There are a number of people who are key to understanding the story of The Beatles. And of these, Brian Epstein, Sam Leach, Bill Harry, and Bob Wooler stand out from all the rest in the unique roles they played in helping to establish the success of the band and the rise of the whole Merseybeat scene, in Liverpool, in The Sixties.
The Beatles' manager
The Beatles' manager. The Liverpool record store owner and businessman who helped steer the group to worldwide fame and fortune. Without him and all he did for the group in the early days, it's highly unlikely we would have ever heard of The Beatles. By all accounts, he was a man of great charm, style, and singular vision—as well as a man of extraordinary perseverance and dedication. Years later Paul McCartney said of him: “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.” ‘Nuff said. Brian Epstein was found dead in his Belgravia, London, home on 27 August, 1967. He was 32.
Mersey Beat - founder and editor
Founder and editor of Mersey Beat - Merseyside's Own Entertainments Paper. The first of its kind in Britain. He and girlfriend, Virginia Sowry, did the writing, designing, advertising, and circulation. Liverpool Art College friend of John Lennon and Stu Sutcliffe. Great supporter of The Beatles in the Liverpool days. Later a rock journalist in London. Opened a very successful entertainments PR agency. Hugely prolific. His many published works on The Beatles and their 'Times'—the music scene in general—are encyclopaedic—beyond scholarly. Still writes and still has the power to startle, as well as entertain.
The Beatles' first major promoter and would-be manager
The Beatles' first major promoter and would-be manager. Rock 'n' roll mad. His breakthrough promotional ideas—the first 'all-nighter' at the Iron Door Club and the whole string of 'Operation Big-Beat' events at the Tower ballroom, New Brighton—put other Merseyside club owners and promoters on notice. Here was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Along with such Liverpool luminaries as Bill Harry and Bob Wooler, he played a hugely significant role in the early life of The Beatles and a signal part in the rise of the whole Merseybeat music scene.
DJ and compère at
The Cavern Club
DJ and compère at The Cavern Club. A music aficionado who also just happened to be rock 'n' roll mad. Reputed to have the greatest collection of rock 'n' roll and R&B records in Liverpool, if not the country. He was erudite, often caustic, a past master of the pun and, if need-be, a Liverpool put-down. He was an independent music promoter as well as a key catalyst in the whole Merseybeat scene. He was a great—and very vocal—supporter of The Beatles and later entered into a short-lived partnership with Brian Epstein to put on 'pop' package shows at the Tower Ballroom, New Brighton.