Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Epigraph

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Contents

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xiv

A disheveled Allen Klein stood in the narrow hallway of the New York state court auxiliary building in lower Manhattan’s Tribeca district. For several days now, in the summer of 1998, dressed in what appeared to be the same wrinkled white suit, the Beatles’ former manager attended a music royalty case that pitted the 1960s Ronettes vocal group against Klein business associate...

Part I. Can't Buy Me Love

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1. Dripping with Enthusiasm

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pp. 3-12

Brian Epstein coordinated most aspects of the Beatles’ career from the time he became their manager in 1962. But the band enforced a hands-off policy when it came to their music, so Brian rarely stopped by Beatles recording sessions. One day in the spring of 1967, however, while the Beatles were working on the...

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2. “Start a Scream Team!”

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pp. 13-17

On February 9, 1964, hours after the Beatles’ landmark first us appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Nicky Byrne sat sipping champagne at the Oak Bar in the Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles were staying, next to New York City’s Central Park. Byrne was president of Seltaeb Inc. (“Beatles” spelled backward), which owned the...

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3. “Outrageous Irrelevancies & Distortions”

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pp. 18-27

The Beatles’ record releases may have topped the British charts beginning with “Please Please Me” in February 1963, but according to Tony Bramwell, an executive at NEMS Enterprises, which managed the Beatles, it was after the band’s smash October 1963 appearance on the popular British TV series...

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4. The Reign Ends

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pp. 28-30

By 1967, Brian Epstein faced a growing set of personal problems. He had attempted suicide in 1966, following an incident in which he was robbed and blackmailed by an errant boyfriend named Dizz Gillespie during the Beatles’ final us tour. In May 1967, Brian entered the Priory Hospital in London to improve his failing health, the result...

Part II. For the Benefit of Mr. K

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5. “Charismatic, Arrogant – American”

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pp. 33-41

For the first year after Brian Epstein passed away, the Beatles managed Apple Corps with their own staff, but the company was poorly run and hemorrhaged huge amounts of money. “Since Brian died, we’ve sort of been torn apart,” Ringo Starr said. “We have to look after ourselves and do everything Brian did. . . . If I wanted to be a...

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6. “Don’t You Want It Now?”

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pp. 42-53

In May 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney sat for a joint interview with Newsweek magazine, as part of their campaign to publicly launch the Beatles’ utopian, artist-oriented Apple Corps Ltd. During the interview in a New York hotel suite, McCartney “sipped beer, flicked ashes on the rug” and told Newsweek, “We’re in the happy position of not...

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7. “Each & Every Word”

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pp. 54-61

The pitched battle between Klein and the Eastmans for the business soul of the Beatles engendered long-term ill will on all sides. John Eastman called Klein “the biggest bulltwaddler ever.” In a letter drafted to Paul and Linda McCartney, John Lennon complained about “all the petty shit that came from your insane...

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8. “To Stop Klein”

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pp. 62-70

Paul McCartney boycotted day-to-day involvement in Apple Corps as soon as Allen Klein gained control of the Beatles’ companies. But McCartney came roaring back into Apple’s affairs when on December 31, 1970, he filed the most famous intra-band lawsuit in music history: the “writ” in the High Court of Justice in London to...

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9. Remnants of the Relationship

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pp. 71-78

Despite his cost-cutting measures and staff reorganization, Allen Klein hadn’t helped Apple Corps run smoothly. Sales of Apple non-Beatles artists in the early 1970s were limited mostly to hits by the Beatles-sounding Badfinger. Case in point: the last artists Apple signed were multi-instrumentalist brothers Derrek and Lon Van...

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10. To “Bleed” ABKCO

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pp. 79-84

As Allen Klein fought to secure his claims against the Beatles in New York, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr shifted their English suit against him into high gear. To force Klein to divide his legal and financial resources between two active fronts, in December 1973 the Lennon bloc retaliated against Klein’s growing...

Part III. Nowhere Man

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11. “In a Secret Vault”

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pp. 87-95

On April 25, 1972, immigration lawyer Leon Wildes went to the US Immigration and Naturalization Service’s district office in New York City to see the agency’s files on his clients, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The INS, overseen by the US Department of Justice, had begun deportation proceedings against the married couple for overstaying...

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12. “Get the Hell Out of the Country”

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pp. 96-101

The US government’s campaign to formally force John Lennon out of the country began in earnest in February 1972. On February 4, US senator Strom Thurmond, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, wrote US attorney general John Mitchell that “many headaches might be avoided if appropriate action be taken in...

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13. “National Security Risks”

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pp. 102-110

The Immigration and Naturalization Service set John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s deportation hearing for March 16, 1972. John’s 1968 cannabis conviction in London remained the purported reason for forcing him out of the United States. But on March 14, 1972, Lennon’s immigration lawyer Leon Wildes received potentially good news...

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14. “Skullduggery Was Afoot”

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pp. 111-116

Special Inquiry Officer Fieldsteel issued his written decision on March 23, 1973. District Director Sol Marks announced the ruling at a press conference at the INS’s New York office. The Lennons were in Los Angeles that day. Leon Wildes attended the New York event, for dramatic effect holding a yellow rose Yoko...

