Beatles 'reuniting to write autobiography'

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The Independent Online

Thirty years after the Beatles split up, the three surviving band members are reuniting to write the Fab Four's "autobiography".

Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are expected to make more than £1 billion from the anthology, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

The 360 page book, to be published in the autumn, has taken six years to write, and will provide the fullest and frankest account of how the band ruled the pop world throughout the 1960s.

Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, the fourth Beatle who was shot dead in New York in 1980, will receive a quarter share of the profits, although she has not been actively involved in the project, the paper said.

The band members have written the book to put the record straight on why the world's most famous band split up, as well as the stories behind the fame.

Sir Paul said: "It will dispel some of the myths and put the record straight, as every Tom, Dick and uncle of a friend has been writing books on the Beatles since 1963."

The autobiography, which will sell for about £50, will disclose new information about the group's drug taking, their sexual exploits, the rivalries, jealousies and eventual break-up in 1970.

The book will also counter the widely-held belief that Sir Paul wanted the split, said the paper.

It tells how Lennon was the first to walk away, months before the official split, leaving Sir Paul with the "blame" when he later made the official announcement.

The band's autobiography will also examine the effect that Yoko Ono had on the Beatles after she first had an affair with Lennon, and later married him.

Sir Paul, 57, Harrison, 57 and Starr, 59, have collected 1,200 photographs, mostly unpublished until now, for the book, The Sunday Telegraph reports.

The project is effectively the joint autobiographies of the three men with hundreds of statements made by Lennon, both in public and in private, woven into the picture given by the surviving band members.

It is also expected to provide an insight into how closely the surviving members have been working together in the past few years.

The book will disclose that in 1996, the three Beatles turned down an offer of 175 million dollars (£113 million) to perform 17 concerts in the United States, Germany and Japan, said the paper.

It will also give credit to Brian Epstein, the band's manager affectionately known as the fifth Beatle, who died from a drug overdose in 1967 at the age of 32.

One official at Apple Corps, the band's company said: "Most Beatles biographies have been based on press cuttings and ill-informed perceptions, while the men involved have hitherto said almost nothing."

The Beatles Anthology will be published in Britain and America, with plans to have it translated into dozens of languages, including Chinese, with worldwide sales expected to be more than 20 million.