19 September 2009
256. Man of Sartorial Excellence: Brian Epstein
Brain Epstein nearly doesn't get the credit he deserves for his place in Rock and Roll history. He not only discovered The Beatles, had a role as their manager but he was the mastermind behind the quartet's change in style from leather clad bikers with slicked hair (thanks to stints in Hamburg) who cursed, drank and mingled with the girls onstage, to a more proper stage appearance by bowing in unison and wearing tailored suits, topped off with the "Beatle boot" (a Chelsea boot with a Cuban heel).
Just about any clip you'll see of The Beatles during "Beatlemania", there was Brian, nodding his head along to Ringo's steady beat at the Cavern Club in 1962 or marching behind them as they greeted thousands of adoring fans at Heathrow Airport or rushing the boys away to safety from the screaming fans at Shea stadium. Also in the clips, when you see Brain, you make sense of how and why The Beatles changed their appearance in the first place. Although he was mostly shown in dark suits and ties, he contained this aura about him. Part of it being fine Savile Row tailoring but in his posture, his facial expressions that never gave away too much about him or even when he added an accessory like a neckerchief, he owned the look and "sharply" differentiated himself. If someone else guided them, I highly doubt The Beatles as a unit would not have looked as good.
Paul McCartney has said on more than one occasion that if anyone was deserving of being referred to as the "fifth Beatle", Brian Epstein was your man. Today would have been his 75th birthday.
Fun Facts about Brian Epstein:
- He is the Godfather to John Lennon's first child Julian (who was also the inspiration for 'Hey Jude').
- In 1963, the groups that Brian managed spent 36 weeks at number one on the UK charts.
- He was the alleged subject of two Beatle tunes, "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and "Baby Your a Rich Man", alluding to Epstein's sexuality.