Allen Klein dies at 77
Notorious financial acrobat and lawyer Allen Klein died Saturday at 77 from Alzheimer’s disease. Klein was one of the factors in the break up of The Beatles, when John, George and Ringo hired him to save Apple from bankruptcy and to renegotiate the Beatles’ deal with Capitol/EMI about royalties from record sales. Paul McCartney was opposed to Klein handling the band’s business affairs, he would rather have his own father in law, Lee Eastman in that position. The “all four must agree” democratic tradition of The Beatles was broken. Klein managed to get The Beatles a better record deal and he cleaned up at Apple by firing a lot of what he thought was the dead meat, however some of the people he fired had been loyal Beatles servants since before the band made it big.
To disassociate himself from Klein, Paul had to sue the other members of the band (Klein’s contract made him impossible to sue), which put the final nails in the coffin of the Beatles.
Allen Klein from New Jersey had made a name for himself by renegotiating artists’ record contracts with good results. He was also enriching himself by taking a good share of the new bargains. After handling the Rolling Stones affairs, his company, ABKCO (The Allen and Betty Klein Company) had all the rights to the sixties recordings of the group.
When George Harrison was sued by music publishers “Bright Tunes” because they felt that his composition “My Sweet Lord” was plagiarizing their own “He’s So Fine”, Klein first fought on George’s side as his lawyer, only to turn around a few years later to buy “Bright Tunes” and continue the case against George.
John Lennon’s song “Steel and glass” from the “Walls And Bridges” album is supposed to be about Allen Klein. In Eric Idle’s Beatles parody “All You Need Is Cash” from 1977 about the fictitious group “The Rutles”, Allen Klein’s character was called “Ron Decline” and was played by John Belushi.
With Klein dead, three of Paul McCartney’s adversaries have now met their destiny in recent weeks, with record producer Phil Spector going to jail for murder, and Michael Jackson and Allen Klein dying.