Brian Epstein (Brian Samuel Epstein)

Brian Epstein

Brian Samuel Epstein (/ɛpstaɪn/; 19 September 1934 – 27 August 1967) was an English music entrepreneur, best known for managing the Beatles. Brian Epstein first discovered the Beatles in November 1961 during a lunchtime Cavern Club performance. He was instantly impressed and saw great potential in the group. Epstein was rejected by nearly all major recording companies in London, until he secured a meeting with George Martin, head of EMI’s Parlophone label. In May 1962, Martin agreed to sign the Beatles, partly because of Epstein’s conviction that the group would become internationally famous. The Beatles’ early success has been attributed to Epstein’s management style, and the band trusted him without hesitation. In addition to handling the Beatles’ business affairs, Epstein often stepped in to mediate personal disputes within the group. The Beatles’ unquestioning loyalty to Epstein later proved detrimental, as the band rarely read contracts before signing them. Shortly after the song “Please Please Me” rose to the top of the charts in 1963, Epstein advised the creation of Northern Songs, a publishing company that would control the copyrights of all Lennon–McCartney compositions recorded between 1963 and 1973. Music publisher Dick James and his partner Charles Silver owned 51-percent of the company, Lennon and McCartney each owned 20%, and Epstein owned 9%. By 1969, Lennon and McCartney had lost control of all publishing rights to ATV Music Publishing. Still, Epstein’s death in 1967 marked the beginning of the group’s dissolution and had a profound effect on each Beatle. In 1997, Paul McCartney said, “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” Brian Epstein’s influence on the Beatles and his complicated personal life continue to provoke controversy. In 2012, Tom Hanks announced that his production company Playtone will back a biopic of the famed Beatles manager. They describe the film as “the story of a man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s, but ultimately forgot to invite himself.”

In 2013, author Vivek Tiwary released the graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. A film of the same name was scheduled for release in 2014, originally to be produced by Bruce Cohen and directed by Peyton Reed. Tiwary said about that project that the film would “be less a music bio and more of an inspirational human-interest story about an outsider”. Tiwary, Stuart Ford, and Simon Cowell went on to co-produce a film by that name, said to be set for release in 2016. Tiwary, credited as the film’s writer, wrote at the IMDb: ‘His story will unfold via a mixture of history, fantasy, allegory, dream sequences, and hallucinations.’ Brian Epstein attended a traditional shiva in Liverpool after his father died, having just come out of the Priory clinic where he had been trying to cure his acute insomnia and addiction to amphetamines. A few days before his death, he made his last visit to a Beatles recording session on 23 August 1967, at the Chappell Recording Studios on Maddox Street, London.

On 24 August, Epstein asked Brown and Geoffrey Ellis down to Kingsley Hill for the bank holiday weekend. Approximately 50 miles from his home in Chapel Street, Kingsley Hill was Epstein’s country home in Warbleton, Sussex. After they arrived, Epstein decided to drive back to London alone because an expected group of rent boys he had invited failed to arrive, although they did turn up after Epstein left. Brian Epstein phoned Brown at 5 pm the next day from his Chapel Street house in London. Brown thought that Epstein sounded “very groggy”, and suggested that he take a train back down to the nearest railway station, in Uckfield, instead of driving under the influence of Tuinals. Epstein replied that he would eat something, read his mail and watch Juke Box Jury before phoning Brown to tell him which train to meet. He never called again. Brian Epstein died of an overdose of Carbitral, a form of barbiturate or sleeping pill, in his locked bedroom, on 27 August 1967. He was discovered after his butler had knocked on the door, and then hearing no response, asked the housekeeper to call the police. Epstein was found on a single bed, dressed in pyjamas, with various correspondence spread over a second single bed. At the statutory inquest his death was officially ruled an accident; caused by a gradual buildup of Carbitral in his system, combined with alcohol. It was revealed that he had taken six Carbitral pills in order to sleep, which was probably normal for him, but in combination with alcohol they reduced his tolerance to lethal levels.

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Born

  • September, 19, 1934
  • United Kingdom
  • Liverpool, Lancashire, England

Died

  • August, 27, 1967
  • United Kingdom
  • London, England

Cause of Death

  • overdose

Cemetery

  • Everton Cemetery
  • Everton, Merseyside, England
  • United Kingdom

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