Allen Klein becomes The Beatles’ business manager and the Eastmans are appointed Apple’s general counsel

Monday, February 3, 1969
Timeline More from year 1969
Apple headquarters, 3 Savile Row, London, UK

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In January 1969, The Beatles, at the initiative of Paul McCartney, started to look for a new manager for Apple. But quite quickly, Paul was convinced that Lee Eastman, father of Linda Eastman and his future father-in-law, should be put in control of The Beatles’ financial affairs. The other Beatles were not really comfortable with the idea that Paul’s future father-in-law would run Apple, but they agreed to have Lee Eastman and his son John as business advisors for a short while.

On January 27, John Lennon made controversial American businessman Allen Klein his personal adviser. On January 28, the four Beatles met Allen Klein for the first time. On February 1, The Beatles, Allen Klein, and John Eastman discussed John Eastman’s idea of buying Brian Epstein’s former company NEMS Enterprises for £1 million.

On this day, February 3, The Beatles, Allen Klein, and John Eastman met again at Apple headquarters. It was during that Allen Klein would be appointed The Beatles’ business manager charged with examining their finances and finding a way to stop NEMS from taking a quarter of their income.

As a compromise to Paul, Lee Eastman and John Eastman were appointed as Apple’s General Counsel, to keep an eye on Allen Klein’s activities.

John was going with Klein, and George and Ringo said, ‘OK, we’re going with John.’ I realised I was expected to go along with it, but I didn’t think it was a good idea – simple as that, really. Actually I asked Mick Jagger when he came round, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘Oh, he’s all right if you like that kind of thing.’ He didn’t really warn us off him, so there it was – and that then was the three-to-one situation. In The Beatles, if anyone didn’t agree with a plan, it was always vetoed. It was very democratic that way, so the three-to-one situation was very awkward and as a result ‘things’ would happen.

Paul McCartney – from The Beatles Anthology

When Allen Klein came on board the whole atmosphere changed right away. You could no longer wander casually in and out of people’s offices. Doors were closed. He was very controlling about any of us having personal contact with The Beatles.

Tony Bramwell – Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020

After the meeting, the Apple press office released the following statement:

The Beatles have asked Mr Allen Klein of New York to look into all their affairs and he has agreed to do so, it was announced from their headquarters at Apple, 3 Savile Row, London W1, today.

In London’s High Court in early 1971, during the hearing of McCartney’s lawsuit to dissolve The Beatles’ partnership, the following was read out as part of Allen Klein’s affidavit:

On the morning of 3rd February 1969, I went to 3 Saville Row and saw the four Beatles, John Eastman and a few principal staff members of Apple, who were informed that my company (then still called Cameo-Parkway) had been appointed to look into the affairs of The Beatles and all their Companies. At this meeting John Eastman agreed that he would, after all, act as legal adviser to The Beatles and all their companies.

Apple issued two press announcements, one relating to my Company’s appointment and a separate one relating to the appointment as lawyers of John Eastman’s firm, Eastman & Eastman. Cameo-Parkway also issued a press announcement of its own, a copy of which is now produced and shown to me marked “A.K.4”.

On the evening of the same day, 3rd February 1969, I met Clive Epstein and Mr Pinsker at the Dorchester Hotel to discuss with them the possible purchase by Apple of the share capital of NEMS. Clive Epstein was then Managing Director of NEMS and Mr Pinsker’s firm, Bryce Hammer & Co, acted as accountants for both NEMS and The Beatles. I asked Clive Epstein if he would be willing to wait and defer a decision with regard to his disposal of NEMS for about three weeks until I had had an opportunity to assess the financial position of The Beatles and their companies. Clive Epstein agreed to defer a decision for at least three weeks. The following day I left for New York to begin an investigation into the three main sources of The Beatles’ income as a verification of their financial position. The three sources were United Artists Corporation, the Company which handled The Beatles’ films (“United Artists”), General Artists Corporation, which handled their American tours (“G.A.C.”) and EMI and its United States subsidiary, Capitol Records Inc. Formal letters of direction were issued by The Beatles to enable me to obtain the requisite information. There is now produced and shown to me marked “A.K.5” a bundle comprising copies of these letters and other letters referred to below.

Allen Klein – From

Following this appointment, it would take three months for the contract with Allen Klein to be drawn up and signed… by three Beatles out of four.

The Beatles have called in American business negotiator Allen Klein – who has looked after the financial affairs of Rolling Stones, the Animals and Herman’s Hermits – to advise them on the running of their Apple enterprises. Rehearsals for the group’s previously-planned concert have now definitely become the basis of a TV documentary; some of the specially-written songs where heard by startled passers-by in London’s Savile Row last Thursday, when the Beatles gave a spontaneous performance on the roof of Apple and were filmed for the programme.

It is understood that almost all 12 tracks of the new album, centred around the documentary, are now complete. Final recording will take place within the next fortnight, with a view to the LP being released in April or May.

Allen Klein has been in London for preliminary discussions with the Beatles this week – a conference with them took place on Monday – and he hopes to begin work next week.

From New Musical Express, February 8, 1969
From New Musical Express, February 8, 1969

Rolling Stones business manager Allen Klein is to take over the business affairs of Apple, the Beatles’ company. In a statement to MM on Monday, a spokesman said: “The Beatles have asked Mr Allen Klein of New York to look into their affairs and Mr Klein has accepted”.

This means that Klein, the man who has steered the Rolling Stones to international success, is the secret businessman that the Beatles want to streamline their organisation and put it on an economic footing.

Two weeks ago, John Lennon said that unless they stopped losing money, Apple would go out of business. […]

From Melody Maker, February 8, 1969
From Melody Maker, February 8, 1969

Last updated on November 16, 2021

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