Brian Epstein: Manager

The following article was published in New Musical Express during March 1964. This article is one of a series of articles about "The People Behind The Beatles".

A year ago this week The Beatles "Please Please Me" blasted to No. 1 in the NME Chart. It was their first chart-topper and manager Brian Epstein took the foursome to an Italian restaurant in Soho to celebrate the achievement.
No one recognised the four rather strange looking boys with the Stone Age hairstyles and Chelsea boots, for Beatlemania had still to make its marked impression on the world.
Last week red-headed Cilla Black soared to the top spot with "Anyone Who Had A Heart" and Brian launched his twelfth "No. 1 celebration party" in a year-no less than eleven discs by his artists ("She Loves You" did it twice) have bounced into the chart in twelve months.
At 29, the rather shy young manager with the boyish looking face had climbed to the very top of the music business ladder.
Brian Epstein wanted to be an actor but his father was keen to see him enter the family furnishing business. So when Brian left Wrekin College in Shropshire at the early age of 16, he began a five-year furniture salesman apprenticeship at 5 pounds a week.
But at 21 his love of the theatre diverted him to hte Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, where he pursued his first love, the theatre, for eighteen months before returning to the family's Liverpool store.
The story of how he found The Beatles virtually on his own doorstep in Liverpool is now history. From their initial, though modest, success with "Love Me Do", Epstein had never looked back.
He launched Gerry And The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer And The Dakotas, The Fourmost and Cilla Black, all of whom were to repeat the "particular happy moment" which he experiences every time one of them breaks into the chart.
But not all of Brian's experiences in the past year have been those "particulary happy" ones. His amiable nature, tempered with a slight inferiority complex, lends itself easily to embarressment.
One such experience happened as The Beatles were half-way though one of their earliest recording sessions. Brian criticised a tack they had just taped.
"Listen, we'll make the records-you just count the percentage," retorted John Lennon angrily in front of recording manager and engineers.
"Believe it or not, that was one of the most embarrassing moments of my career." Brian told me, quivering slightly at the memory of it.
But Brian need not have worried. This youthful and dedicated manager with the golden touch had the respect of all his artists, and by making such an open retort at the session John was emphasising the close and frank relationship that exists between Epstein and all his stars.
With The Beatles' major American success, appearances by most of his artists on the Palladium TV show, and Cilla Black's booking for a London Palladium season already achieved. Brian's embitions now veer back towards a personal threatrical career.
He is anxious to present, produce and direct a play in the West End-and possibly to act in one.
Tomorrow evening Brian makes his second appearance in "Juke Box Jury". He could have made several more in recent months but always needs persuasion to enter the limelight.
Pressmen track his movements at all times and the telephone in his Knightsbridge flat rarely stops ringing, even late at night, for his believes in taking every decision of any importance personally.
Though now one of the most sought after men in the social world, the young bachelor dislikes parties and social functions. Despite his solid business dealings he is often stumped or words at such occasions.
The company he likes best is that of his artists. He enjoys the friendly relationship that goes from building a career alongside them.

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