New Beatles book reveals “deeply embarrassing and uncomfortable” meeting between Mick Jagger and John Lennon

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A controversial new book about the complex inner workings of The Beatles is to be released later this month. It contains a number of controversial stories from the band’s heyday, including one “uncomfortable” moment featuring The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger and the unscrupulous accountant Allen Klein, who simultaneously managed both bands for a time.  

Written by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines, All You Need Is Love arrives on April 11th. The former was the personal assistant to The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, who took over looking after their business affairs and other personal issues after Epstein died of a combined alcohol and barbiturate overdose in 1967.

Notably, in 1983, Brown and Gaines attracted much controversy after they published The Love You Make. While there were several incendiary takes included, the most controversial was the suggestion that an affair between frontman John Lennon and Epstein had taken place in Barcelona when on holiday in April 1963, only three weeks after the musician’s son, Julian, was born. At the time, a trusted insider dubbed the publication an immense betrayal on Brown’s behalf. It is said that Paul McCartney and wife Linda were so enraged that they tore the book up after it was released and burned each page in the fire.

In a new interview with The Times, Brown revealed why he has decided to release All You Need Is Love, an oral history comprised of the original interview transcripts from The Love You Make. He said he was compelled to do so after a journalist asked him to talk following the success of Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary Get Back. He informed them he hadn’t spoken about the Fab Four since his 1983 book arrived. However, Brown was reminded that he was the only one left apart from McCartney and drummer Ringo Starr, and in response, felt he had a responsibility to clear things up for good. 

From the deteriorating relationship between Lennon and McCartney to Yoko Ono’s role in the end of the group and Lennon’s heroin use, the new work covers many significant aspects of their career. However, there’s one moment that’s particularly fraught, featuring Jagger, Lennon and Klein. It was a meeting Brown had set up in private for The Rolling Stones vocalist to expose what Klein was really like. Things did not go to plan, though.

Famously, McCartney was highly suspicious of the American from the beginning. He knew that Klein’s business model made him the middle man, making all his artist’s publishing rights his legal property. This smelt fishy, and he simply did not want to depend on someone with Klein’s nature to distribute royalty cheques, particularly after The Rolling Stones had been duped by one of his supposedly well-intentioned contracts.

Brown tells the publication: “He was a hideous person. He even looked like a crook: sloppy and fat, always wearing sneakers and sweatshirts. Everything he didn’t like was ‘for shit’.”

There has always been conjecture about why Lennon was so into the idea of Klein managing the band, and Gaines has his thoughts. “The interviews suggest it is because Allen Klein offered Yoko a million dollars for her movie project,” he reveals to The Times. “She was enticed and John would do anything Yoko said.”

Reflecting on that awkward moment where Jagger was meant to change Lennon’s opinion on Klein for the better, Brown recalled how “deeply embarrassing” the meeting was, as the slippery businessman surprisingly showed up, invited by Lennon. “I asked Mick Jagger to come over and explain to the four Beatles who this Allen Klein was,” Brown states. “And John, in his wonderful way, had Klein turn up to the same meeting, which was deeply embarrassing. It made Mick very uncomfortable too.”

After The Beatles split in 1970, Klein kept a stranglehold on Lennon and George Harrison through the release of the former’s Imagine and the latter’s Concert for Bangladesh. Things eventually broke down for Lennon and Klein, with the former Beatle finally firing him and later admitting that McCartney’s suspicions were right all along.

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