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15. “I’m a Doctrine Now”

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pp. 117-122

The Board of Immigration Appeals issued its ruling in the Lennon case on July 10, 1974. Like Ira Fieldsteel, the BIA saw no distinction between the parts of a cannabis plant. The skeptical immigration board said of John’s claim that he had been framed by Sergeant Pilcher, “[W]e do not believe that the [English] Dangerous Drugs Act of...

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16. Say You Want a Revelation

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pp. 123-126

John Lennon was no longer a high-profile political activist when his immigration battle came to an end. For the next several years, almost until his death in December 1980, he retreated to domestic life with Yoko and their son Sean at their Dakota home in New York City. John declined press interview requests, too. “I remember...

Part IV. Got to be a Joker, He Just Do What He Please

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17. “I’ve Caught the Beatles!”

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pp. 129-137

October 9, 1974, was a busy day for John Lennon. Not only was it his thirty-fourth birthday, but he was scheduled to be deposed in the lawsuit his former manager Allen Klein had brought against Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr alleging they owed Klein management commissions. Yet, Lennon spent much of...

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18. “I Am Always Worried”

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pp. 138-151

With Morris Levy’s infringement suit against him settled, John Lennon could better focus his music sights on his Rock ’n’ Roll album project in Los Angeles. Unfortunately for John, however, the studio sessions were dominated by Phil Spector’s legendary erratic behavior. Spector was signed to produce the entire oldies...

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19. Expedience on All Sides

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pp. 152-161

Morris Levy had played another card in his campaign to ingratiate himself with John Lennon by inviting John, May Pang (John didn’t officially reunite with Yoko until January 1975), and John’s eleven-year-old son, Julian, from his first marriage to Cynthia Lennon, to join Morris at Disney World in Orlando. Julian was...

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20. “Extraordinary Noise”

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pp. 162-170

When John Lennon took the witness stand, on January 20, 1976, his trial lawyer James Bergen, from the Beatles’ New York firm Marshall Bratter, asked him what rights Capitol’s parent affiliate EMI had under its contract with the Beatles. “As far as I understand, they own everything I do, even if I speak,” said Lennon, who by...

Part V. All Things Must Pass

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21. Here Comes the Summons

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pp. 173-177

George Harrison stepped on stage at Madison Square Garden on the night of December 19, 1974, for the start of his final three shows of the first nationwide US solo tour by a former Beatle. A few days before, with tour-members sitarist Ravi Shankar and keyboardist Billy Preston at his side, Harrison told journalists during a White House...

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22. “An Unmistakable Similarity”

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pp. 178-183

As potentially damaging as it may have been to George Harrison’s songwriting legacy, Allen Klein’s lawsuit to take over Harrisongs Music wasn’t George’s biggest music-publishing headache. The pending copyright infringement suit against him over “My Sweet Lord” challenged his originality as a songwriter and would span most...

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23. The Rhythm of the Water Pump

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pp. 184-189

The three-day, nonjury liability trial over “My Sweet Lord” began on February 23, 1976, at the New York federal courthouse at 40 Centre Street in lower Manhattan. District Judge Richard Owen was a former US Department of Justice antitrust litigator appointed to the federal bench by President Richard Nixon in 1973. The judge was...

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24. “Fun Knocking Him over the Head”

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pp. 190-195

Judge Richard Owen handed down his liability ruling on September 8, 1976, several months after the trial ended. Owen concluded that “My Sweet Lord” did infringe “He’s So Fine”—but that George Harrison hadn’t done so intentionally. The district judge emphasized George’s courtroom admission that there was a strong similarity...

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25. “The Largest Refugee Flight in History”

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pp. 196-204

The country of Bangladesh achieved its independence—out of a civil war between East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh, and West Pakistan—in 1971, the same year that George Harrison was first served with the Bright Tunes’ suit over “My Sweet Lord.” With one of the highest population densities in the world, per capita income...

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26. In the Bag

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pp. 205-210

Harold Seider worked as an executive at ABKCO Industries for several years when, one day in the early 1970s, he walked into president/ CEO Allen Klein’s office, on the top floor of the forty-one-story office tower at 1700 Broadway in New York City’s theater district, and saw something he hadn’t seen before: Klein in his oversized leather...

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27. “Believe PB’s Testimony?”

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pp. 211-219

The trial on Allen Klein’s 1977 indictment began in Manhattan federal court on October 11 of that year. Klein didn’t learn until a few days before the trial that Pete Bennett was cooperating with federal prosecutors against him. That was because after Bennett was indicted, his attorney Martin Schwartz claimed there were “clear indications of...

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Epilogue. The Law & Winding Road

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pp. 220-224

After the tax-evasion case, both Allen Klein and Pete Bennett stayed in the entertainment industry for the remainder of their careers. Bennett continued working in music promotion, though his most successful years had passed. He also promoted fashion models and developed a “How to Become a Star” seminar. Bennett’s friend, artist...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 225-226

Many thanks to Steve Hull, my editor at University Press of New England, for his receptiveness to the proposal for this book and insightful suggestions for making the book manuscript stronger.
Susan Barone for being there with an open ear while I deliberated over how to transform a massive amount of Beatles litigation materials into a cohesive tome.
The staffs at archives I traveled to: the British...

Appendix of Beatles-Related Court Documents

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pp. 227-234

Notes

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pp. 235-266

Bibliography

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pp. 267-274

Index

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pp. 275-292

Image Plates

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