Allen Klein was like no one the music industry had seen before. The hard-nosed business manager became infamous for allegedly catalyzing the Beatles' breakup and robbing the Rolling Stones, but the truth is both more complex and more fascinating. As the manager of the Stones and then the Beatles - not to mention Sam Cooke, the Who, Donovan, the Kinks, and numerous other performers - he taught young soon-to-be legends how to be businessmen as well as rock stars. In so doing, Klein made millions for his clients and changed music forever.
But Klein was as merciless with his clients as he was with anyone else, 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, how the Stones achieved the greatest commercial success in rock history, and how the music business became what it is today.
©2015 Fred Goodman (P)2015 Tantor
"Klein changed the way rock does business. In this balanced, fascinating, and well-written biography, Goodman gives him credit where it's due." (Kirkus)
just one more book lover
Allen Klein wanted the Beatles. He got the Beatles. He lost the Beatles. He went to prison.
When you think of bad$&@ rock managers, Allen Klein comes to mind. And Goodman's book is a worthy and long-awaited look at the man who made things happen for his clients--but at a cost.
Klein started with Sam Cooke, Bobby Darin and Bobby Vinton, then scored a big haul with the Rolling Stones. He believed he was the best manager. And he wanted to manage the best group, which in the late '60s put him on the hunt for the Beatles.
He got his wish, after Brian Epstein died and the other Beatles' wanted an alternative to Paul McCartney's suggestion of girlfriend Linda Eastman's father and brother. But the group was unraveling and Klein became another wedge that split the band. What would follow, if you read You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup by Peter Doggett, were years of financial and legal wrangling.
Much of that wrangling would involve Klein, as the representative of John, George and Ringo. And you get the sense from Goodman's readable bio that Klein was in his element. He loved power. He loved managing music groups and he loved a good (or bad) fight.
If you are like me and have always been attracted to the oversized Goliaths who populate the ranks of rock management, you will enjoy this book. Goodman does not paint a sympathetic psychological portrait. Rather, what he provides is an outside look, a man revealed through his actions. You don't crawl into the sheets with Klein. You come upon him across a table or in a corner office coaxing, cajoling and threatening.
Klein's greatest skill as a negotiator was his ability to see what artists wanted and then move worlds to get it. What they wanted in the early '60s was more money and control over their songs. Klein believed artists should be paid more. He negotiated lucrative royalty deals and had the Stones record their music independent of the label, thereby giving them and him more control over the production and copyright. Too bad Lennon and McCartney didn't get the same counsel when they were signing songwriting contracts in 1962.
But whatever good Klein did for his clients was offset by his lust for power and money. You were truly stiking a deal with the devil when you signed with Klein. The biography reveals a pattern. Klein the savior becomes the guy the band can't unload fast enough, and for good reason.
Eventually, Klein would go to prison for tax fraud, which probably gave no end of satisfaction to his enemies. He would make a brief comeback representing Phil Spector and dabble in films. But the slick deal maker from New Jersey, whose life was haunted by a childhood spent in an orphanage, lived out a quiet last act.
As narrator, Mike Chamberlain gives a straight reading. He doesn't perform the text as some narrators do. He just tells it like it is, no fuss.
I really like this book. I really didn't know much about Allen Klein, but I knew that he must have been of great importance being the business manager for The Stones and The Beatles. Klein has been insulted publicly by Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, however they should be grateful to him for saving them financially. In the case of The Beatles, they were losing money hand over fist after the creation of Apple. The Stones could have been another victim of the poor recording contracts by many artists who ended up penniless if it wasn't for Allen Klein.
This book gives a very clear insight to how the business side of the recording industry works. Klein wasn't perfect, but he was on the side of the artist. I am sure that by today's standards that the contracts he negotiated seem unfair, however he made enormous strides for the recording artist. I would highly recommend this book.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.