What George Harrison Thought Of Allen Klein
by Paul Cashmere - July 5 2009
Allen Klein died on the weekend (July 4, 2009). Klein was one of the most notorious music businessmen ever. At one stage he simultaneously managed both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Many knew him, few respected him! He was in it for himself and made a fortune along the way.
In my 1993 interview with George Harrison, a man who had nothing bad to say about anyone, even George had nothing nice to say about Allen.
Here is the part of the Harrison interview talking about how Klein, acting at the time as George’s business manager, went behind George’s back during the famous ‘My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine’ plagiarism case, and bought copyright of the original Chiffons songs so that no matter what happened in the case it would go his way:
Paul Cashmere: How do you feel about "My Sweet Lord" these days. How did the court case surrounding that song affect your songwriting?
George Harrison: It didn't really affect my songwriting. I did record "This Song," which was kind of a comment about the situation.
The thing that really disappoints me is when you have a relationship with one person and they turn out to betray you. Because the whole story of "My Sweet Lord" is based upon this fellow, Allan Klein, who managed the Beatles from about 1968 or '69, through until 1973.
When they issued a complaint about "My Sweet Lord", he was my business manager. He was the one who put out "My Sweet Lord" and collected 20 percent commission on the record. And he was the one who got the lawyers to defend me, and did an interview in Playboy where he talked about how the song was nothing like the other song.
Later, when the judge in court told me to settle with them, because he didn't think I'd consciously stolen their song, they were doing a settlement deal with me when they suddenly stopped the settlement.
Some time elapsed, and I found out that this guy Klein had gone around the back door. In the meantime, we'd fired him. He went round the back door and bought the rights to the one song, "He's So Fine," in order to continue a lawsuit against me.
He, on one hand, was defending me, then he switched sides and continued the lawsuit. And every time the judge said what the result was, he'd appeal. And he kept appealing and appealing until it got to the Supreme Court.
I mean this thing went on for 16 years or something ... 18 years. And finally, it's all over with, and the result of it is I own "My Sweet Lord," and I now own "He's So Fine," and Allan Klein owes me like three or four hundred thousand dollars 'cause he took all the money on both songs. It's really a joke. It's a total joke.
Paul Cashmere: There's a movie plot in there somewhere.
George Harrison: There's definitely a book, because, now with any kind of law pertaining to infringement of copyright, they always quote this case. It's become the precedent in all these law students' books.
Paul Cashmere: So we might be seeing George Harrison make a guest appearance on "LA Law."
Allen Klein died after a battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 77..
Allen Klein Dead at 77
by Paul Cashmere - July 5 2009
Notorious music figure Allen Klein, the one-time manager of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, has died after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of 77.
Allen Klein worked with the most celebrated artists in the world and build up one of the world’s great publishing and record companies ABKCO.
Klein’s first client was Bobby Darin whom he met at a wedding in 1957. In 1963, he became the business manager for Sam Cooke. He created Tracey Records, a new label for Cooke and after Cooke’s death in 1964 bought the rights to the label (and Sam’s music) from Sam’s wife Barbara.
In 1965, Klein became co-manager of the Rolling Stones with Andrew Loog Oldham and then bought Oldham’s share out a year later. Mick Jagger didn’t trust him. He fired him to set up his own business in 1970.
Mistrust was a common trait in Klein stories. During the filming of the Stones Rock and Roll Circus, Klein met John Lennon. It was soon after the death of The Beatles manager Brian Epstein. It took two years but Lennon convinced Ringo Starr and George Harrison that Klein should take over the business of The Beatles. Paul McCartney didn’t want him and did not sign the agreement.
The disagreement of management was what brought an end to The Beatles.
Klein continued working with John through the ‘Imagine’ album and helped George organise ‘The Concert for Bangla Desh’. The concert created a riff with George and John after Klein sided with Harrison to keep Yoko out of the show. That is why John Lennon was not on The Concert for Bangla Desh.
Klein screwed Harrison next. While that whole ‘My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine’ plagiarism suit was happening. (George unknowingly based the melody for My Sweet Lord on the 60s hit ‘He’s So Fine), Klein bought the rights to the earlier song but continued to fight George’s claim behind his back knowing that either way he would win.
It was also Allen Klein who was behind the legal battle with The Verve over ‘Bittersweet Symphony’. The band negotiated with Klein to sample an orchestrated piece of the Stones ‘The Last Time’. After the song was a hit, Klein demanded 100% of the royalties claiming The Verve sampled too much of the song.
So Allen Klein is dead. There probably won’t be many nice stories written about the man. He was ruthless. Some will remember him as an incredibly savvy businessman. Most will probably write up that he would have sold his own mother if there were a buck in it for himself.
(What a scoundrel, not many tears will be shed on this guy!)