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Brian Epstein

Business Personality

Born: 19 September 1934
Died: 27 August 1967 (drug overdose)
Birthplace: Liverpool, England
Best known as:

The first manager of The Beatles

Brian Epstein was the first business manager of The Beatles, guiding the band's career from 1962 until his death at the age of 32 in 1967. Epstein was from a family that owned furniture and music stores. He was conscripted into the British Army in 1952, but it didn't work out; he was discharged for "medical" reasons after 10 months. He made a stab at acting and spent a year in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but he ended up back at the family music store, where he had a knack for salesmanship and an interest in the local Liverpool music scene. The story goes that late in 1961, Epstein had been selling a lot of records on which The Beatles were the backing band, so he went to see them perform in Liverpool. Two months later, he was their manager. Epstein is credited with putting The Beatles in suits, giving them mop-top hairdos and generally changing them from sarcastic rebels to cheeky lads, a much more palatable product for pop music success. He eventually got them a record contract with George Martin, and their career took off. Epstein, who'd never managed a band before, proved himself in record contracts and promotion, and was praised by Paul McCartney as being "the fifth Beatle." But Epstein was prone to depression, and in 1965, while being blackmailed over his homosexuality (a crime in Britain at the time), he attempted suicide. He bounced back and got The Beatles a new contract with Capitol Records, but as The Beatles traveled the world and enjoyed unprecedented fame, Epstein stayed in London and Sussex and felt slighted. At the same time, he was handing over the band's management without telling them (likewise, they had incorporated, without including him). Epstein was found dead in his bedroom on 27 August 1967, having taken too many sleeping pills and too much booze; unlike his other suicide attempt, he left no note, and his death was ruled an accident.

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