Title: Baby You’re a Rich Man: Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit
Author: Stan Soocher
This was a LibraryThing Advance Reading Copy, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
I was looking forward to learning more about behind the scenes Beatles. Reading about the lawsuits against them, and the people who got rich from these suits seemed a fascinating way to go. Not so much.
Stan Soocher’s deeply researched book does tell every single detail (or so it seems) of the convoluted legal world of The Beatles from their first manager, Brian Epstein, to their last, Allen Klein. But after a while, it reads like a laundry list of industry moguls suing each other and The Beatles in a frenzy of mean-spirited greediness. Some of the lawsuits seem to be filed out of spite. Those are just the outsiders. The suits between the members of the group are a reflection of their evolution from young Liverpool lads to mature artists realizing that many of the events happening to them are neither what they expected, nor what they wanted as artists.
The most interesting part was the intertwined lawsuits against John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Not only was J. Edgar Hoover’s campaign to have Lennon expelled from the US for his vocal political views against the Viet Nam war, but Yoko’s ex-husband was playing games with custody of her daughter with him. Lennon and Ono were caught in a Catch-22 of suits which hampered their ability to resolve anything.
The odious Allen Klein looms large for much of the book, finding new and distasteful ways to put more of The Beatles’ money into his own pocket. It was almost a never-ending litany of fleecing his clients by law suit.
Soocher’s detailed writing tends to be dry. Not quite completely boring, but not quite enthralling either.