Article 15

Rock On

A Cellarful of Noise -Brian Epstein born: 19thSept., 1934

(Published in Times of India, Pune on 15th September, 2001)

C an you imagine life without the Beatles? Or for that matter, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Doors or just about any artiste in today's International music world. These artistes' influence would possibly have been just local or at the most restricted to their country if it were not for the untiring efforts of a group of people who slogged day and night, working behind the scenes for their protégées. I'm talking about Artiste Managers. And one of the foremost persons in this new business of artiste management of the sixties was the manager of the Beatles, Brian Epstein.

Brian was the very antithesis of the Beatles. Born in a rich business family in Liverpool, England, he lived a life that was secure and free from the tensions of the working class, which was the very home ground of the Beatles. He was always well dressed and lived a life full of luxuries, as could be expected from a man of his social class. This difference in lifestyles and thereby mindset, was to my mind the very reason for the enormous success of their collaboration. Creative minds can be a hotbed of emotions and a stabilizing influence is an absolute necessity. This was provided by Brian, who could effectively protect the Beatles from the commercial world and allow them to concentrate on creative activities. He also presented an organized front to the market driven real world and. his contacts in the music business world, money power and corporate manner opened thousand of doors to the Beatles. Thankfully for mankind, this resulted in a huge and prolific output of music from the genius of John, Paul, George and Ringo, which continues to enthrall us to this minute.

Brian and his family owned music stores in the city Liverpool called NEMS and the new NEMS store was only down the street and around the corner from a dingy, basement club called The Cavern. This was the club where the Beatles played regularly and yet Brian was totally oblivious of them. It is said that Brian first heard of the Beatles when a young lad came asking for a record called "My Bonnie" recorded by the "Silver Beatles". Brian, who prided himself on knowing everything about the music retailing business, had never heard about it! He finally managed to trace this recording to a Hamburg based recording company and promptly imported a few copies.

The demand for the Beatles had by then started warming up on the local scene. Intrigued by this act, which was attracting so much attention, Brian decided to investigate some more and was shocked to know that they were local Liverpool lads. What more, they were performing right next to him! And so one day, after work, he sauntered down to the Cavern to see the Beatles in action. What he saw that day, did not impress him at all. The Beatles then were raw kids, especially after their sleazy nightclub days in the red light district of Hamburg. Yet he was interested enough to go back to see them after a few days.

This time he was charmed by the personalities of the boys and though he disapproved of their presentation and the music was too rough to be his cup of tea, he was impressed with the audience reaction. The Beatles had become local heroes and Brian saw the beginnings of a musical sensation. Brian was looking for a new challenge and he felt that with the sprucing up of the Beatles' live act and music, he could convert this local phenomenon into something really big. Nobody then had really any idea how really huge this would become!

Brian died at the early age of 33. At this young age he left behind a rich legacy of talent and ideas and he must have been one of the few people who wrote his autobiography "A Cellarful of Noise" before the age of thirty. Today thousands of people around the globe are hoping that this man is given his rightful place in the non-performers' section of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and remembered for the impact he has made on our lives through his vision and passion. He gave us the Beatles and who knows, could have stopped them from breaking up. For those of you who care, please go to the official Brian Epstein website at http://www.martinlewis.com/mbe/ and sign on-line the worldwide petition for this campaign. This would all be for a man of whom Paul McCartney recently said, "If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian".

Rock on!

Nandu Bhende











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