|Digital List Price:||$15.99|
|Print List Price:||$15.95|
Save $3.60 (23%)
Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Publisher
A Conversation with Fred Goodman
(Photo: Allen Klein with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, 1972. Credit: ABKCO Archives)
We asked the author of Allen Klein a few questions about his new book and its fascinating subject
What inspired you to write a biography of Allen Klein?
If you grew up a Beatles or Rolling Stones fan, as I did, Allen Klein was a name you heard – and not in a good way. He was notorious as the business manager who supposedly broke up the Beatles and robbed the Rolling Stones.
That was still pretty much the public perception in 2009 when Klein died. I wondered if that wasn't a bit simplistic. The rock world is certainly full of terrible stories about artists getting ripped off and if Klein was a snake oil salesman he likely could have roped in a couple of suckers – but the Beatles and the Rolling Stones? He also managed an unusually business savvy artist in Sam Cooke and worked with Phil Spector, the Kinks, Pete Townshend, the Animals, and others. I wondered if Klein's story might be more intriguing than the demonic portrait.
Was Allen Klein a rogue and a rascal? Absolutely. Did he always put his clients' financial interests above his own? No. And he certainly cultivated a reputation as a rough customer – he loved nothing so much as a good lawsuit, and some of his legal battles – particularly with the Rolling Stones and George Harrison – went on for decades. But he was hardly a cartoon villain. He was a complicated and sophisticated businessman who recognized that record companies systematically infantilized and financially abused artists, and he became a staunch artists' advocate. Klein greatly admired the creativity and originality of his clients and turned the balance of power in the music business on its head, helping artists to gain control over their work and careers. And because he delivered like no one else, he expected to be paid like no one else.
What are some business practices Klein made prominent that are still in use today?
As an accountant and business manager, Klein brought many innovations to the music business including aggressive audits, seeking reversion of rights, maintaining an artist's ownership of masters, and questioning virtually every facet of a contract as a matter of course. But the biggest change is the way he transformed the relationship between performers and labels. Before Klein, few artists and producers questioned the underlying suppositions inherent in record company contracts–that the labels had the upper hand because the artists needed them. Klein, who presented himself to artists as a hired gun, recognized that the artists were creative, original and thus valuable, and took an extremely confrontational tone in negotiations. He did as much or more than anyone else to show artists that the record companies needed them – and that they shouldn't be in a hurry to bargain away the leverage their talent gave them.
(Photo: Klein with Mick Jagger & Keith Richards in 1967. Credit: Daily Mail/Solo Syndication)
How would you describe Klein’s relationship with The Rolling Stones?
Klein was first brought on by the Stones' manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, in 1965 to negotiate a new recording contract and give the band guidance in America. The record deal was a whopping success: Klein negotiated contracts worth a guaranteed $2.6 million – the first real money they'd ever gotten for records and a far better deal than the Beatles had. In America, he was able to help them ratchet up their tours significantly, leading Richards to declare Klein's work 'magnificent.' Recalled Richards, 'He was brilliant at generating cash.'
Over the next five years, the relationship slowly soured – partly because Klein had become the business manager for the Beatles and was paying less attention to the Stones, but also because Jagger was growing increasingly sophisticated as an artist and businessman and unhappy with Klein's level of involvement and control.
You describe some epic clashes between Klein and The Beatles, especially Paul McCartney.
Becoming the manager of the Beatles was Klein's white whale. Like Ahab, he stalked his target relentlessly for years. The death of original Beatles manager Brian Epstein and the precarious financial position of Apple – which threatened to bankrupt the group – finally gave him his opening. But by that point, the Beatles were barely a group, and I suspect even Klein, who thought he knew everything there was to know about them, didn't realize how wide the rift was between McCartney and Lennon. Believing that getting Lennon's approval was the key to getting the Beatles, Klein successfully wooed him and Yoko Ono. Only then did he discover that the group had recently retained the father-and-son legal team of Lee and John Eastman – soon to be Paul McCartney's in-laws – as advisers. Klein and the Eastmans were soon fighting a proxy war for McCartney and Lennon over control of the group. They battled each other constantly, and whatever one side wanted, the other fought. Klein eventually became the business manager of the Beatles, although McCartney declined to sign the agreement. McCartney never trusted Klein – he called him 'a cheap New York crook' – and eventually brought suit to break up the Beatles in order to wrest control from Klein. The trial, which painted Klein in the blackest hues possible, severely tarnished his reputation.
Klein came from very humble beginnings. How do you think this fueled his ambition?
In Klein's case, the child was certainly father to the man. His mother died shortly after Allen was born and his father, a kosher butcher struggling to make a living in Depression-era Newark, put Allen and a sister to an orphanage. They remained there until his father remarried five years later.
Klein's years in the home left him with a chip on his shoulder – as did his difficult relationship with his father, a distant and disapproving man. Yet Allen was also remarkably resourceful and clever: later, during a hitch in the Army, he discovered that others didn't view his foundling past as shameful – on the contrary, many of his fellow soldiers found it intriguing and viewed him as something of a Dickensian exotic. And while he never shook the feeling that he'd been abandoned as a child – he had a lifelong abhorrence of being alone and would go to extraordinary lengths to keep people close or prove his worth to a client – he was soon playing up his orphanage childhood. It was a key piece of his appeal to John Lennon, who nursed a similar sense of himself as an underdog and outsider and viewed Klein as a kindred spirit, at least initially.
He was so quick to play up his notorious persona. Do you think this portrayal is accurate?
Klein was a brawler and advertised the fact. One record company owner recalled Klein as a bully – and this despite the fact that Allen simply handled the books for the label and was therefore working for them rather than their opponent. Ray Davies of the Kinks – hardly a shrinking violet – recalls Klein being so aggressive and belligerent in negotiations on behalf of his band that even the Kinks' own lawyer started to cry. Instilling fear was certainly a part of Klein's strategy. A lot of artists liked that: they wanted someone who could scare the pants off record company executives. But it also served a second, equally important purpose: it masked the fact that Klein prepared tirelessly for these sessions and always knew what he was after. His bullying hid his brilliance, which was his greatest weapon.
What do you think is Klein’s most important contribution to music today?
Klein swung the balance of power to the creators. Brian Epstein was a marvelous advocate for the unknown Beatles, a gifted impresario who forced the world to recognize their creativity and opened the door for a world of wonderful music. But he was not a hard-nosed businessman. Under the contract he signed, the Beatles were paid a farthing each – that's one-quarter of a penny – per single sold. Klein recognized that the record companies and music publishers were grossly underpaying performers and was the right man to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction.
From the Author
- File Size : 23007 KB
- ASIN : B00LZ7GO02
- Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint Edition (June 23, 2015)
- Publication Date : June 23, 2015
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 341 pages
- Language: : English
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #278,457 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews: