When they decided to find someone experienced enough to run Apple, the band was divided. Paul McCartney wanted to hire Lee Eastman, but the other three wanted to hire The Rolling Stones' manager, the notorious Allen Klein. Klein won, but it was evidently too little and too late as the company stopped releasing records in 1975. Aside from the release of a few Beatles disks in the 1990s, the company remained unproductive.
The Get Back Sessions
In January of 1969, Paul McCartney came up with the idea for the band to spend hours in Twickenham Studios being filmed rehearsing material for what would become the Let It Be album. They originally planned a TV special, a live performance, and other things but these were never realised and after a month of work the original project ended in failure. The band was forced to work together as relationships strained to the breaking point, George Harrison's songs were thoroughly ignored, and at one point he stormed out of the sessions claiming he was quitting.
Neglect of George Harrison's songs
Often cited as a large factor of the breakup is when Lennon and McCartney limited Harrison's song contributions to one or two tracks per album. By 1967, Harrison was writing songs of finer quality than his earlier 1963-5 efforts. However Lennon and McCartney had been established as the group's primary songwriters since its earliest days - and they were astonishingly prolific. Though they acknowledged the considerable growth in the quality of Harrison's songwriting they continued to allocate him just a token presence on most Beatles records. The three tracks he was accorded on the 1966 album Revolver was an improvement on his average one-song per album.
An example of this is when Harrison contributed songs like "Hear Me Lord" and "Let It Down" during the 1969 Get Back sessions. The bootlegs show that he ran through the songs on a guitar a few times and then it was dropped when band members decided to do something else. A similar thing happened to "All Things Must Pass" when they performed it several times during the sessions and then completely dropped it.
Though he was only a very occasional composer - Ringo Starr was treated in a similar way, and he was given only rare opportunities to have any of his songs included. According to him, he had written "Don't Pass Me By" as shown by the Top Gear program on the BBC promoting A Hard Day's Night. The chatter introduction to "And I Love Her" includes an exchange between McCartney and Starr in which McCartney sings an early and unmistakable rendition of the song, as well as Starr chiding McCartney for promising to record it. He asked the band to record it every time a new album was recorded. It wasn't recorded until the White Album. Study of the Get Back session bootlegs reveals that the band expressed scant interest in another Starr song, "Octopus's Garden" finally recorded for Abbey Road.
Starr did not regard himself as a songwriter so the neglect of his occasional compositions was not a major issue to him. But Harrison, who had growing pride in his development as a songwriter became frustrated that Lennon and McCartney tended to still treat him as the 'baby' of the band and were not giving him the respect he believed he deserved as a songwriter.
After the breakup
A jam session between John Lennon and Paul McCartney was recorded on March 31, 1974, when McCartney visited Lennon in Los Angeles, California. They played with a number of other musicians, including Stevie Wonder. Believed to be the last time the pair recorded together, this tape has been released on bootleg as A Toot and a Snore in '74.
On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in front of his New York City apartment by a mentally deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, thus forever crushing any hope of a Beatles reunion. His death was mourned by millions of fans around the world.
In February of 1981, the then-three surviving Beatles reunited for the first time since the break-up for George Harrison's tribute to fallen Beatle John Lennon, "All Those Years Ago". It was expressly a Harrison single off his album, Somewhere In England, but in a series of recording sessions McCartney contributed bass guitar and vocals [wife Linda also contributed vocals], and Starr played the drums, all of which was mixed into the final recording.
Singer Michael Jackson bought the publishing rights for most of the Beatles' music, on August 10, 1985, for $47 million. McCartney, who had been attempting to purchase the rights himself, had told Jackson that he should get into publishing. McCartney did not expect Jackson to purchase the Beatles' music. "I wrote a couple of letters and I said, Michael, don't you think that even if I was just a writer on the payroll after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise?" said McCartney. "And he said 'Oh Paul, that's just business'. He won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship. The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums... I just can't do it." This is an example of how future royalties of an entertainment work are difficult to value and how creators should be cautious in making business decisions. However, McCartney is not short of a few bucks: He has always received his standard songwriter's share of the royalties to those songs and is by far the richest musician in UK history.
In 1988, The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison were also inducted separately in later years (1994, 1999, and 2004, respectively).
On November 30, 1994, Apple Records released a 2 CD collection of early Beatles performances on the BBC, entitled Live At The BBC.
In February of 1994, the then-three surviving Beatles reunited again (since the recording of "All Those Years Ago") to produce and record additional music to a few of Lennon's old unfinished demos, with Jeff Lynne co-producing. The first new song, "Free As A Bird", premiered November 19, 1995 as part of The Beatles Anthology series of television specials on the ABC network in the US and ITV in the UK. The song was also included on a CD with the same title, which was released on November 21, 1995. The following year, a second "new" track was released, entitled "Real Love", on March 4, 1996. That song was also included on the second Anthology collection which was released on March 18, 1996. A third Anthology collection followed on October 12, 1996, but did not include any new material. At least one other song, entitled "Now And Then", was worked on during these sessions, but remains unreleased.
In 2000, The Beatles released a best of collection, entitled 1. The CD included 27 number one hits by the band and, within five weeks, became the best selling album of the year. Later that year, The Beatles released the Anthology book, which included interviews with all four band members and others involved, plus rare photos. The book went straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications reportedly sent out of a list of 150 songs that were recommended to be pulled from airplay. Four Beatles songs were on the list: "A Day in the Life", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Ticket To Ride", and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". John Lennon's "Imagine" was also listed.
George Harrison fought a long battle with lung and brain cancer throughout the 1990s, finally succumbing and passing away on November 29, 2001.
In 2002, the Let It Be film was being restored and prepared for future release on DVD, but due to continuing legal issues, its release has been delayed for some years, and no firm release date has been announced. It is expected that this DVD, if is ever released at all, will include additional footage, not seen in the original film. The album Let It Be... Naked, featuring stripped-down (but intended) versions of the original album, was released in November, 2003.
In January, 2003, following an investigation by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry and London detectives, police raids in England and the Netherlands recovered nearly 500 original Beatles studio tapes, recorded during the Let It Be sessions. Five people were arrested. The tapes have been used for bootleg releases for years.