How The Beatles were ripped off for millions by “gangsters”

The Beatles

Everyone wanted a piece of The Beatles, the most successful group in history, from the millions of rabid fans waiting for them at every turn to the Ku Klux Klan threatening the group after John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” remark. The Liverpudlian quartet’s immense visibility brought many things, not all of which were positive. The most tragic outcome of this was the murder of their frontman years after their split. But more immediately, The Beatles’ success drew them into the seedy criminal underbelly of their time.

During the 1960s, when law enforcement was lax and criminal enterprises were more prevalent in society than they are today. It was only natural for opportunistic figures to target the most lucrative cultural phenomena available.

Strangely, it appears that The Beatles were always prepared to confront the dark side. At the start of the decade, their formative stay in Hamburg as fresh-faced 17-year-olds threw them right into the city’s murky underbelly. They rubbed shoulders with gangsters, pimps, sex workers, and waiters armed with truncheons and knuckledusters for protection. Guitarist George Harrison once said, “It was good fun” to be in such a wretched hive of villains.

According to The Beatles’ guitarist, gangsters left the band alone in Germany. But once they had risen to prominence and changed the course of popular culture, an array of shadowy characters appeared. And their hands stretched out and friendly smiles. However, this would be less exciting than when they were younger. The most notable was Allen Klein, a suspect who managed the band near the end of their career. He would later face years of litigation from them and his other well-known clients, The Rolling Stones. Paul McCartney famously refused to trust him.

According to Harrison, Klein was not the only issue. He recalled how the band’s company, Apple Corps, was robbed by a slew of well-known “gangsters”. It caused each member to lose millions of dollars from their creative endeavor.

In one interview, he stated: “Dreadful.” I mean, all of the money we ever made from Beatles records, Beatles films, or any other source went into this company, Apple, which all these famous gangsters had robbed. It was a disaster, and Paul was suing us three because we had this guy managing us.

The ‘My Sweet Lord‘ songwriter revealed how one unnamed criminal had him tied up. He said, “I had my song publishing, you know, it was in New York. It was an illegal company, you know ‘. This guy had set me in New York, which meant that I either was breaking some company laws or didn’t own the company. He owned all my copyrights, and I was in a mess.” So when Denis (O’Brien) arrived it allowed me to breathe again. And he salvaged all the pieces that he could and organized me.”

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