Wednesday 9 August 2023


John Lennon wrote and recorded much of his fifth studio album, Walls and Bridges, included ‘Steel and Glass’, a rather bitter song targeted at Allen Klein, the notorious manager and business director. Klein briefly managed The Rolling Stones and Sam Cooke but most notably took control of The Beatles’ business affairs in 1969. 

Following The Beatles’ breakup, Klein maintained ties with John, working with him on his 1971 solo album, Imagine. However, shortly thereafter, the relationship between the two turned sour, prompting Lennon’s cutting lyrics, “Your mother left you when you were small, but you’re gonna wish you were never born at all.”

Klein was accused of unethical and greedy business moves throughout his career.

When The Beatles signed their first deal with Klein in 1969, Paul McCartney expressed suspicion after hearing that The Rolling Stones had been duped in a past deal with the belligerent businessman; however, John protested. In Peter Jackson’s 2021 documentary Get Back, the late Beatle praises Klein in the run-up to the deal: “I want to tell you all at once. I just think he’s fantastic.” 

Ultimately, the other Beatles outvoted McCartney, and a contract was signed. Throughout the early ’70s, Klein maintained a hold on John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s respective solo careers, but following an undetailed dispute, John promptly fired Klein.

“There are many reasons why we finally gave [Klein] the push, although I don’t want to go into the details of it,” Lennon said in an interview with Weekend World in 1973, admitting that McCartney had been right. “Let’s say possibly Paul’s suspicions were right … and the time was right.”

The song was recorded in July 1974 at the Record Plant in New York City. The musicians on the track included Lennon on vocals and acoustic guitar, Jim Keltner on drums, Jesse Ed Davis on electric guitar, and Dr. John on piano.

"Steel and Glass" was released as the third single from Walls and Bridges in October 1974. It reached number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.

The musicians who performed on the original recording:

John Lennon – vocals, acoustic guitar
Nicky Hopkins – piano
Jesse Ed Davis – electric guitar
Eddie Mottau – acoustic guitar
Ken Ascher – clavinet
Klaus Voormann – bass
Arthur Jenkins – percussion
Jim Keltner – drums
Bobby Keys, Steve Madaio, Howard Johnson, Ron Aprea, Frank Vicari – horns

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