In Febuary 1968 they all went to visit Maharishi in India to meditate for a few months. But Ringo, most likely being the most down to earth Beatle, got tired after eleven days and went home. Paul got restless, he wanted to go home and work again so he returned to England after a month. John and George were the ones that stayed the longest, but they left early too, after two months.
This same year they recorded their only double album, it was called "The Beatles" but is commonly known as simply "The White Album" because of its white cover. This album, that has quite recently been released as a "30 year anniversary album", contains great tracks but also some very weak compositions. This is probably due to the fact that the Beatles wouldnīt remove any of them even when George Martin asked them to. Still this album is, according to me, one of the best albums, only beaten by "Sgt Pepperīs Lonely Hearts Club Band" and possibly by "Abbey Road".
Even if the album is enjoyable the recording was everything but harmonious. A big part of this was because of Johnīs new girlfriend, Japanese artist; Yoko Ono. John insisted on having her in the studio while recording. And things didnīt get much better when she started to give "good advice" or critisize their music. This in combination with the differences that had gotten bigger between the members resulted in that many recording sessions ended with fights.
However, they continued to make great singles and records together. One of their best late singles is "Hey Jude / Revolution" written by Paul and John. With "Hey Jude" they did something that was totally new in pop music. Almost all songs released before this are two or three minutes long, Hey Jude is seven minutes and fifteen seconds long. This is also their first Beatles single released by their very own record company, Apple.
The problems that theyīd had during 1968 resulted in uncomfortable confrontations within the group. But all of the members still felt some loyalty towards one another. They were a group of friends, and didnīt want to hurt each other. Ringo has described the time as "the time before a divorce, itīs not a thing that happens at once, first you spend months or years being unhappy", which is most likely true about how they felt.
I believe it was Paul that mostly feard a break up. Because he now became the leader behind the Beatlesī next project, reuniting the group by starting to do live shows again. They decided to do a live concert in some exotic place and have it broadcasted. Paul really had to work to get the others even interested.
They started to rehearse in a filmstudio and filming their work, wanting to make it into a video documentary "The Beatles at work". But the rehersals just brought up all the problems theyīd had while making The White Album. Yoko was there this time as well, and Paul got on the otherīs nerves because they thought he was trying to decide everything. The result was that they just jammed around, playing a little of everything and fighting the rest of the time. George got tired of all the fighting and left the group, just like Ringo had done a few months earlier. When he returned after five days he said heīd leave permanently if they didnīt give up the live show plans. He wanted to make a new album with the songs instead.
So everything was moved to their new recording studio, still filming their work. They recorded the material for the "Let It Be" album in just over a week, and the last day, January 31, they had a live concert on the roof of the Apple studio.
Now they became aware of all the problems with their company, Apple. I will not go in very deep in these because I donīt know any of the facts. The only thing I know is that their budget wasnīt very good, they spent a lot more than they made. How that is possible I donīt really know, youīd think they had made tons of money. But anyway, now they had to find someone that could run Apple for them. At first thay agreed on letting Paulīs father-in-law and his son run it. But when John found Allen Klein all the Beatles except Paul wanted him to run Apple. This was a delicate and new situation for them. Before if one of them was against something they said no, but now even though Paul didnīt trust Allen Klein the others let him run Apple. I think this was just one more step towards their break up. A few years later they discovered that Paul had been right not to trust Allen Klein, he wasnīt a good man to run the company.
Almost everyone around the Beatles thought this would be the end and that "Let It Be" would be their goodbye, if it was ever released. But they agreed on making one final album. It took some persuading to get George Martin to produce it, but he agreed. In July and August they worked hard in the studio and that resulted in yet another great album; "Abbey Road", said to be one of the Beatlesī best ever. George had in my opinion grown as a composer to a level not quite as good, but very close to John and Paul. And wrote two of the best tracks on the album; "Something", one of the worldīs most beautiful love songs, and one of my very favourite songs "Here Comes The Sun". Johnīs best contribution to it is "Come Together", and Paul made for example "Oh! Darling". Even Ringo had a composition on it called "Octopusīs Garden", a great and funny song I might add.
So Abbey Road became a very worthy end to the career of the worldīs most famous, most celebrated and most honoured band ever. Not to forget the very best band ever to be! And it became a great success all over the world when it was released in the end of September.
All of the members must have realized that when the album was done, so were the Beatles. All questions were answered when John announced at a meeting in September 1969 that he was leaving the group. And even though they hadnīt functioned as a group very well lately the others were rather shocked. This was it for the Beatles, but because of negotiations about their record deal they decided to wait with the announcement until all the papers were signed.
Even if "Abbey Road" is their last album recorded, the last released album is "Let It
Be" , that was released in May 1970 at the same time as the film with the same name.