The Ironic and Honest Comment Of The Beatles Manager Revealed

The Ironic and Honest Comment Of The Beatles Manager Revealed | I Love Classic Rock Videos

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“Brian, don’t touch them with a f*cking bargepole.”

That’s how Allan Williams warned young Brian Epstein about the penny-pinching band from Liverpool called The Beatles that whom the latter was aiming to sign a contract with. Williams, the band’s first manager was not paid a 10% commission after the young lads found the German tax deductions too much.

Williams was quick in dropping the Beatles, whom he didn’t think much of in the first place. John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, who played bass for the group at the time, were only able to convince the well-known Liverpool promoter and booking agent of a big opportunity after some serious courting.

Apparently, the management stint didn’t last long. Hence, Epstein became as famous as the Fab Four and Williams became known as The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away.

The Beatles were “sort of a crappy group”

Back in 1960, Williams started looking for a band suitable for a residency at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany. The promoter had actually had dealings with The Beatles previously, having booked them for a number of various gigs.

But for Hamburg? Williams didn’t think the band were good enough.

Bill Harry, the founder of Liverpool music publication Mersey Beat, revealed how The Beatles became entwined in the situation, as recounted in Bob Spitz’s book The Beatles: The Biography. According to Harry, 

“Allan was having plenty of trouble finding a band and that’s how the Beatles got involved. They were really in no condition to perform but they courted Allan, and Stuart came on strong,” Harry recalled.

Stuart did come strong but at the expense of his apartment.

You see, in their attempt to get media attention for the band, Lennon and Sutcliffe agreed to have their lives be part of a story, thus exposing their struggles as well as their untidy apartment. The move got Sutcliffe evicted from his apartment, unfortunately.

Though the promoter didn’t like the scheming youngsters, Williams felt like he owed them, and thus agreed to send them to Hamburg if they find themselves a permanent drummer. Acting swiftly, they enlisted a drummer named Pete Best and embarked on a transformative journey to Hamburg that would reshape their lives.

The management didn’t go too well

Williams’ stint as The Beatles’ manager was short-lived. The band independently arranged a second Hamburg gig in 1961, bypassing Williams’ assistance. Due to this, and the heavy tax they incurred, the band refused to honor the manager’s commission.

Understandably, Williams wanted to sue The Beatles. While he ultimately didn’t carry out this threat, he did sever ties with the band, a decision he would soon come to thoroughly regret.

Following their split from Williams, The Beatles entered into collaboration with Epstein. Epstein, who managed his family’s record store, decided to check out the band after repeated requests to stock The Beatles’ music.

Despite lacking management experience, Epstein offered his services, which were accepted by the band. Williams met the new manager not too long after and uttered his famous warning.


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Epstein recounted his decision in Hunter Davies’ The Beatles: The Authorized Biography, stating, “I had money, a car, a record shop. I think that helped. But they also liked me. I liked them because of this quality they had, a sort of presence. They were incredibly likable.”

Guided by Epstein’s leadership, The Beatles ascended to unparalleled heights. Epstein remained their manager until his untimely passing in 1967.

The man who gave away The Beatles

Reflecting on this episode of his life, Williams confessed to the Daily Record in 2011 that he “still [loses] sleep over it 50 years later.”

“No one could have guessed The Beatles would become so famous. At that time, there were 300 groups in Liverpool who were as good or better than The Beatles. And I didn’t even get my £9. I remember watching them doing a performance before the Queen about a year later and throwing a cushion at the TV.”

Although he was called rock’s ultimate loser (after Decca Records, probably?), Williams moved on and continued creating opportunities for the other bands from Liverpool.

In the subsequent years, the former manager and band shared warm sentiments for each other, with McCartney affectionately characterizing Williams as “a great guy” in The Beatles Anthology.

During the 1970s, Williams assumed a pivotal role in orchestrating the inaugural Beatles conventions held in Liverpool. He remained a recurring VIP presence at the city’s annual Beatle Week Festivals.

In 1975, he authored a memoir titled The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away, a work that received Lennon’s endorsement. He continued interacting with the local scene as well as Beatles fans throughout the years and was even made a Citizen of Honour of the City of Liverpool at a ceremony in Liverpool Town Hall on May 9, 2016.

Some months later, on December 30, 2016, Williams died in Liverpool at the age of 86.