Music History

Music History Biographies

Music History Of The Week

Music History Calendar

Brian Epstein

On 19/09/1934: Brian Epstein was born. He was born in Liverpool, England. During World War II the family moved to Southport. There Epstein would be expelled from two schools. The family moved back to Liverpool in 1945. In 1950 he started to work at the family furniture store. After two years he was conscripted for National Service but only served ten months before being discharged for being emotionally and mentally unfit. When he returned to Liverpool he was put in charge of the Clarendon Furnishing shop in Hoylake, which was part of the family business. He made a great success of the business and was made a director of the North End Music Stores in 1955, which had become part of the family business as they had started to expand. Epstein joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, after pleading with his parents to allow him to train as an actor. He would only stay there until after the third term, though, as he didn't feel like he fitted in. The North End Music Stores would continue to expand with new stores with Brian in charge. He started selling the music publication Mersea Beat in the shops and became interested in the music scene. Brian began to contribute a column to Mersea Beat himself.
Epstein would first notice the Beatles in copies of Mersea Beat and asked the editor Bill Harry about them. On November 9th, 1961, Epstein and his assistant Alistair Taylor went to a Beatles lunchtime concert at the Cavern Club. After the performance, Epstein and Taylor went into the dressing room to meet the group. Epstein was impressed by their music and personalities. When he and Taylor went to lunch after the concert he asked Taylor if he should manage them, despite never managing a pop artist before. He would continue to watch their concerts over the next few weeks. On December 10th, 1961 he signed a contract with the Beatles to become their manager.
Epstein smartened up the Beatle's image by making them wear matching suits and insisting they didn't swear, smoke, drink or eat on stage. There was some resistance to the changes, but the group accepted it. Epstein then tried to get a record deal and The Beatles had rejections from Columbia, Pye, Philips, Oriole, EMI and Decca.
In June 1962 Epstein secured a record deal for The Beatles when George Martin signed them to Parlophone, one of EMI's smaller labels. Shortly after signing Epstein had to fire drummer Pete Best from the band. Ringo Starr joined the band as the replacement.
Epstein would also go on to manage Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Fourmost, The Cyrkle, Cilla Black, Tommy Quickly and Sounds Incorporated. He would also host a segment on US TV show Hullabaloo. His first priority was always The Beatles though, who would become one of the most successful music acts of all time.
On 27 August 1967 Epstein died of an overdose of Carbitral, a type of sleeping pill. The death was officially ruled an accident caused by taking the pills in combination with alcohol.
It would be several years after his death before it would be publicly known that Epstein was homosexual, though it was an open secret amongst his friends and colleagues. Homosexual activity was illegal in the UK until September 1967, just one month after his death.
In 2014 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Non-Performers Section.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
If you would like more, come join our Music News and History Facebook Group Community