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Overview (3)

Born in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Klein was born in 1931, into a New Jersey Jewish family. His mother died before he was a year old, and his father placed young Allen and his two sisters in Newark's Hebrew Shelter Orphanage. Later he lived with an aunt. In his teens, Klein worked several jobs while attending night school; in class, he sometimes appeared asleep, but when given a math or accounting question, he could work out the answer in seconds, without even opening his eyes.

Klein went on from accounting classes (marrying wife Betty after college) to working in the field, eventually for a company who handled the bookkeeping for several show-business personalities, learning the ins and outs of the business as he went along. When Klein met singer Bobby Darin at a wedding in the late 1950s, he candidly asked him "How would you like to make $100,000?" When the surprised Darin asked what he would have to do for it, Klein's reply was "Nothing. Just let me go over your accounts."

Klein's investigation of Bobby Darin's books resulted, true to his prediction, in a $100,000 check given to Darin by his record company, and Allen Klein began making a name for himself - a good one among celebrity clients, who praised him for the money and financial security he was able to give them, and a nasty one among industry insiders, who spoke of his tenaciousness and tendency to be blunt, and as a contract-buster to be looked out for. Either way, Klein well earned his nickname "the Robin Hood of Pop."

The "British Invasion" of the early 1960s brought Klein many more clients - some readily, some only with time. As The Beatles became the biggest act in popular music, Klein expressed an interest in "buying" them from Brian Epstein, but made little progress. In the meantime, he took over management of The Rolling Stones from Andrew Loog Oldham, bought a quantity of stock in MGM, and gained control of the Cameo-Parkway record label. The latter he merged with his own company, resulting in the birth of ABKCO (for Allen & Betty Klein and Company).

Ironically, it was Paul McCartney who first suggested Klein be contacted to possibly work in some way for the Beatles, after the Rolling Stones sang his praises (so to speak) with the ready cash Klein acquired for them, by an advance on their recording contract. John Lennon met Klein casually in 1968, on the set of The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1996), but only months later did Klein's chance truly come, when he read Lennon's comment in the press that business problems at Apple Corps (the Beatles' company) would leave them "broke in six months". Their management had foundered since Brian Epstein's death, with no one person acting as "the boss" in over a year, and the band mostly in charge of their own affairs.

Klein invited Lennon and Yoko Ono to visit his hotel suite in London, and spent an evening getting acquainted with them. He impressed Lennon greatly by knowing not only his song lyrics, but the real meaning and intent behind many of them. Lennon felt a kind of kinship with Klein, both of them growing up without a father around and raised by an aunt, and each preferring to speak their minds. Klein was also kind to Yoko, which was a rare occurrence at the time.

After meeting with Klein, Lennon immediately endorsed him as his de facto manager (writing the chairman of EMI "From now on Allen Klein handles all my stuff"), and convinced George Harrison and Ringo Starr to also take him on. Paul McCartney objected, preferring his soon-to-be father-in-law Lee Eastman to take the reins. An attempt at a joint meeting between the band and both would-be managers misfired badly, as Eastman first patronized, then lost his temper with Klein. Klein used this to his advantage, gaining the immediate sympathies of Lennon, Harrison and Starr, and their signatures on paper soon afterward as their new manager. McCartney chose Eastman instead, but did pose for "signing" pictures with Klein.

Allen Klein's involvement with the Beatles was a factor in their breakup, the same with countless other things. He successfully renegotiated their recording contract with EMI, after threatening to have the Beatles quit recording if their royalty rates weren't increased, and stopped the money and resources that were pouring out of Apple, getting them on a more solid financial footing. (Apple staff balked at now having to punch in on a time-clock.) He wasn't able to regain control of Northern Songs (Lennon and McCartney's publishing company) though, or realize many of the original hopes for Apple as a conglomorate. And he wasn't able to stop the band from growing apart, as people.

Klein's working relationship with the former Beatles deteriorated considerably after their split. He helped George Harrison put together the The Concert for Bangladesh (1972), with the proceeds going to UNICEF, but some mistakes in paperwork and timing kept much of the money frozen in an escrow account, instead of going where it was needed. Lennon and Yoko Ono also cooled on Klein, after Klein had sided with Harrison in declining Ono a chance to perform at the concert, and was unable to help in their custody battle for her daughter Kyoko. Eventually suits and countersuits began to fly.

Klein eventually settled with Lennon, Harrison and Starr in January 1977, and continued his own business career, eventually owning the publishing and recordings of many of his artists (and thereby considerable control of their potential income). Early records by Herman's Hermits, the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and Phil Spector are still sold through ABKCO, while most of the Cameo/Parkway repertoire (including hits by Chubby Checker, The Dovells, Little Eva, The Tymes, and ? and the Mysterians) remained in the vaults from the 1980s until the 2000s.

