Rumors surface some Beatles are talking to Allen Klein

Sunday, November 13, 1966

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On November 13, 1966, The Sunday Telegraph published a front-page article announcing that two of The Beatles had approached Allen Klein, the business manager of the Rolling Stones. The article disturbed George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and annoyed John Lennon, who was displeased by the suggestion that they were disenchanted with their manager, Brian Epstein. Paul McCartney, who was on vacation in France, did not react to the article.

Epstein’s spokesman declared that “Neither Brian nor The Beatles will comment on this news story, because of its ridiculous content.

In March 1964, Klein had approached Epstein with an offer for the Beatles to sign with RCA for $2 million, but Epstein had declined, saying that he was loyal to EMI. After Epstein’s death in August 1967, The Beatles formed Apple Corps. Klein announced in December 1967 that The Beatles might join his new record label.

In January 1969, Klein contacted Lennon after reading his press comment that the Beatles would be “broke in six months” if things continued as they were. On January 27, 1969, Klein met with Lennon, who retained him as his financial representative. Klein ultimately became the business manager of The Beatles in February 1969.

From Sunday Telegraph, November 13, 1966:

Mr Allen Klein, the American impresario, film producer and business manager of The Rolling Stones, has been approached by two of The Beatles over their future management. The move follows wide speculation that The Beatles are on the verge of breaking up as a group. The approach to Mr Klein was made, I was told yesterday, through a ‘third party’ on behalf of two of The Beatles. The identities of the two were not disclosed. Mr Klein, 34, arrived in London on Friday night and had talks with Mr Andrew Oldham, The Rolling Stones’ creative manager, about a film he will produce entitled Only Lovers Left Alive. Yesterday, Mr Klein was in bed with a chill, but his lawyer, Mr Martin Machat, said to me: ‘Mr Klein had the approach through a third party who was talking to two of The Beatles. He is very interested in The Beatles and thinks that they could be even bigger in films. But he would do nothing to come between them and their management. The decision would have to lie with them.’ In any case, the immediate future could not be affected as, I understand, the Brian Epstein – Beatles contract does not expire for some considerable time.

From Sunday Telegraph, November 13, 1966

Earlier in the day Epstein had been rattled by a story that had appeared in the Sunday Telegraph suggesting that the Beatles were contemplating new management. The piece opened by revealing, “Mr. Allen Klein, the American impresario, film producer and business manager of the Rolling Stones, has been approached by two of the Beatles over their future management.” The tip-off was that the two Beatles—presumably John and George—had approached Klein through a third party and that Klein was “very interested” to meet them. Diplomatically, he said that he wouldn’t do anything that would come between the group and their present management.

Klein was clearly sounding them out, using the press to say that they deserved to be bigger cinema stars than they currently were but denying that he’d ever made an approach. Over the next week his lawyer, Marty Machat, was quoted as saying that he wasn’t at liberty to reveal the third party liaising on behalf of the Beatles, reveal the identities of the two Beatles involved, or even confirm whether Klein would be meeting any of the Beatles while in London. Through Tony Barrow, Brian Epstein issued strong denials that there was any rupture between him and the group, claiming that the Klein story was false.

From “Beatles ’66: The Revolutionary Year” by Steve Turner


A SUGGESTION that two of the Beatles had approached an American concerning their future management is known to have aggravated all three members of the group who are in London — Paul McCartney is abroad and probably unaware of the matter.

The “Sunday Telegraph” front-paged a report that two of the Beatles — it did not know which two — had approached Allen Klein (the Rolling Stones’ American representative) through a “third party” which the paper was also unable to identify.

Although Allen Klein was in London he did not announce the story himself nor did he make himself available for comment. He has since returned to New York — still without making any comment.

On Sunday Brian Epstein dismissed the rumour as “ridiculous.” The NME understands that George and Ringo were disturbed and that John Lennon was particularly annoyed about the suggestion of their being disenchanted with Epstein.

It seems likely that the Beatles’ next single will not now be issued until early January.

From New Musical Express – November 18, 1966
From New Musical Express – November 18, 1966

Last updated on November 24, 2023

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