Allen Klein: ‘The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones…’


Allen Klein (passed 4 July 2009) The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll – Book review

In the eternal parlor game of “Who Broke Up The Beatles?” Allen Klein ranks as high as Yoko Ono.

Allen Klein was like no one the music industry had seen before. Though he became infamous for allegedly causing the Beatles’ breakup and robbing the Rolling Stones, the truth is both more complex and more fascinating. As the manager of both groups—not to mention Sam Cooke, Pete Townshend, Donovan, The Kinks, and numerous others—he taught young soon-to-be legends how to be businessmen as well as rock stars. (amazon)

As longtime Beatles associate Derek Taylor says in the book, “He is The Man We Love to Hate and I am not sure we are fair to him.” However, Goodman is more than fair, and it brings Klein, at least posthumously, a measure of the love and respect he craved in life.

While Klein made millions for his clients, he was as merciless with them as he was with anyone, earning himself an outsize reputation for villainy that has gone unchallenged until now. Through unique, unprecedented access to Klein’s archives, veteran music journalist Fred Goodman tells the full story of how the Beatles broke up, the Stones achieved the greatest commercial success in rock history, and the music business became what it is today.

He robbed from the rich and kept it,” an approach that contributed to his lasting negative reputation. His hard-nosed negotiations with Andrew Loog Oldham, the first manager of the Rolling Stones, both ensured the band’s financial fortunes and eventually gave him a huge percentage of their early royalties as well as control over their early back catalog.


In 1971, after the Beatles break up, George Harrison releases  ‘My Sweet Lord’. Turns out that the song sounds a lot like ‘He’s so fine’.

They sues Harrison for stealing the song. Allen Klein is George’s manager and he has a really great idea. Klein’s approach is “since we are richer than god, why fight this? It would be cheaper for us to just buy the song.


In fact, it would be cheaper for us to buy the entire company that owns this song.”Klein is working with the publishing arm of the Chiffon’s song.  This is where it gets super, duper, horrible.  

Behind George’s back, Klein goes ahead and buys the catalogue that owns that song.  Problem solved, right?  No.  He fucking turns around and sues George for plagiarizing (what is now, technically) his song.  Klein also knows how much George is worth, so he quadruples the damages he wants… since he has seen the Beatle’s money ledgers.(source:maybeimwrong)

The Stones had a similar relationship with Klein, only Klein tried to ingratiate himself with his clients by presenting himself as the “cool dad” on the block – the most understanding, generous, and indulgent of all possible managers. “If you wanted a gold-plated Cadillac, he’d give it to you,” Richards marveled. “When I rang and asked for £80,000 to buy a house on Chelsea Embankment near to Mick’s, so that we could wander back and forth and write songs, it came the next day.”Mick Jagger with Allen Klein firmly on his tail

What the Stones did not realize, however, was that they had already been swindled. When Klein came on board as co-manager of the Stones in August 1965, the Stones (plus Oldham) had already set up their own company in the UK called Nanker Phelge Music. Klein then promptly set up his own company, called Nanker Phelge USA – he was its president and sole stockholder – and it bore no relation whatsoever to the other Nanker Phelge. When Klein won that widely publicized $1.25 million advance from Decca, the money went to his coffers, not theirs. (Newsweek)



“Writing about contracts, percentages and deals can be tedious, but Goodman makes it as exciting as reading about an artist’s sex life. The book explodes with inside dope.” —Daily News (New York)


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