The Beatles: maybe not all they appeared to be.
Mean Mr. LennonDo you want to know a secret? The Beatles weren't nice guys, says a biography. Ringo, you're excusedBy LEV GROSSMAN
The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein was gay, wealthy and chronically insecure. That may be why, while recording Magical Mystery Tour in 1967, John Lennon deliberately mangled a couple of choruses. According to Bob Spitz's colossal quadruple biography The Beatles (Little, Brown; 983 pages), instead of singing, "Baby, you're a rich man too," Lennon sang, "Baby, you're a rich fag Jew."
That kind of gratuitous cruelty isn't all that uncommon in The Beatles. The Fab Four hated the silly, lovable mop-top image they created, and on that score alone they would probably love Spitz's book. He marshals a staggering mass of research in support of the conclusion, broadly speaking, that Lennon was a drug-addled, attention-hungry rageoholic who picked fights and cheated on his wife; Paul McCartney was a smarmy, manipulative charmer; and George Harrison was dour and sour. Before you lose faith entirely, it turns out Ringo really was just a lovable goofball.
I suspect we’re not all that surprised. I don’t know that any of them would describe their lives as deliriously happy. Of course Lennon died very early and George Harrison with all his wealth could not stave off the cancer. Appearances really are quite deceptive.