Brian Epstein was the original manager and the mastermind behind the success of The Beatles. He was born Brian Samuel Epstein on September 19, 1934 into a Jewish-English family in Liverpool, UK. Epstein's family owned a store, where Paul McCartney's piano was bought. After three terms Epstein dropped out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, where he was a classmate of Peter O'Toole. Back in Liverpool he was put in charge of the record sales in his father's stores. He also wrote a regular column in Mersey Beat magazine, which promoted The Beatles. Epstein's store was just down the street from the Cavern Club, where he went to see a Beatles' performance, after a few customers requested their single at his store. Epstein was treated to a VIP admission and was welcomed in the club's public announcement. He remembered, "I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor on stage. And, after-wards, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started." He also recognized The Beatles' members as regular customers at his NEMS record store. His diplomatic way of dealing with The Beatles and with their unofficial manager, Allan Williams, resulted in a December 10, 1961, meeting, where it was decided that Epstein would manage the band. A five-year management contract was signed by the four members at then-drummer Pete Best's home on January 24, 1962. Epstein did not put his signature on it, giving the musicians the freedom of choice. At that time McCartney and Harrison were under 21, so the paper wasn't technically legal. None of them realized this and it did not matter to them. What mattered was their genuine trust in Epstein. Epstein was persistent in trying to sign a record deal for The Beatles, even after being rejected by every major record label in UK, like Columbia, Philips, Oriole, Decca, and Pye. Epstein transferred a demo tape to disc with HMV technician Jim Foy, who liked the song and referred it to Parlophone's George Martin. They passed Martin's audition with the exception of Pete Best. Being asked by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison; Epstein fired Best. Ringo Starr duly became the fourth Beatle. Having no experience at artist management, Epstein made the right steps by bringing serious improvements to their image. They switched from blue jeans and leather jackets to suits and cleaned up their stage act. He advised them not to smoke or snack in public. Epstein directed the famous synchronized bow at the end of their shows. Overall improvements to The Beatles' image made by Epstein transformed their appearance enough to get them accepted by the mainstream media and public of that time. Detail-oriented and highly focused on maintaining their clean-cut image, Epstein called them "The Boys" and managed every aspect of their career, their everyday life, concert gigs, and media appearances. His personal friendship with George Martin was also important. By leaving the recording production and the repertoire work mainly in the professional care of Martin, Epstein made himself available for other artist management contracts. He successfully managed Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Cilla Black as well as other artists. His NEMS Enterprises lineup grew to include The Bee Gees, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream. He was a creative member of The Beatles, a multi-talented man with a good disposition, sharp memory, and an eye for details. A good character reference was given to Epstein by the British Army as "Sober, conscientious, and utterly trustworthy". Though he was dismissed from service for being "incurably civilian". The Army used a different set of criteria than the entertainment industry to judge a person's character. His homosexuality and prescription drug (barbiturate) dependency in those days, with pressures from both social and legal restrictions, caused him additional stress. He died of a drug overdose on August 27, 1967. The Beatles lost their uniting creative manager and soon walked their separate ways.
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