Wednesday, July 08, 2009

ALLEN KLEIN - Dead on the Fourth of July

Controversial rock manager Allen Klein was alternately praised and condemned by various members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In both cases, he made lots of money for the group...and for himself...and ended up with full pockets each time he was finally shown the door.

Not the typical "Mr. Businessman," Klein was an accountant who seriously wanted to help naive performers out. In a classic example, he promised Bobby Darin he could find $100,000 in missing royalty payments, and did. His deal with Darin was no fee unless he did his job, and he did it well. He managed Sam Cooke and won the naive singer a huge contract with RCA including a hefty percentage of record sales. His informal entry into the world of The Beatles began when he impressed John Lennon with his fan-like knowledge of John's songs.

Some Beatles theorists believe Lennon's championing of Klein to become the new business manager, while Paul McCartney favored his father-in-law, was the closest single reason for The Beatles break-up. Klein initially seemed to be doing great work for the Fab Four, straightening out messes, getting rid of parasites, negotiating lucrative deals, and even rescuing the debacle of "Let It Be" and bringing in Phil Spector to turn a mess of tapes into a successful album release. Klein would later buy Spector's Philles label. But it all soured, and Paul McCartney chose to leave the band. The name he muttered was Allen Klein, not Yoko Ono.

After The Beatles broke up, Klein continued to work with John Lennon and also with George Harrison, but inevitably, Allen's sharp business moves worked against him. His advice to John ("Don't have Yoko sing at your concerts...") may have been what most fans would've said...but John took it very personally. When the time came to sever his connection with Klein, Lennon wanted blood. He penned "Steel and Glass." As he did with the Maharishi (who became "Sexy Sadie") John curbed his temper enough to avoid naming Klein, but most everyone knew who the target was.

Typical Lennon cruelty...he struck a low blow in the opening stanza of the song, alluding to Klein's mother dying before Allen was even a year old:

"You're mother left you when you were small
But you're gonna wish you wasn't born at all."

The song ends:
"Well your mouthpiece squawks as he spreads your lies
But you can't pull strings if your hands are tied
Well your teeth are clean but your mind is capped
You leave your smell like an alley cat."

When Klein finally stepped away from The Beatles in 1977, he took over three million dollars in settlement money. No wonder he was given the name "Decline," in The Rutles parody film "All You Need Is Cash" the following year.

His motto was: "Though I walk in the shadow of the valley of evil, I have no fear, as I am the biggest bastard in the valley." He went on to many more deals in the music and movie world until he was slowed by Alzheimer's. He died at age 77.
You know John's version of the song. Here's a solid cover.

Update: Nov, 2011. Rapidshare's annoying "30 days without a download kills it" policy killed the original links. They are back via a better company.

Download or listen on line. No capcha codes. No porn ads. No percentage going to the blogger for his "hard work." The hard work was done by the artist.

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