Brian Samuel Epstein 19 September 1934 – 27 August 1967) was an English music entrepreneur, best known for managing the Beatles. Epstein first discovered the Beatles in November 1961 during a lunchtime Cavern Club performance. He was instantly impressed and saw great potential in the group. Epstein was rejected by nearly all major recording companies in London, until he secured a meeting with George Martin, head of EMI’s Parlophone label. In May 1962, Martin agreed to sign the Beatles, partly because of Epstein’s conviction that the group would become internationally famous.
“At about three o’clock on Saturday, October 28th, 1961, an eighteen-year-old boy called Raymond Jones, wearing jeans and black leather jacket, walked into a record-store in Whitechapel, Liverpool, and said: ‘There’s a record I want. It’s “My Bonnie” and it was made in Germany. Have you got it?’ Behind the counter was Brian Epstein, twenty-seven, director of the store. He shook his head. ‘Who is the record by?’ he asked. ‘You won’t have heard of them,’ said Jones. ‘It’s by a group called The Beatles”
The Beatles’ early success has been attributed to Epstein’s management style, and the band trusted him without hesitation. In addition to handling the Beatles’ business affairs, Epstein often stepped in to mediate personal disputes within the group. The Beatles’ unquestioning loyalty to Epstein later proved detrimental, as the band rarely read contracts before signing them.Shortly after the song “Please Please Me” rose to the top of the charts in 1963, Epstein advised the creation of Northern Songs, a publishing company that would control the copyrights of all Lennon–McCartney compositions recorded between 1963 and 1973. Music publisher Dick James and his partner Charles Silver owned 51-percent of the company,
Lennon and McCartney each owned 20%, and Epstein owned 9%. By 1969, Lennon and McCartney had lost control of all publishing rights to ATV Music Publishing. Still, Epstein’s death in 1967 marked the beginning of the group’s dissolution and had a profound effect on each Beatle. In 1997, Paul McCartney said, “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.”
As The Beatles retired from live performance in 1966, Epstein found his influence on the group waning. He had used amphetamines from the earliest days with the band, but his use of pills became an increasing problem as he became more involved in the London drug scene of the 1960s.
During the recording of Sgt Pepper, Epstein spent time trying to kick his drug habit, including spells in the Priory in Putney, London.
Brian Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose on 27 August 1967. His death was most likely due to a build-up of the sedative Carbitral, mixed with alcohol.
At the time The Beatles were in Bangor, north Wales, for a meeting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. They did not attend the funeral, in order to not attract the media and fans, but were present at a memorial service at the New London Synagogue. Epstein is buried at the Kirkdale Jewish Cemetery in Liverpool.