New York — ABKCO Industries president Allen Klein will release four albums by the Rolling Stones. Klein, who managed the Stones from 1965 to 1970, owns the release rights to much of the material the group has recorded throughout its career.
Klein said that ABKCO will issue one album of “totally original, unreleased material,” the Stones’ 1968 Rock and Roll Circus LP, a double package of their greatest hits and a double anthology album compiled with the aid of Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones’ first manager. These albums will be released in addition to Made in the Shade, a greatest hits collection authorized by the Stones that Atlantic Records will distribute in late May. No final dates were announced for the ABKCO albums.
Klein claimed that ABKCO, the publishers of many Stones compositions, has always owned the rights to the material, including the unreleased songs. But Mick Jagger, speaking for the Stones, dismissed Klein’s assertion as misleading. “We settled out of court,” he countered. “No one loses in a settlement. We got a lot of money [$1,000,000] that he owed us. The deal was, if he gave us the money, we would give him an album.”
Stones spokeswoman Jane Rose charged that a settlement had occurred over three suits filed since 1972. She claimed that the three actions had “ratified the past in return for freeing up the future,” prevented the release of material that Jagger felt was “rubbish” and won the band the million dollars.
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“It was for songwriting royalties that he owed Keith and me from 1965 onward,” Jagger said about the cash settlement. He explained that the Stones had offered the original songs in exchange for the royalty money when it appeared that they could be tied up in court for years. “I wasn’t particularly happy about having to put it together,” Jagger said bitterly, “but you have to live with that. The record is a lot of unreleased tracks which I wouldn’t have ever put out, but it was just a very easy way to get out of this continuing legal suit. I just wanted to get rid of him. He’s just living off us and what we did five, ten years ago, you know? It’s pretty pathetic.”
The “original material” album was delivered by the Stones to Klein on April 1st but will probably not be released as is. “He [Klein] don’t like it,” Jagger said, adding that the Stones feel the same way. “He wants to talk about it with us. It’ll probably be another compromise.”
Rock and Roll Circus, the other single album, is a film soundtrack the Stones did for British TV. One of their last projects before the death of Brian Jones, it includes material by Eric Clapton, the Who, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Jethro Tull, Jagger warned that the “four or five tracks of the Rolling Stones” were “already released versions” and Jane Rose said that Klein would have to secure permission from some of the other major artists scheduled to appear on the record.
“I didn’t particularly want it out,” Jagger said about Circus. “I don’t particularly like it. But see, he [Klein] and London and Decca have the rights to repackage all our old material between 1963 and 1969.”
As for the double albums, Klein said that the greatest hits package would be sold only on TV, and that it would include “28 singles — all the big ones.” The Oldham anthology, Klein said, would include some lesser-known songs along with their big hits. “I’m going to make it responsible to history,” he mused. Jagger felt differently: “He’s able to do very little, really.”
Klein’s lawsuits — 16 in the last four years — are well known in the music business. ABKCO recently won a $281,000 judgment against George Harrison (“no comment”) and $135,000 from John Lennon (“I have no statement to make at this time”). Currently Klein is suing Lennon for $900,000 and Lennon, Harrison and Starr & Apple Corps. & Paul McCartney for an awesome $24 million in damages and ten million dollars in interest. And in April, Capitol Records was ordered to turn over $5,751,000 to the sheriff of the City of New York until a Beatles-related action filed by ABKCO in January is settled. It may only be rock & roll, but Allen Klein likes it.
This is a story from the June 5, 1975 issue of Rolling Stone.