‘Of course we aren’t just four fellows,’ Paul McCartney told Life magazine a year or so after the Beatles’ final bust-up. ‘We are part of a big business machine.’ Four decades on, the big business machine still rumbles, spewing DVD box sets here, high-gloss, supercalendered, four-colour oral histories there. A few weeks back the Fabs became the subject of a play-along video game: The Beatles: Rock Band. At the same time, their back catalogue was finally re-released on a series of digitally remastered CDs. Why, in these days when even relatively new albums are back on the racks with extra material and ritzier covers mere months after their original release, the delay?
The answer is implicit in Peter Doggett’s You Never Give Me Your Money, a clinically precise account of the internecine financial wars those four fellows (and/or their widows) have been fighting since their very public split. Energetically told, it is a dispiriting tale from which anyone who still