Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out The Beatles, Made The Stones, And Transformed Rock & Roll

Biography by Fred Goodman - Book Review

If you have heard any history at all about the Rolling Stones or the Beatles, you no doubt have heard the name Allen Klein. But how much do you really know about this manager, publisher and enfant terrible as he cut a brash swatch into the early days of rock and pop? Now you can learn all there is to know about Allen Klein in Fred Goodman's can’t-put-it-down bio about the man: Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out The Beatles, Made The Stones, And Transformed Rock & Roll.

Goodman leaves no stone — rolling or otherwise — unturned here in recounting Klein’s life — growing up hard in Newark, New Jersey, to his tenacious work ethic he adapted was still in his teens. After a short stint in the military, he became an accountant in the entertainment world. Once he got his foot in the music business door, his rise was imminent as he represented clients as diverse as Sam Cooke, Bobby Vinton. It was that he worked with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Eventually he founded his company ABKCO, Inc.

Surely lots of what you have heard or even read before about the man who came to represent John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in their post Beatles careers is true, and Klein certainly grabbed lots of opportunities and money. What becomes clear is that through Goodman’s rich research, we see Allen Klein was taking on the pop music world while it was still catching its breath in the mania of the 1960s. He read contracts like no other, finding loopholes, improving publishing deals, making independent record contracts possible for his clients, and working the IRS and draconian UK tax laws like a master.

In some ways, Klein was a bully, ands in others a savior — and still, others an enigma who oftentimes worked a deal even if it meant he’d lose money, just for the thrill of getting into a conflict.

Goodman weaves his tale from what has to have been hours of interviews with Klein’s friends, associates and enemies. As he did with The Mansion On The Hill, which touches on other music business moguls like Bob Dylan’s manager Albert Grossman, Bruce Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau and Eagles manager and record label owner David Geffen, the research is thorough and new facts come to light.

Reading the delicious Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out The Beatles, Made The Stones, And Transformed Rock & Roll, you’ll be thrust back to a time where the art of the music deal was re-imagined by men like Allen Klein.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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