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Brian Epstein
Paul McCartney John Lennon George Harrison Ringo Starr The Beatles Tribute Bands Other

Brian Samuel Epstein was born to Harry and Malka "Queenie" Epstein on September 19,1934 in Liverpool. When he was sixteen, in 1950, Brian started to work at the family furniture store, which was located next door to the North End Road Music Stores, which the Epsteins subsequently acquired.

In 1954, when the NEMS stores were expanding from pianos and radios to include grammophone records, Harry Epstein put Brian, who exhibited a natural talent for salesmanship, in charge of the new record departments, featuring "The Finest Record Selection In The North". They als carried music publications, such as the new "Mersey Beat", which featured the Beatles from its first issue of July 6, 1961.
Brian, who was very much interested in the local music scene, asked Mersey Beat editor Bill Harry if he could contribute a record column. His first column appeared in the third issue on August 3, 1961. It was most likely Bill Harry who, early in November of that year, suggested to Brian to go down to the Cavern Club, just around the corner and across Whitechapel from NEMS, to see the Beatles. Epstein went and there met the boys for the first time on November 9th. Three weeks later, he approached John Lennon and offered to become the Beatles' manager (for 25%). The offer was accepted by the group at a meeting on December 10, 1961. Their first contract was for a five year period and was formally signed at Pete Best's house on January 24, 1962, with Alistair Taylor, Brian's assistant, as witness.

Epstein, who saw the Beatles' potential from the very start, got to work to get the group a recording contract.
After being turned down by several recording producers, including Ron White of EMI, the boys drove down to London (getting lost somewhere in the Midlands on the way) on New Years Eve for an audition at Decca Records the following day. At the audition for Mike Smith and Dick Rowe, head of Decca in London, on January 1, 1962, they performed almost their entire club act of some twenty songs. They were turned down, a few days later, with Rowe delivering one of the most wrongheaded statements in recording history: "Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein."

These early failures notwithstanding, the first contract between the Beatles and Brian Epstein, for a five year period, was formally signed at Pete Best's house on January 24, 1962, with Alistair Taylor, Brian's assistant, acting as a witness. Brian thereupon set out to change the Beatles' appearance from their unpolished, blue jean and leather jacket greaser look to one of neatly tailored suits. He ordered them not to eat, smoke or swear on stage and to bow to the audience after each number.

In June of 1962, Epstein finally secured a contract for the band with George Martin at EMI's Parlophone label and the Beatles were on their way to stardom. (Brian later also managed other acts, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black, the Fourmost, the Big Three, the Remo Four and Tommy Quickly.)

In January of 1967 Epstein decided to merge NEMS with the Robert Stigwood Organization, which managed, "The Who",among other bands. Epstein retained sole control over the Beatles. (The Stigwood deal was undone late in 1967, when the Beatles bought their way out of the arrangement.)

On August 27, 1967 Brian Epstein was found dead in bed at his London home at 24 Chapel Street, Belgravia, from a barbiturate overdose. His death was ruled an "accidental suicide by a gradual accumulation of Carbitral".

The Beatles learned of his passing while visiting Transcendental Meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, North Wales and reacted to the news with something close to panic. John Lennon later said: "The Beatles were finished when Eppy died. I knew, deep inside me, that that was it. Without him, we'd had it."

Brian's funeral was conducted August 30 in Liverpool amid close family members only. None of the Beatles attended. A memorial service for Brian Epstein was held on October 17th 1967 at the New London Synagogue, with all four Beatles present.