Brian Epstein Profile

Brian Epstein. Young and successful in the freewheelin' 60s. Manager of the biggest band in the world. Took his own life at the height of his career. No one knows for sure why he did it. The Brian Epstein story seeks to explain the mystery by exploring some of the lesser known details of Epstein's life.

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Was it really anti-Semitism that cost him an MBE? Was the illegality and social discrimination against being a gay man too difficult for him to handle? Was the strain of running The Beatles multi-million pound empire just too much?

Epstein grew up in Liverpool and made his living working in his father's furniture shop. He soon branched out, opening a department selling gramophone records and doing some writing for a local music rag called Mersey Beat. The shop he worked in was a few doors down from The Cavern, where he attended one of The Beatles early UK gigs. Despite his dislike for pop music, The Beatles impressed him so much that he decided then and there that he would be their manager. He expected the management role would be a part-time job, taking up about one day per week.

It didn't take long for Epstein to make his mark on the band. He encouraged them to wear matching suits onstage and made them stop smoking and swearing in public. After being turned down by every major record company, Epstein finally convinced George Martin at EMI to give them a recording contract. From there, for nearly six years, The Beatles career went ballistic. Epstein managed the business affairs and was there with them as they became "bigger than Jesus".

From an outsider's perspective, Epstein had it all. He'd broken The Beatles across the world. He also managed other successful artists like Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black. However, he didn't know enough about the music business to protect a band like The Beatles. Due to contracts that Epstein signed on behalf of the band, they no longer own their own songs and they hardly made enough money to survive in the early years. This was not uncommon. Many successful 60s bands saw all their profits eaten by their record companies. However, another manager may have been able to use The Beatles overwhelming fame to negotiate much better deals.

In the late 60s, both Cilla and Gerry tried to fire Epstein, as they were worried about the mismanagement of their affairs. Epstein persuaded them not to leave. At the same time, his initial 5-year contract with The Beatles was coming to an end. On Friday 25 August 1967, he took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills, ending his own life. Was it suicide, or just an accident? No one knows for sure. The Brian Epstein Story explores the possibilities and tells another side of the story of The Beatles.