Born – 19th September 1934
Died – 27th August 1967
Father – Harry Epstein
Mother – Malka (Queenie) Epstein
Spouse – None
Children – None
Known to History – Manager of The Beatles, Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers
1934 (19th September)
Brian Samuel Epstein was born to Harry and Malka (known as Queenie) Epstein in a Liverpool nursing home.
Brian’s brother, Clive, was born to Harry and Malka Epstein in Liverpool.
The Epstein family moved out of the city of Liverpool during World War Two and lived in Southport, about 20 km (13 miles) north of Liverpool.
Brian was sent to Liverpool College, a private boys school. He didn’t do well at the school and was excluded.
With the war over the Epstein family returned to Liverpool.
Epstein was sent to Beaconsfield School, a Jewish boarding school. He did better at this school but he was not an academic scholar and did not excel at sports and was very out of place.
Epstein was sent to Clayesmore School, Dorset, a private boarding school.
Brian told his father that he wanted to become a dress designer, but his father refused to sanction this choice of career. Instead, Brian began working in the family furniture store business. Epstein’s father expanded his business by taking over the neighbouring shop. This shop sold a range of goods including musical instruments and was called North End Music Store (NEMS).
Brian Epstein was conscripted for National Service and was sent to London.
Brian had realised that he was homosexual. At this time homosexuality was illegal in Britain and subject to imprisonment. Sexual encounters were often brief one night stands and gay men were frequently subject to violence, robbery and bullying. Epstein never publicly announced his homosexuality.
Epstein was discharged from military service early on the grounds that he was emotionally and mentally unfit.
Brian returned to Liverpool and his father made him manager of Clarnedon Furnishing, Hoylake, on the outskirts of Liverpool.
Brian proved to be a natural salesman and the furniture shop was doing very well.
Having made a success of the Hoylake furniture store, Epstein was dissatisfied with his life and wanted to become an actor. He passed an audition and was accepted by the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA).
After a year at RADA, Brian decided he was not cut out to be an actor and returned to Liverpool.
Brian’s father bought a new NEMS shop on Great Charlotte Street, Liverpool. He put Brian in charge of the record department.
Brian had made such a success of the record department in the NEMS shop on Great Charlotte Street that his father bought a new NEMS shop on Whitechapel for Brian to run a music store.
Brian persuaded his friend, Peter Brown, who worked in the music department of Lewis’s department store, to come and work for him.
1961 (6th July)
A new local music magazine ‘Mersey Beat’ was published and Epstein sold copies in his shop.
1961 (6th August)
After contacting the editor of ‘Mersey Beat’, Bill Harry, Epstein wrote a column for the magazine.
Epstein had read about a new local group called The Beatles in ‘Mersey Beat’. Around the same time he was asked if his shop stocked the single ‘My Bonnie’ by Tony Sheridan with The Beatles as backing musicians.
1961 (9th November)
Brian Epstein watched ‘The Beatles’ performing at the Cavern Club. After the performance he spoke to the four members of the group – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best – and learned that they were self-managed.
1961 (3rd December)
Epstein met with The Beatles again and suggested that he become their manager.
Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best were all under the age of 21 years and needed their parents to sign the contract. Epstein spent time meeting with their families and explaining his services.
1962 (24th January)
The Beatles signed a 5-year management contract with Brian Epstein.
1962 (late January)
As manager of the group, Epstein immediately insisted that they change their image. They were to wear suits, have their hair cut short and refrain from drinking or swearing on stage.
The Beatles began a tour of Britain.
Epstein spent time in London trying to secure a recording contract for The Beatles. Although he held numerous meetings he was unsuccessful.
Epstein met George Martin, head of Parlophone and managed to secure a recording contract for the group. However, Martin had insisted that drummer Pete Best be replaced.
John Lennon married Cynthia Powell at Mount Pleasant Register Office, Liverpool. Cynthia had to keep a low profile because they did not want fans to know that John was married.
1962 (18th August)
Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) replaced Pete Best as drummer of the group.
1962 (1st October)
The Beatles signed a new management contract with Brian Epstein, needed because of Ringo Starr replacing Pete Best. Under the contract Epstein received up to 25% of the group’s earnings.
