The Beatles were an English rock band consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr from August 1962 to September 1969. Their break-up was a cumulative process attributed to numerous factors, such as the strain of the Beatlemania phenomenon, the death of manager Brian Epstein in 1967, McCartney’s domineering role, Lennon’s heroin use, his relationship with Yoko Ono, Harrison’s prolific songwriting output, the floundering of Apple Corps and the Get Back project (later Let It Be, 1970), and managerial disputes.
During the second half of the Beatles’ career, the members began to assert individual artistic agendas. Their disunity became most evident on The Beatles (also known as “The White Album”, 1968), and quarrels and disharmony over musical matters soon permeated their business discussions. Starr and Harrison briefly quit the group during the making of The Beatles and Let It Be, respectively. Starting in 1969, the group split into two camps regarding who should handle their business affairs. McCartney lobbied for entertainment lawyers Lee and John Eastman, but was outvoted by his bandmates in favour of businessman Allen Klein.
The final time that the four members recorded together collectively was the session for Abbey Road‘s closing track “The End” on 18 August 1969. Lennon privately informed his bandmates that he was leaving the Beatles on 20 September, although it was unclear to the other members whether his departure was permanent. On 10 April 1970, McCartney issued a press release that stated he was no longer working with the group, which sparked a widespread media reaction and worsened the tensions between him and his bandmates. Legal disputes continued long after, and the dissolution was not formalised until 1974.