Brian Epstein was a beautiful, troubled man, and today, August 27, marks the 42nd anniversary of his death.
He made The Bealtes and they made him and the world would likely be much less wonderful if, as legend has it, a teenager didn't come into his furniture store with a small music department in the corner and ask for a "My Bonnie" record by The Beatles (actually Tony Sheridan and backed by The Beatles).
And here's what I think is so awesome about Brian Epstein. He was a genius. An absolute marketing genius. It starts out that his family owns this furniture store. He gets put in charge, flips all the furniture so the backs are to the window and turns the failing store into booming business. He gets put in charge of the music section. It was like three racks in the back corner. He turns it into NEMS (North End Music Store).
So this kid, says Legend, rolls on into this NEMS, asks for this record by this German band called Beatles (we know now that they weren't German) and Brian orders the record, finds out that this band is playing a club called The Cavern during the lunch hour. He figures he must hear this band so, The Cavern being just down the street, Brian strolls on in with his high powered suit to this sweaty, stinking hole. He sees this sweaty, stinky band, clad in leather and charisma and he falls madly in love.
He took The Beatles from this:
To this in the matter of a year. Impressive.
Now, to think that Brian Epstein had anything to do with The Bealtes' talent would be wrong. Brian made them marketable. He put them in suits and ties. He had them stop swearing, drinking and smoking on stage. He packaged them. He sold them.
Brian was gay. Brian was theatrical. He brought this to The Beatle image. And whether you want to believe it or not, even on the most sub-conscious level, girls love boys who may love boys. And so do boys. It's win win. But nobody loved "the boys" like Brian did.
Managing The Greatest Band in all of Music History opened the way for Brian to manage a few other bands, none to the heights of mania like his first catch (though no one else has yet to do so either, so you can't hold it against the guy).
His other bands included:
Gerry and the Pacemakers
Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas
(alright, one more The Cyrkle, for Amy <3)
and Cilla Black
To name a few.
Brian's heart was with The Beatles, though and he worked tirelessly to jump start what we now know as "Beatlemania". Sure, Brian made a couple of mistakes (like, for one, taking 10 cents to the dollar for Beatle merchandise, costing The Beatles millions in revenue. Oops), but he meant well. But when The Beatles decided to stop touring in '66, he felt they didn't need him anymore, and was devastated. Heartbroken. Finished. With that self-imposed feeling of failure, and of being homosexual in a very... illegal time (though it did become legal in Britain, sort of, in '67), Brian fish-tailed out of control.
Sgt. Pepper was released in June of '67. A promotional party was held at Brian's house in May.
Where, incidentally, Paul met Linda who was there as a photographer
Then the Beatles did the All You Need Is Love bit in June.
And went to see the Maharishi in Bangor, Wales in August. And then found out that Brian had died.
And then The Beatles just couldn't get it back together.
Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman (later McCartney) both are remembered and blamed for their roles in "The Break-up of The Beatles!", but August 27, 1967, the day the Brian Epstein was found dead in his bed of an apparent over-dose was the needle that burst the Beatle bubble. Yoko and Linda just crawled in through the cracks.
Brian Epstein. Quite possibly one of the most important cogs in the Rock N Roll History wheel, and he did it all before the age of 32. Look it up if you don't believe me.