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'Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll' by Fred Goodman
10 July 2015
6.20pm
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meanmistermustard
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As there will be a good few articles coming about the book, Klein and his relationship with The Beatles, and also it looks mighty interesting, a thread for this upcoming release.

WSJ article on Klein titled 'The Man Who Broke Up The Beatles'.

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Shamrock Womlbs, Bongo

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

15 July 2015
3.42pm
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Zig
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I can't read the entire article without being a subscriber. Can anyone else? Perhaps someone could copy/paste and put it under a spoiler.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

15 July 2015
3.45pm
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meanmistermustard
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Strange that they have put it behind a wall as it wasnt when the link was posted. Sorry.

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Zig

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

15 July 2015
3.49pm
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Zig
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No worries - I will be curious to see if any Forumpudlians subscribe to the WSJ online.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

23 August 2015
1.33pm
pickles
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I just finished this, and I'm torn whether to recommend it to anyone or not.

On the one hand, its nice not to see Klein demonized: he's been caricatured as the bad guy for so long, and Doggett made a really good point about that in YNGMYM: if Klein really was a "Demon King," why did John, George and Ringo support him so avidly, and for so long? Klein was not a caricature, he was a very important figure in Beatles history, and perhaps the key reason behind the split, so its nice to see him portrayed with some nuance.  And you do sympathize with what Klein went through as a kid; losing his mother, growing up in an orphanage, having a distant, disapproving father.

On the other hand, the author goes out of his way to provide an extremely one-sided and ultimately favorable view of Klein. And that sets off some alarm bells, esp. as the author was personally approached by the Klein family to write the biography, and they opened their archives to him. Now Goodman, the writer, insists there was no quid pro quo involved, but that would be a lot more believable if Goodman didn't omit a number of key facts and gloss over Klein's failures. 

There are two major arguments Goodman makes about Klein: one as a person, another as a businessman. The personal one is that Klein, because of his traumatic background, was incapable of letting people go, saying goodbye, and being alone: he was irreparably damaged by his upbringing, and that influenced his personal relationships with all his clients. The business argument is that, yes, Klein was a shark: but he was no more or less moral and shady than all the other sharks: he was simply the biggest one with the sharpest teeth.

Goodman argues that Cameo-Parkway wasn't a real scandal, and, more importantly, that Nanker-Phelge was a legitimate effort to protect the Stones from Britain's taxes, and not an effort to scam the Stones out of their catalog. He treats it as an isolated instance, and, except for Sam Cooke's music, doesn't mention the numerous other catalogs Klein wound up owning, through similar machinations. He  also argues that Klein's insertion into the "My Sweet Lord " lawsuit was an attempt by Klein to woo George back, rather than make George pay for leaving his management. Also, he implies that it was okay that John, George and Ringo had signed contracts changing Klein's commissions without notifying Paul (one of the major issues at trial) because Paul didn't want to talk to Klein anymore. I don't care if the author thinks something is "okay:" I want to know if it was legal or not, (I suspect it wasn't) and Goodman doesn't tell me that. Klein's massive screw-up on the Concert For Bangladesh -- the fact that he didn't declare a charity before the concert -- is met with a shrug by Goodman: well, he should have known better. The fact that that tied up millions of dollars for over a decade? Big deal.   

His Beatles coverage could have been fleshed out a lot more: he does do a very good job of showing just how obsessed Klein was with getting the band, even before Brian's death: evidently Klein talked about them for days and days at a time, strategizing how to get his foot in the door. But his actual coverage of Klein's first sit-down meeting with Lennon omits some key facts, like that John was using heroin at the time, and perhaps wasn't in the most stable state of mind to make major business decisions. He mentions that Klein flattered Yoko, but doesn't note how one of the ways he did is by promising to use Apple's money to sponsor her art exhibits. I was disappointed in Goodman's attention to Klein's personal relationships with all the other Beatles except John: Klein goes from being George's protector go viewing George as an ingrate, and Ringo is evidently unimportant. There's no attempt by Goodman to explore Klein's relationship with Paul, or acknowledgement that one of the reasons Paul may not have liked Klein, in addition to Pau's preference for the Eastman's, is because A. Klein was a bully (something Goodman does admit, numerous times) and B. it was so patently obvious that Klein was in John's (and Yoko's) corner. After a chapter or two of emphasizing how close Klein's relationship was with John, George, and Ringo, he argues that they eventually fired him because he couldn't reach a proper settlement with the Eastman's: so after that intense, personal, emotional connection, that's the *only* reason they split with him? It's strikes me as simplistic.

 In trying to deflect blame away from Klein, the author pushes a lot of it on McCartney's shoulders, and makes Paul's refusal to trust Klein look unreasonable and selfish, rather than informed. Goodman argues that Klein's meeting with John, where he ingratiated himself by going through the Lennon/McCartney catalog and identifying who wrote what, made a big impression on John, which is true, but Goodman also argues that Klein's assessment of who wrote what was accurate, and we know it wasn't: you have Klein in 1971 saying he was the one who "reminded" John that John had written 70% of the lyrics of "Eleanor Rigby ." Goodman argues that Paul and George's November 1970 meeting ended "amicably," and that there was a good chance they could work out the Klein issue in January: he doesn't mention that George's final words to Paul on the subject were "You'll stay on the fucking label, Hare Krishna." He portrays Paul's lawsuit as purely motivated by money and doesn't mention Paul's profound depression and anxiety that he was going through at the time, much of which was caused by Paul being trapped in a band that no longer existed and with a manager he didn't trust. I think Doggett did a much better job of fleshing out the motivations for the lawsuit than Goldman and, ultimately, I'd argue that, if you want the better picture of Klein, read Doggett. I'm glad I didn't spend any money on this: I checked it out from the library, and if you really want to read it, I suggest you do the same.                           

  

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meanmistermustard, Into the Sky with Diamonds, ewe2
24 August 2015
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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Great review. You might have been torn at first, but by the end you clearly aren't!

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)

25 August 2015
8.41am
pickles
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Thanks: I'm glad you liked the review. You're right: as I started the review I was still torn, but by the end, after I'd gone through all the omissions and excuses Goodman made, I simply couldn't recommend the book to anyone. Which is a shame: I really would like to see a work that really went in depth on Klein and treated him in an impartial way, but so far YNGMYM is the best there is.   

25 August 2015
9.42am
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meanmistermustard
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Its a shame that you found the book to be that way @pickles as it looks like it could have been a very interesting read into Klein and his handling of the Beatles related cases. Disappointed is the word I would use for myself. A wasted opportunity.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

26 August 2015
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Zig
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Thanks for the "heads up" @pickles. I may eventually read this someday, but after reading your review, it won't be any time soon. Books written with bias (good or bad) are not my cuppa tea. The title alone seems biased.

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, let it roll for all its worth. And all the children boogie.

8 September 2015
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ewe2
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There's an excerpt here from the book that has similar annoying elisions and mythology around the Let It Be release. I'll take Doggetts word over a lazy rehash of McDonald any day.

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15 March 2020
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I'll wait for the Ron Decline biography.

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