This Day In Rock. The Fifth Beatle
Brian Samuel Epstein was born on 19 September 1934 on Rodney Street, Liverpool. In 1950, at the age of 16, Brian began working at the family's Walton Road store, although he wanted to become a dress designer. He was conscripted to the army at 18, but was discharged after 10 months for being emotionally and mentally unfit.
In 1954 he trained as an actor at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts. Brian passed the RADA audition, and became a classmate of Susannah York, Albert Finney and Peter O'Toole. However, he dropped out after the third term.
He returned once more to work for his parents, and in 1955, at the age of 21, he was made a director of NEMS.
When Harry Epstein, Brian’s father, opened a new NEMS store on Liverpool's Great Charlotte Street, Brian was put in charge of managing the ground floor. He expanded from selling pianos and wireless radios to gramophone records, and the shop became one of the biggest music outlets in the north of England.
The record department was such a success that he was put in charge of a new NEMS branch which opened at 12-14 Whitechapel. Around this time he asked Bill Harry - the editor of Mersey Beat magazine, which Brian had sold since its first issue in July 1961 - if he could write a music column. His first article, under the heading 'Record Releases, by Brian Epstein of NEMS', appeared in the third issue on 3 August 1961.
Mersey Beat was where Epstein first noticed the name The Beatles, who were featured on the cover of issue two. His curiosity is said to have been was piqued when a customer entered NEMS and asked Epstein for a copy of My Bonnie, the single recorded by the band with singer Tony Sheridan in Hamburg.
On 9 Nov. 1961he watched The Beatles play a lunchtime concert, after which he entered the dressing room and met the group.
Despite his lack of experience, Epstein became their manager in January 1962, and quickly asserted his influence over their dress and onstage performance.
After hawking the band around a number of London labels, Epstein eventually secured an audition at EMI's Abbey Road studios, where George Martin decided to sign them.
Epstein was key to the success of The Beatles - Paul McCartney later said: "If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian". He also managed a number of other Liverpool acts, including Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas.
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.