Allen Klein meets with John Lennon

Monday, January 27, 1969

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On January 13, 1969, an interview of John Lennon by Ray Coleman was published in the Disc & Music Echo, making the business problems public for the first time:

Apple is losing money. If it carries on like this, all of us will be broke in the next six months.

John Lennon – Interview with Disc & Music Echo editor, Ray Coleman, January 13, 1969
From Disc & Music Echo editor, January 13, 1969

The financial situation at Apple led The Beatles’ press officer, Derek Taylor, to give John Lennon’s phone number to Allen Klein, a controversial American businessman.

I went straight to Lennon when he said they were going broke. I wanted to find out first if he realised the position he was in. John had made a public statement about the financial problems that Apple had and, from the statement, I was aware of what I had been already aware of. So, I called him and asked if I could help.

Allen Klein – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Klein is essential in the Great Novel as the Demon King. Just as you think everything’s going to be all right, here he is. I helped to bring him to Apple, but I did give The Beatles certain solemn warnings.

Derek Taylor – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

On January 27, John and Yoko Ono met Allen Klein in the Dorchester Hotel in London. They were very impressed and John decided on the spot to make Klein his personal manager.

I didn’t propose anything, I don’t work that way. I just asked him “How can I help you?” That’s all, and after we broke the ice, it was a very personal sort of meeting. We were trying to get to know each other. He was scared to death about the money situation. How would you feel, sitting there damn near broke after having made millions and millions of pounds and about to end up with nothing except memories?

Allen Klein – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

At the Dorchester meeting, Lennon said to Klein, “Look, the Eastmans are the exclusive representative of the Beatles. So we can’t talk about that. Would you be willing to represent Yoko and me?” “I was really trying to remain — not appear very anxious;” Klein recalled, “and I said, ‘Well, I think we should sleep on it tonight.’ And he said, ‘What’s the matter, don’t you want it now?’

Klein claimed the eager Lennon phoned him a few hours later to seal a management deal with the Beatles. “And I was sleeping. I got up,” Klein said. “And that’s how it began.” Lennon noted later, however, “It was plain
to me that Klein came to London expressly to offer his management services to the Beatles.

From “Baby You’re A Rich Man” by Stan Soocher

Shortly thereafter, John wrote to Sir Joseph Lockwood, Chairman of EMI:

[Allen Klein] knew all about us and our music. I knew right away he was the man for us. I wrote to Sir Joseph Lockwood that night, I said “Dear Sir Joe: From now on Allen Klein handles all my stuff.”

John Lennon – From “Apple to the Core: The Unmaking of the Beatles” by Peter McCabe and Robert D. Schonfeld (1972)

In February 1971, during the hearing of Paul’s lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles’ contractual partnership, Allen Klein declared the following about this January 27 meeting:

In December 1968 [?], I read in the press a statement, attributed to John Lennon, to the effect that if The Beatles continued to spend money at the rate at which they were doing “they would be broke in 6 months”. The following month (January 1969) I telephoned Mr. Lennon from the United States and arranged to meet him in London. This meeting took place at the Dorchester Hotel on 27th January 1969. At that time The Beatles and their company, Apple Corps Limited (“Apple”) had issued a general retainer to one John Eastman to negotiate contracts for them throughout the world. Although that retainer was terminable at any time, Mr. Lennon told me that this was the arrangement and he only asked me at this stage to look after the personal affairs of himself and his wife.

Since I was to look after Mr. Lennon’s affairs one matter of immediate urgency was the proposed acquisition by Apple, then under consideration, of Nemperor Holdings Limited, previously called NEMS Enterprises Limited (“NEMS”). I arranged to meet the other three Beatles with Mr. Lennon the following evening. NEMS was the company owned as to 90% by the estate of Brian Epstein (The Beatles’ former Manager) or his family interests, while each of The Beatles individually owned a 21/2% interest. NEMS had acted as the management company for The Beatles from 1962 to about 1967. It and its associated companies held continuing interests in perpetuity in contracts entered into by The Beatles and in the products of their services throughout this period. Some of these rights were of great continuing value, notwithstanding that the management agreement had come to an end. In particular there was a recording agreement dated 26th January 1967 between The Beatles and Electrical & Musical Industries Limited (“EMI”) which did not expire until 1967 and in which NEMS had a 25% interest. At my first meeting with Mr. Lennon mentioned above, he told me that John Eastman had proposed to The Beatles that they should purchase the Epstein interests in NEMS and that the deal was about to be put through finance having been arranged through EMI by means of an advance of £ 1 million against future royalties.

From The Beatles: Allen Klein’s Affidavit: Rockmine On-Line

Allen Klein would meet with the other Beatles on the following day, January 28, 1969.

Last updated on February 21, 2022

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