Brian Epstein Meets The Beatles
Even before Brian Epstein met The Beatles he was very aware of their existence: he sold the record they made with Tony Sheridan in his NEMS music shop; and he contributed a column to the Mersey Beat magazine that mentioned them regularly – they were on the cover of edition two of the publication. But Epstein did not actually like pop music much, certainly not anything with a rock beat. So their paths did not cross until Epstein seemingly pushed to watch them by the editor of Mersey Beat, Bill Harry. Harry made the arrangements for Epstein and his assistant Alistair Taylor to visit the Cavern Club as guests (welcomed on the PA system no less) at a Beatles lunchtime concert. The dingy Cavern was only a very short stroll from NEMS, so Epstein did not have to make a huge effort.
This was The Beatles as a work in progress, with Pete Best still on drums; they smoke on stage and swore, not impressing the would-be impresario as regards behaviour. But he loved their humour, and the beat. Having said hello to the band in their cupboard-like dressing room Epstein went to lunch with Taylor, who thought they were musically awful but personally charismatic. At the end of the meal Epstein blurted out a question – should he manage them?
A month later he was their manager. They did go on to be ‘bigger than Jesus’. But though Epstein gave them their suited look and at the third try got them a recording contract , he also made a mess of their business deals in the early years of their career. When Epstein died of a drug overdose in 1967 his contract with the band was nearly up, leading to speculation that his death was not, contrary to the subsequent inquest’s conclusion, accidental.
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