(This is a Guest Review by David Thomas. He’s a retired music teacher and huge Beatles fan that I met a year ago at the Fest for Beatles Fans in New York. If you love his review, leave a note for him in the comment section and maybe we can make him a regular guest. Enjoy!)
And now for something completely (well, partially) different; a guest review! I was so pleased to be asked to fill in for Jennifer on her review this week as she tends to very pressing writing matters of a different kind.
Yes – Allan Klein, the man we Beatles fans love to hate! For a very long time, I’ve had an idea in my mind of what Klein was like. Unfortunately, it was based solely upon not very flattering anecdotes, and the knowledge that he had caused trouble between the Beatles. Besides, Paul McCartney, didn’t like him, so that was good enough for me! But deep down, I knew there had to be more to this man than the stereotypical caricature I had in my mind, so I sought out this book.
The book itself is well written, albeit a bit tough to follow in spots where they are discussing the details of Klein’s financial and legal deals. These spots are numerous but short, and they are really quite integral to the story, because Klein was extremely creative for his time in the way he structured deals for his artists (and himself). Many of the things he did are commonplace (or in some cases, illegal) today, but back then, they were considered revolutionary and brilliant.
Klein, as you may suspect, was far from a one-dimensional stereotype; in fact, he was a man of many contradictions. One minute he seems to be the most despicable figure EVER in the entertainment business, and the next there is something about him that evokes your sympathy. He was greedy with some, yet generous with others; he was a fierce negotiator, yet full of insecurities about himself and his abilities. He worked tirelessly to get a better deal for his clients, while simultaneously almost always getting an even better deal for himself.
The book gives an excellent history of Klein the man, and gives the insight I was looking for into what made the man “tick”. We find out why he spent a good deal of his childhood in an orphanage, and over the course of time, how he transformed an early talent for numbers into a remarkable career….through a combination of hard work, perseverance, luck, and a little (okay, maybe more than a little) deceit thrown in along the way.
As the title suggests, his dealings with the Beatles are only a part of what is discussed in the book, although from long before his first meeting with John Lennon, Klein made it his ultimate goal to work with them; an achievement which would say to the world, and more importantly to himself, that he had finally succeeded.
A great read about a key figure in Beatle history. I give this book 4 Beetles!