Allen Klein Dies

The self-proclaimed “biggest bastard in the valley,” who once managed The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, died in New York on July 4. He was 77.

During the 1960s he renegotiated the contract between The Rolling Stones and its label, but fell from grace with the group after he purchased the rights to several of the band’s songs, including “Satisfaction” and “Jumping Jack Flash” from a previous manager. Keith Richards once described Klein’s time with the Stones as “the price of an education,” according to the BBC.

Photo: AP Photo

By 1969 The Beatles hired him over the objections of Paul McCartney’s father-in-law, Lee Eastman. Although Klein negotiated a shrewd recording deal for the Fab Four, members of the group were already fighting amongst themselves and would officially call it quits one year later.

George Harrison would later hire Klein to help produce the charity event “Concert for Bangladesh” at Madison Square Garden in 1971.

As part of his legacy, Klein leaves behind one of the largest independent labels in the world – ABKCO (Allen & Betty Klein Company), named after himself and his wife.

In an early take of “Beware of Darkness,” George Harrison included the line, “beware of ABKCO” as a joke honoring the lawyer, according to Reuters.

Klein broke into the music business by auditing record labels for unpaid royalties to artists. Klein would then represent the artists and take half the royalty payment as his fee. Artists benefiting from Klein’s method included Bobby Darin and Connie Francis. His first big management client was Sam Cooke.

Klein enjoyed and even promoted his image as a “shark.” He once sent out a Christmas card paraphrasing the 23rd Psalm – “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, because I’m the biggest bastard in the valley.”

Klein was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Funeral services will be held Tuesday in New York.

Read the complete BBC article here.

Read the complete Reuters article here.