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Monday, July 6, 2009

Record label exec Allen Klein dies at 77


Record label executive Allen Klein died in New York on Saturday from Alzheimer’s disease. Klein was infamous for his ruthless business dealings and his big name clients ranging from Sam Cooke to the Beatles to the Rolling Stones. Klein had a reputation of being particularly abrasive and has been blamed for the Beatles’ ultimate downfall through his alienation of members of their inner circle and money-thirsty tactics (He once said, “Artists fuck groupies, I fuck artists”). Through his rough reputation he also gained a lot of respect for being able to bully labels into offering the best possible deals to his clients, though many times the deals ended in lawsuits between Klein and his clients over who owned the rights to his clients’ recordings (there were over 40 lawsuits involving Klein throughout his life). “Don’t talk to me about ethics,” he told Playboy magazine in 1971. “Every man makes his own. It’s like a war. You choose your side early and from then on, you’re being shot at. The man you beat is likely to call you unethical. So what?” Pete Townshend of The Who once described him as “the awesome rock-leech Godfather.” Not too many memories of him are fond ones, but perhaps that’s how he would have wanted it. He had a parody of the 23rd psalm displayed on his desk that said, “Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of evil, I have no fear, as I am the biggest bastard in the valley.” Klein was 77 when he died.

-Laurie Moot
Currently listening to: "Beware of the Darkness," by George Harrison

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