In the intricate web of rock ‘n’ roll history, cautionary tales are as abundant as chart-topping hits. One such cautionary tale involves a dire warning from Mick Jagger to John Lennon about the perilous path of teaming up with Allen Klein. Jagger’s prophetic words echoed through the years as The Beatles, against advice, forged a partnership with the controversial figure, only to discover the consequences of a decision that would haunt them.
The Warning Call: Jagger’s Attempt to Save Lennon
In the aftermath of their manager’s demise, The Beatles faced a crucial decision in selecting a new figure to guide their financial destinies. Enter Allen Klein, a name that sent shivers down Jagger’s spine. Having experienced Klein’s questionable dealings firsthand with The Rolling Stones, Jagger urgently called Lennon to advise against this alliance. Regrettably, Lennon remained unswayed, setting the stage for a tumultuous chapter in The Beatles’ story.
In Barry Miles’ book, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul McCartney revealed:
“We, the Beatles, were all gathered in the big boardroom there, and we asked Mick how Klein was, and he said, ‘Well, he’s all right if you like that kind of thing.'”
The Rolling Stones’ Bitter Experience
Prior to The Beatles’ ill-fated decision, The Rolling Stones had their share of grievances with Klein. Allegations of royalty misappropriation, tax negligence, and publishing rights theft left a bitter taste in the mouths of the iconic rock band. Jagger’s suspicions ran deep, prompting the hiring of a law firm to scrutinize Klein’s actions. When the news reached Jagger that The Beatles were considering Klein, he tried to intervene but encountered a roadblock.
“We became bonded there, at that event, to connect ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Hotel California’,” said Felder. “The two double-neck guitar players.”
View this post on Instagram
Jagger’s Note to McCartney: A Last-Ditch Effort
Aware that McCartney harbored reservations about Klein, Jagger went the extra mile by delivering a handwritten note to McCartney through his assistant. The note, a silent plea for caution, bluntly warned McCartney of Klein’s dubious character.
“Jagger gave me a note in an envelope to take over to Apple addressed to Paul. It was a warning, maybe in solidarity with him. It was to the effect of ‘Don’t go near him, he’s a dog. He’s a crook,'” recounted Jagger’s assistant Peter Swales.
Unraveling the Tangled Web: Klein’s Downfall
The aftermath of The Beatles’ collaboration with Klein mirrored the Stones’ prior struggles. As Klein managed The Beatles until their disbandment, the group, along with Lennon, Harrison, and Starr’s solo pursuits, encountered mounting problems. By 1973, echoing Jagger’s forewarnings, all three had severed ties with Klein.
“There are many reasons why we finally gave him the push, although I don’t want to go into the details of it,” admitted Lennon in 1973. “Let’s say possibly Paul’s suspicions were right … and the time was right.”
In a twist of fate, Lennon came to acknowledge Jagger’s prescient advice as the chaos unfolded with Klein. The cautionary tale stands as a testament to the intricate dynamics of the music industry, where alliances and decisions can shape destinies and alter the course of iconic bands.