this solo demo of All Things Must Pass (from my personal stash) that George was working on and compare and contrast the two versions yourself.
I feel compelled to offer up my “This coffee is served hot” disclaimer and state for the record that I am speculating here and don’t really have first hand knowledge of how the Beatles fell apart. You look at the evidence and make up your own mind and as always, let me know what you think.