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View Full Version : Sampiro, why do you say Brian Epstein was incompetent?


Rilchiam
03-01-2005, 06:24 AM
In this post (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=5809064&postcount=119) of a few weeks ago, you said he was "perhaps the most notoriously incompetent business manager in the history of rock".

Not trying to start an argument; I'm just curious. I've read a ton about the Beatles, and my impression was that Epstein was the kind of manager any band would love to have. For one thing, he wasn't looking to get rich off the Beatles; he was already rich, so he had their interests at heart, not just his own. And look what a nightmare the filming of Magical Mystery Tour was, and that was right after he died. Apple was never anything more than a confused noise, and Allan Kein was worse than useless. (I've said before that Lennon was a fool to oppose McCartney when he wanted to bring on Lee Eastman as manager.) And you certainly can't fault his early efforts in getting them signed, booked on Ed Sullivan, and all the rest of it!

Or is it a matter of, the reason they floundered after he died is that he did business so haphazardly that his crew didn't know where to start in taking over? I know he was a prescription drug addict, and a compulsive gambler, neither of which is the kind of person who's known for having their act together. So what did you mean?

(And in case anyone's wondering why I'm posting so soon after posting about my grandmother's death, it's because, as I said in the other thread, I'm not heartbroken. I'm not going to the funeral; I'm just going to make a donation to the AIDS foundation. It's kind of like when Epstein died, and one of his business associates was playing cricket when he got the news. "There wasn't much I could do, so I finished the game."

And in case anyone's wondering, why the AIDS foundation, it's because years ago, Grammy became convinced that she'd gotten HIV from a blood transfusion. Rosaline figured it couldn't hurt anything for her to get tested, so she took her to a clinic, and somehow Grammy got on the donor list. She continued sending them money for years, despite the daily messages from TV preachers that homosexuals were being punished by G-d. Maybe she just didn't make the connection?)

JohnT
03-01-2005, 09:49 AM
I think part of the issue is that he didn't do a good job of protecting the Beatles' long-term interests as well as he could, including making sure the band held the copyrights to their songs, royalties that were left on the table, etc.

Walloon
03-01-2005, 10:10 AM
Ask Yahoo (http://ask.yahoo.com/ask/20031210.html):Back in 1963, the Beatles gave their publishing rights to Northern Songs, a company created by their manager, Brian Epstein, and a music publisher, Dick James. Northern Songs went public in 1965, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney each had 15% of the company's shares, while Dick James and the company's chairman, Charles Silver, held a controlling 37.5% of shares. In 1969, James and Silver sold Northern Songs and its assets to the Associated Television Corporation (ATV).* Brain Epstein died in 1967.
* After Sgt Pepper (1967), George and Ringo used their own publishers - Harrisongs and Startling Music.