THE BEATLES PAID TERRIBLE PRICE FOR FAME

Published on: February 1, 2014
Photography by: LIFE Archives Getty/ Reuters Corbis
THE BEATLES PAID TERRIBLE PRICE FOR FAME
THE BEATLES PAID TERRIBLE PRICE FOR FAME

With all the adulation in the world THE BEATLES  - one by one - paid a terrible price for their fame.

The lads from Liverpool rocketed from humble beginnings to fabulous wealth and adoration, but while it seemed like John, Paul, George and Ringo’s wildest dreams had come true, they paid a terrible price for their acclaim.

The most tragic of the group was rebel John, whose celebrity wound up costing him his life at the hands of a deranged fan who pumped fve bullets into his idol – four into Lennon’s back.  But even in the years leading up to that dark day, Lennon’s road had been a rocky one.

After the band broke up, Lennon and his second wife, Yoko Ono, moved to the United States where they were relentlessly dogged by the F.B.I. for railing against the government and the Vietnam war.

By the mid-’70s, he was so hopelessly in the grasp of booze and drugs fed-up Yoko booted him out of their Manhattan home from 1973 to 1975. But even that shock did nothing to slow him down!

Lennon began a scandalous steamy affair with Ono’s former secretary, May Pang, and while they were together in L.A., he tried to drown his demons in a sea of alcohol.

But by 1980, he’d finally managed to get a grip. He had a new son, Sean, with Yoko, and a hit album, "Double Fantasy". He was back on top when crazed fan Mark David Chapman showed up at the couple’s Manhattan apartment building, the Dakota, on Dec. 8, 1980, and blew the “Imagine” singer away.

It’s remembered as the bleakest day in Beatles history.

But Lennon’s songwriting partner and boyhood chum McCartney has shed other tears. He had a disastrous marriage to widely reviled second wife Heather Mills. She has been branded a gold digger and an unworthy replacement for his first mate, Linda Eastman. Throughout his 29-year union with vegan Eastman, McCartney had a perfect life partner and beloved band member in his group Wings. But his bliss was shattered when Linda tragically died of cancer in 1998, leaving the star totally devastated.

When McCartney met Mills, he was convinced he’d found a woman who could help mend his agonizing heartbreak over the terrible loss of his soul mate. He married her in 2002 in a $3 million wedding in Ireland, but things soon went horribly sour.

Paul, who’s worth around $800 million, now views marrying “money hungry” Mills without a prenup as the “biggest mistake” of his life. The 2008 divorce cost him a whopping $48.6 million, plus another $15 million in real estate, proving money couldn’t buy him love.

But Paul wasn’t single for long. McCartney has found happiness again with Nancy Shevell, whom he married in 2011.

But band mate Harrison wasn’t as lucky – and his story didn’t have a happy ending.

After enjoying solo success in the early 1970s, including the album “All Things Must Pass” and the hit single “My Sweet Lord”, Harrison’s 40-year addiction to cigarettes killed him.

George finally quit smoking in 1997 when doctors discovered a cancerous lump in his throat – but it was too late.  He died of lung cancer in 2001 at age 58.

He knew he had no one to blame but himself, and said at the time, “I got it purely from smoking.”

Meanwhile, The Beatles’ drummer had his own issues. After the breakup, Starr released HIS million selling album, “Ringo" that produced two chart toppers, “Photograph” and “You’re Sixteen”, while swimming in a sea of booze.

And his desperate dependence on the bottle nearly did him in. He was caught in a savage cycle. The more he drank, the less he wanted to do and the less he did in the outside world, the more he drank. By the late 1980s, he and his second wife, actress Barbara Bach, found themselves holed up drinking in their Hollywood Hills home hardly ever leaving the house.

According to Ringo, “I wouldn’t go out, because you’d have to be in the car for 40 minutes without a drink.”

In October 1988, Ringo and Barbara finally checked themselves into the Sierra Tucson rehab clinic in Arizona.

Ringo recalls, “I landed drunk as a skunk at the clinic. I drank all the way and got off the plane completely demented. Eight days in, I decided, ‘I’m here to get help because I know I’m sick.’

“I just did whatever they asked me and, thank God, it pulled me through.”