What George Harrison Thought Of Allen Klein
by Paul Cashmere - July 5 2009
photo by Paul Cashmere
Allen Klein died on the weekend (July 4, 2009). Klein was one of the most notorious music businessmen ever. At one stage he simultaneously managed both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
Many knew him, few respected him! He was in it for himself and made a fortune along the way.
In my 1993 interview with George Harrison, a man who had nothing bad to say about anyone, even George had nothing nice to say about Allen.
Here is the part of the Harrison interview talking about how Klein, acting at the time as George’s business manager, went behind George’s back during the famous ‘My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine’ plagiarism case, and bought copyright of the original Chiffons songs so that no matter what happened in the case it would go his way:
Paul Cashmere: How do you feel about "My Sweet Lord" these days. How did the court case surrounding that song affect your songwriting?
George Harrison: It didn't really affect my songwriting. I did record "This Song," which was kind of a comment about the situation.
The thing that really disappoints me is when you have a relationship with one person and they turn out to betray you. Because the whole story of "My Sweet Lord" is based upon this fellow, Allan Klein, who managed the Beatles from about 1968 or '69, through until 1973.
When they issued a complaint about "My Sweet Lord", he was my business manager. He was the one who put out "My Sweet Lord" and collected 20 percent commission on the record. And he was the one who got the lawyers to defend me, and did an interview in Playboy where he talked about how the song was nothing like the other song.
Later, when the judge in court told me to settle with them, because he didn't think I'd consciously stolen their song, they were doing a settlement deal with me when they suddenly stopped the settlement.
Some time elapsed, and I found out that this guy Klein had gone around the back door. In the meantime, we'd fired him. He went round the back door and bought the rights to the one song, "He's So Fine," in order to continue a lawsuit against me.
He, on one hand, was defending me, then he switched sides and continued the lawsuit. And every time the judge said what the result was, he'd appeal. And he kept appealing and appealing until it got to the Supreme Court.
I mean this thing went on for 16 years or something ... 18 years. And finally, it's all over with, and the result of it is I own "My Sweet Lord," and I now own "He's So Fine," and Allan Klein owes me like three or four hundred thousand dollars 'cause he took all the money on both songs. It's really a joke. It's a total joke.
Paul Cashmere: There's a movie plot in there somewhere.
George Harrison: There's definitely a book, because, now with any kind of law pertaining to infringement of copyright, they always quote this case. It's become the precedent in all these law students' books.
Paul Cashmere: So we might be seeing George Harrison make a guest appearance on "LA Law."
Allen Klein died after a battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 77..