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The Story Behind The Beatles Red And Blue Albums: “The idea was to show their evolution"

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

BY THE END OF 1972 IT HAD already become clear to John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr that they may have made a mistake hiring Allen Klein as their manager. Paul McCartney, of course, had come to that conclusion long before.

The individual Beatles were flying high in their solo careers, but with their contract due to end, dissatisfaction with Klein and his practices was coming to a head. Former London Records producer Allan Steckler, employed by Klein in 1969 to work with artists including The Rolling Stones and, after their acquisition by Klein, The Beatles, could sympathise.

“Working for Allen Klein had its benefits and its shit days,” states the 89-year-old music biz lifer, philosophically, from his New Jersey home. “Some days he could be the greatest person in the world. Most days he was the biggest asshole you ever met.”

With the Apple organisation that Klein still headed owing product to EMI and Capitol Records, but nothing in the pipeline, the pugnacious mogul called Steckler into his office. “Can you come up with something?” asked Klein.

In late 1971, with The Rolling Stones recently severed from Klein but their existing catalogue still controlled by the pipe chewing martinet, Steckler had been charged with the collation and packaging of Hot Rocks 1964-1971, quickly to prove an enormous and enduring success (it’s since clocked 12x platinum in the US). Unsurprisingly, Steckler suggested doing something similar with The Beatles.

“And The Beatles being The Beatles, one album turned out not to be enough,” says Steckler. “So I went to Klein and I told him that and he said, ‘Do two albums.’ So I did.”

I put that package together. And I never got credit for it.

Source: Danny Eccleston/mojo4music.com

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