The Beatles' manager between 1962 and 1967. Arguably Epstein's commitment and
imaginative management were as crucial to the Beatles' success as their music
and collective personality.
In 1959, Epstein was
involved with the family music business, Northern England Music Stores (NEMS).
Given a new branch store to manage, he reorganized the store and opened a record
department, taking great care to keep it comprehensively stocked. A genteel man,
he was drawn to classical music and knew nothing of rock 'n' roll. When a
Liverpool youngster asked for a German recording by a local group called the
Beatles, Epstein became curious. He arranged to drop by the nearby Cavern Club
to see the group perform. From that moment, he was obsessed with the idea of
becoming their manager.
Epstein convinced the group that he could make them "bigger than Elvis". He
exchanged their leathers for Pierre Cardin suits, their humor for cuddly
innocence and their onstage mayhem for polite bows. The Beatles' following grew.
Epstein formed NEMS Enterprises in June 1962 to administer the
Beatles' affairs and soon acquired a stable of pop groups including Gerry and
the Pacemakers and Cilla Black. Success, however, did not bring Epstein
happiness. As he tried to build upon his initial success, he found his empire
crumbling ever as it grew. The acts he plucked from Liverpool's beat clubs
couldn't match the Beatles in talent or marked potential and he grew bored with
being the world's most successful, but nonetheless one time, star maker. Pills
and thrill seeking threatened to replace the Beatles as the focal point of his
By the mid-1960s Epstein's personal habits had become untenable. He fought
bouts of depression through a roller coaster of professional triumphs and
crises, handling them publicly, but grew increasingly less competent. He
succumbed to an overdose of barbiturates in August 1967. His death was ruled as