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Spotlight: Allen Klein

Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was not the only controversial figure to make obituary headlines today. On Saturday, music executive Allen Klein, who once managed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and was later sued by his clients for his shrewd business acumen, died Saturday in Manhattan. He was 77.

Klein might in fact be one of the only former managers to have had several hateful songs written about him. John Lennon wrote in his 1974 song "Steel And Glass," "Your teeth are clean, but your mind is capped / You leave your smell like an alley cat."

Wow! Pretty harsh coming from a man who only wanted to spread love and peace throughout the world.

But Lennon, along with the rest of the Fab Four, and Mick Jagger and his band mates had reasons to abhor the man who once negotiated on their behalf. Without members of the Stones being aware, Klein obtained the rights to many of their hit songs, forcing the group to sue in 1984. He has since cashed in on all the royalties while the band has not.

As for the Beatles, some say he helped push the band towards its demise in 1970 and allowed ATV music publishing to obtain the rights to part of the Beatles catalog. And as we all know by now, Michael Jackson secured the rights to ATV in the 1980s, which many hail as a brilliant business move by the artist.

Klein made his entry into the music biz by helping Bobby Darin obtain past music royalties and the rights to his own music in the early 1960s, a concept that was unheard of at the time. But its seems later Klein stepped over the line, taking advantage of those who trusted his business sense.

By Lauren Wiseman  |  July 6, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Lauren Wiseman  
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