Klein gradually retired, turning his business affairs over to his son Jody. Jody remarketed ABKCO's music catalog, bringing out CDs of Cameo/Parkway acts for the first time, and also resolved his father's longtime dispute with El Topo (1970) director Alejandro Jodorowsky. Klein passed away of complications from Alzheimer's Disease in 2009.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: wdv <radsay@yahoo.com>

Spouse (1)

Betty (? - 4 July 2009) ( his death) ( 3 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Renegotiating contracts, securing pay advances for clients, recovering "overlooked" royalties and payments
Originated the "business manager" role, as it pertains to musicians

Trivia (27)

Father of Jade Klein and designer Jennifer Klein.
Founded Allen Klein & Co. in 1957; incorporated it in 1965.
In July of 1967, acquired a controlling interest in Cameo-Parkway Records, Inc.
On September 16, 1968, the stockholders of Cameo-Parkway approved its acquisition of Allen Klein & Co., Inc..
In February of 1969, Cameo-Parkway changed its name to "ABKCO Industries Inc." ("ABKCO" for short).
"ABKCO" stands for "Allen & Betty Klein and Company".
The production/distribution company ABKCO Films was a division of ABKCO Industries, Inc..
Klein's company ABKCO still owns the copyrights and masters to the old Cameo/Parkway Records catalog, including many 1950s and 1960s R&B and rock hits ("The Twist" by Chubby Checker, "So Much In Love" by The Tymes).
Bought the publishing company which owned the song "He's So Fine" in the late 1970s, during its plagiarism suit against George Harrison over the similar-sounding "My Sweet Lord"; Klein effectively "switched sides" in the suit, which continued into the 1990s, and Klein ultimately lost.
Parodied by John Belushi as "Ron Decline" in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978) .
Ended his involvement with The Beatles in 1977 for a settlement of £3 million; dissolved his last management ties to John Lennon and Yoko Ono while visiting their New York apartment that year.
Helped George Harrison organize and produce the Concert for Bangladesh (The Concert for Bangladesh (1972)). A minor blunder of Klein's tied up a portion of the proceeds, through a years-long tax investigation. (The money was eventually released to UNICEF.)
Was responsible for bringing Phil Spector onboard The Beatles' Let It Be (1970) movie/album project, to remix and post-produce the soundtrack.
Renegotiated The Beatles' record contract with EMI in 1969; got them the highest royalty rate ever paid to an artist at that time. Also responsible for the release of "Something"/"Come Together" as a single, to get the group some needed cash.
As manager for three of The Beatles, Klein only received a percentage of their increased revenues; had their company Apple Corps continued to lose money, Klein would have been paid nothing.
Paul McCartney was the only Beatle who never signed a management agreement or contract with Klein, though he posed with Klein for photos at a pretend "contract signing" in 1969. John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono were also present; the photos appear in Anthony Fawcett's Lennon biography.)
Studied accounting in his teens; became expert at mentally calculating figures, without resorting to paper.
First came to note in the late 1950s, when Klein's review of Bobby Darin's accounts turned up $100,000 unpaid in royalties and session fees. (Darin soon received his payments, and Klein his first notoriety, alongside Darin's thank-yous.)
Klein's mother died when he was less than a year old; his father (a kosher butcher of Hungarian descent) left Klein and his two sisters in the care of an orphanage.
When his health began to decline, his son Jody Klein assumed control of much of ABKCO.
Candid and earthy by nature, especially when it came to business. Once held a press conference at Apple, during the fight for Northern Songs (in which music publisher Dick James had recently sold his shares to ATV) in 1969; one London newspaper remarked that the conference "must have set some kind of record for unprintable language."
The Rolling Stones grew so infuriated with Klein--whose company still owns an enormous chunk of their 1960s songs--that Mick Jagger once chased him down the hall of a posh hotel.
Although he had lived with a girlfriend for years, he never divorced his wife.
Convicted of tax fraud in 1979 and served two months in prison for failing to report income from sales of promotional records by The Beatles and other groups.
He is survived by his sister, Naomi Klein; longtime female companion, Iris Keitel; his wife Betty Klein; two daughters-Robin and Beth Klein; a son Jody Klein; and four grandchildren.
Bought the rights to Alejandro Jodorowsky's masterpiece El Topo (1970) on John Lennon's recommendation; Lennon loved the movie and wanted to help Jodorowsky, who'd had trouble finding a distributor. Relations between Klein and Jodorowsky soured, however, and Klein blocked distribution and even showings of "El Topo" for many years. (Jodorowsky encouraged interested fans to bootleg the movie, if they wanted to see it.) Klein's son Jody finally reconciled with Jodorowsky, bringing the movie back into distribution.

Personal Quotes (3)

The message on his Christmas cards one year] 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."
[to new acquaintances, tacitly acknowledging his reputation] Am I the way you imagined me? Tell me how you imagined me."
There are no language barriers when you are smiling.

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