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Baby You're a Rich Man: Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit

by Stan Soocher

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1231,335,959 (3.75)3
The Beatles, the most popular, influential, and important band of all time, have been the subject of countless books of biography, photography, analysis, history, and conjecture. But this long and winding road has produced nothing like Baby You're a Rich Man, the first book devoted to the cascade of legal actions engulfing the band, from the earliest days of the loveable mop-heads to their present prickly twilight of cultural sainthood. Part Beatles history, part legal thriller, Baby You're a Rich Man begins in the era when manager Brian Epstein opened the Pandora's box of rock 'n' roll merchandising, making a hash of the band's licensing and inviting multiple lawsuits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The band's long breakup period, from 1969 to 1971, provides a backdrop to the Machiavellian grasping of new manager Allen Klein, who unleashed a blizzard of suits and legal motions to take control of the band, their music, and Apple Records. Unsavory mob associate Morris Levy first sued John Lennon for copyright infringement over "Come Together," then sued him again for not making a record for him. Phil Spector, hired to record a Lennon solo album, walked off with the master tapes and held them for a king's ransom. And from 1972 to 1975, Lennon was the target of a deportation campaign personally spearheaded by key aides of President Nixon (caught on tape with a drug-addled Elvis Presley) that wound endlessly through the courts. In Baby You're a Rich Man, Stan Soocher ties the Beatles' ongoing legal troubles to some of their most enduring songs. What emerges is a stirring portrait of immense creative talent thriving under the pressures of ill will, harassment, and greed. Praise for They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court "Stan Soocher not only ably translates the legalese but makes both the plaintiffs and defendants engrossingly human. Mandatory reading for every artist who tends to skip his contract's fine print."--Entertainment Weekly… (more)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Baby You're a Rich Man by Stan Soocher is a very interesting read. This volume ties together the various legal and financial battles which surrounded the Beatles as soon as they began to make money. My only issue is something that is difficult to completely avoid when writing about these issues, a certain amount of dryness creeps in periodically. That said, Soocher keeps that to a minimum and never loses sight of the artistic aspect of the group.

Definitely recommended for any Beatles fan as well as those interested in the business side of the music business. This would also serve as a nice cautionary tale for any aspiring artists out there.

Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via LibraryThing. ( )
  pomo58 | May 26, 2016 |
Who knew that The Beatles spent so much of their time post the breakup of the band, in court? But that's because although they weren't playing music together they were still all partners in Apple Corps. Who knew that sharks like Allan Klien and Morris Levy attached themselves to the band, trying to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the naive Beatles, babies in the world of corporate law. Who knew that Brian Epstein was such an innocent that he allowed his US merchandisers to take 90% of merchandising rights? This is an interesting book that points out the traps that people who just want to make music easily fall prey to. And its frequently very funny ( )
  Opinionated | Apr 16, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a huge Beatles fan, I already new about some of the seedier stories surrounding the band. But Stan Soocher's Baby, You're a Rich Man goes into all the gritty details surrounding the lawsuits that John, Paul, George, and Ringo were pulled into - I learned something new with each case. This book is meticulously researched with footnotes and references galore, going way beyond the usual gossip or slander that some books on the Beatles rely on. A great read! Recommended for any Beatles or classic rock fan, but also for anyone interested in strange - almost unbelievably - legal battles.
  ligature | Mar 19, 2016 |
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The Beatles, the most popular, influential, and important band of all time, have been the subject of countless books of biography, photography, analysis, history, and conjecture. But this long and winding road has produced nothing like Baby You're a Rich Man, the first book devoted to the cascade of legal actions engulfing the band, from the earliest days of the loveable mop-heads to their present prickly twilight of cultural sainthood. Part Beatles history, part legal thriller, Baby You're a Rich Man begins in the era when manager Brian Epstein opened the Pandora's box of rock 'n' roll merchandising, making a hash of the band's licensing and inviting multiple lawsuits in the United States and the United Kingdom. The band's long breakup period, from 1969 to 1971, provides a backdrop to the Machiavellian grasping of new manager Allen Klein, who unleashed a blizzard of suits and legal motions to take control of the band, their music, and Apple Records. Unsavory mob associate Morris Levy first sued John Lennon for copyright infringement over "Come Together," then sued him again for not making a record for him. Phil Spector, hired to record a Lennon solo album, walked off with the master tapes and held them for a king's ransom. And from 1972 to 1975, Lennon was the target of a deportation campaign personally spearheaded by key aides of President Nixon (caught on tape with a drug-addled Elvis Presley) that wound endlessly through the courts. In Baby You're a Rich Man, Stan Soocher ties the Beatles' ongoing legal troubles to some of their most enduring songs. What emerges is a stirring portrait of immense creative talent thriving under the pressures of ill will, harassment, and greed. Praise for They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court "Stan Soocher not only ably translates the legalese but makes both the plaintiffs and defendants engrossingly human. Mandatory reading for every artist who tends to skip his contract's fine print."--Entertainment Weekly

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