The contract that launched The Beatles, the most successful band of all time, sold at Sotheby’s in London today for £365,000. Signed on 1st October 1962, just days before the release of their first single ‘Love Me Do’, it bound together the Beatles with manager Brian Epstein. This is the only management contract signed between the Beatles and Epstein after the band attained its final line-up of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.
The story of Epstein’s relationship with the Beatles is more of a romance than a business deal. From the very first time he heard their sound, Brian Epstein was determined to be their manager. He had never managed a band before but he soon convinced them that he could do the job; he was, after all, a successful businessman, ran the best record shop in town, was smartly dressed, and, at 27, he had the wisdom of age!
The young Beatles had long known Epstein by sight as the manager of NEMS (North End Music Stores), a treasure-trove of American 45s for the rock and roll-hungry teenagers. Epstein only became aware of the band when a fan asked him for a copy of ‘My Bonnie’, on which they featured as backing band. He soon tracked them down, and on November 9, 1961 visited the Cavern Club in Liverpool to hear them play for the very first time. He returned every day for a week.
The Beatles agreed to take him on as their manager at a band meeting on December 10, 1961. Epstein immediately set to work putting together the look that would soon become famous around the world. More than a traditional manager, he was considered “The Fifth Beatle”. The band began to crumble after his sudden death in August 1967. As Lennon put it on hearing the news, “We loved him and he was one of us.”
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for September 5, 2015)