Epstein became Manager for Liverpool group Gerry and the Pacemakers. He secured them a recording contract with Columbia Records.
1962 (5th October)
‘The Beatles’ released their first single ‘Love Me Do’. The single reached number 17 in the British charts.
Epstein became manager for Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas. The two recorded together as Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas. They were signed by Parlophone Records.
Epstein, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and publisher Dick James founded Northern Songs Limited to publish songs written by Lennon and McCartney.
Epstein became manager for the group Sounds Incorporated. They were signed by Columbia Records.
1963 (14th March)
Gerry and the Pacemakers released the single ‘How Do You Do It?’. It reached number 1 in the UK charts.
1963 (22nd March)
The album ‘Please Please Me’ was released in the UK. It reached No 1 in the album charts.
1963 (8th April)
A son, Julian, was born to John and Cynthia. John was on tour at the time.
1963 (11th April)
The single ‘Please Please Me’ written by Lennon and McCartney was released in the UK. It was the group’s first no 1 hit in the UK.
1963 (26th April)
The single ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret?’ was released by Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas. It reached number 2 in the UK charts.
1963 (28th April)
John Lennon left his wife and son and went on holiday to Spain with Brian Epstein for 12 days.
1963 (18th June)
Lennon assaulted the DJ at Paul’s 21st birthday party after he made disparaging comments about John’s holiday with Brian Epstein.
1963 (30th June)
Brian Epstein signed Mersey group The Fourmost. They were then signed by Parlophone Records.
1963 (30th August)
The single ‘Hello Little Girl’ was released by The Fourmost. It reached number 9 in the UK charts..
1963 (6th September)
Epstein signed a contract with Cilla Black. She was then signed by Parlophone Records.
1963 (16th October)
Gerry and the Pacemakers released the single ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. It reached number 1 in the UK charts.
1963 (4th November)
The Beatles performed at the Royal Variety Performance.
The Beatles continued to have hits with their singles and albums and they had filmed their first movie ‘A Hard Day’s Night. They also performed at sell out tours and were mobbed by crowds of screaming girls wherever they went. The term Beatlemania was coined to describe their popularity.
1964 (31st January)
Cilla Black released the single ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’. It reached number 1 in the UK charts.
1964 (9th February)
Epstein had managed to secure The Beatles an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in the United States. They performed 5 songs to an audience of more than 73 million people. The appearance launched their success in America.
The single ‘Little Children’ was released by Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas. It reached number 1 in the UK.
Brian hired writer Derek Taylor to help him write his autobiography ‘A Cellarful of Noise’.
A cover of ‘Trains and Boats and Planes’ by Billy J Kramer with the Dakotas reached number 12 in the UK charts. It was their last hit.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison were awarded the MBE for services to music.
Brian Epstein signed American band The Cyrkle. They were then signed by Parlophone Records.
Epstein’s group The Cyrkle toured with The Beatles as support group.
The Beatles toured Japan and the Philippines. In the Philippines, Epstein turned down an invitation for the group to breakfast with Imelda Marcos. This was seen as an insult and they were escorted to the airport.
1966 (29th August)
The Beatles performed their last live concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. They felt that performing live was no longer enjoyable since screaming fans drowned out their music.
Gerry and the Pacemakers disbanded.
With The Beatles no longer performing live, Epstein had little role to play. He had used drugs, particularly amphetamines, for the last few years, but it now became a habit.
1967 (early Summer)
Brian Epstein spent time at the Priory clinic in London to try to withdraw from drugs.
1967 (1st June)
The Beatles released the iconic album ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. It reached number 1 in the UK and US charts.
Epstein secured a contract for Cilla Black to have her own TV show ‘Cilla’ with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
1967 (7th July)
Brian’s father, Harry Epstein, died. The loss of his father affected him deeply.
1967 (27th August)
Brian Epstein died of an accidental overdose of sleeping tablets. He was buried at the Kirkdale Jewish Cemetery in Liverpool.
Published May 15, 2020 @ 3:50 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Brian Epstein 1934 – 1967. https://www.thetimelinegeek.com/brian-epstein-1934-1967 Last accessed [date]