Former Beatles, Stones manager Allen Klein dies
By Dean Goodman Dean Goodman � 53 mins ago
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) � Infamous record label owner Allen Klein, who
played a key role in the demise of the Beatles and also nabbed control
of some of the Rolling Stones' best-known songs, died in New York on
Saturday after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, a spokesman said. He
During a career spanning more than 50 years, the New Jersey-born
accountant enjoyed a reputation as a savvy gangster-like figure. His
ruthless business practices were reviled by many, but he also earned
grudging respect for bullying labels into giving rich deals to his
"Don't talk to me about ethics," he told Playboy magazine in 1971.
"Every man makes his own. It's like a war. You choose your side early
and from then on, you're being shot at. The man you beat is likely to
call you unethical. So what?"
It did not hurt his reputation when he was sentenced to two months in
prison in 1979 for tax evasion.
He once said John Lennon hired him to protect his interest in the
Beatles because he and wife Yoko Ono wanted "a real shark -- someone
to keep the other sharks away."
His company, ABKCO Music & Records, is one of the biggest independent
labels in an industry controlled by multinational corporations. The
spokesman said it would remain family-controlled. Two of Klein's three
adult children work at the company, including son Jody who runs ABKCO.
(The acronym stands for Allen and Betty Klein Co., Betty being his
Its assets include recordings by the Rolling Stones, the Animals,
Herman's Hermits, Bobby Womack, the Kinks, Chubby Checker, Bobby
Rydell and many others.
The publishing arm boasts more than 2,000 copyrights including
compositions by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones,
Cooke, Womack, Ray Davies of the Kinks and Pete Townshend of the Who.
SAM COOKE TO BEATLES
Klein broke into the music business by auditing record labels on
behalf of clients including Bobby Darin and Connie Francis. When he
found they were owed royalties, he took half of the difference as a
His first big management client was Sam Cooke, for whom he negotiated
a lucrative recording deal in 1963 that gave the soul star
unprecedented control over his own catalog.
Klein, who was already representing "British Invasion" artists such as
the Animals, Dave Clark Five and Herman's Hermits, set his sights on
the Rolling Stones, who were laboring under an onerous deal.
He renegotiated their pact in 1965, and ended up managing the group
for about five years -- taking a 20 percent fee.
The Stones eventually tired of Klein. But the only way to break free
of him was to give up the rights to their master recordings and rights
to such timeless tunes as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Jumpin'
"In some ways Allen Klein was very much ahead of his time," Jagger
said in the 1989 Stones documentary "25x5." "We lasted about three or
four years with him, really, though the ramifications of that still
continue to this day."
Richards was more philosophical, describing their experience with
Klein as "the price of an education."
By then, Klein was focused on the ultimate prize, the Beatles. He
offered his help to Lennon in early 1969, when the Fab Four's
idealistic Apple Corps. label was fast draining the fractured group's
George Harrison and Ringo Starr also warmed to his pitch, but Paul
McCartney was fiercely opposed. He preferred the expertise of his
father-in-law, high-powered New York attorney Lee Eastman.
Amid a series of complex maneuverings that also have consequences to
this day, Klein unsuccessfully tried to secure control of the Beatles'
copyrights on behalf of the group. Michael Jackson ended up with the
rights 16 years later.
Klein did score a rich recording deal for the Beatles, but relations
within the group were past frayed, and it dissolved in 1970.
That year, Harrison "honored" Klein in a rough version of his song
"Beware of Darkness" with the line "beware of ABKCO." "It might have
ended up being prophetic. But at the time it was just a little joke,"
Harrison told Reuters in 2000.
Indeed, Harrison and Klein reunited in 1971 to put on the all-star
Concert for Bangladesh shows at Madison Square Garden in New York. It
took a decade for the funds to reach the refugees because of complex
In addition to his children and wife, Klein is survived by his
longtime girlfriend Iris Keitel, an ABKCO executive. His funeral will
take place in New York on Tuesday.
You go, Paul! Good job!!!
>In addition to his children and wife, Klein is survived by his
>longtime girlfriend Iris Keitel, an ABKCO executive.
Seems to me that's not the usual thing you find in an obituary.
"Curse you, Don Tickles, Notary Public!"
> From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090704/people_nm/us_klein_6
> In addition to his children and wife, Klein is survived by his
> longtime girlfriend Iris Keitel, an ABKCO executive. His funeral will
> take place in New York on Tuesday.
At MSNBC this same paragraph makes a lot more sense. Note "estranged wife":
"He is survived by a longtime companion, Iris Keitel, an ABKCO
executive; his estranged wife, Betty; three children, four grandchildren
and a sister."
Nor the word "infamous."
In this case, RIP = Rest in Pieces.