No disrespect to Beatles’ producer George Martin, but Paul McCartney made one thing clear in a 1997 BBC interview. “If anyone was the fifth Beatle,” McCartney said, “it was Brian [Epstein].”
Epstein, who died in 1967, will be given his proper due in “A Life in the Day,” a new film that depicts the early days of the Beatles and their Jewish manager. There is currently no release date for the film.
In September 1961, Epstein was introduced to the band during a trip to a cramped basement venue in Liverpool, England, known as the Cavern club. It was there that Epstein discovered a charismatic group of young men wearing leather jackets and jeans and playing loud 1950s rock music.
By December of that same year, Epstein was managing the Beatles. He would soon be responsible for the band’s early trademark look of mop-head haircuts and matching black suits. Epstein also would have a hand in helping the band get its first record contract with the British label Parlophone.
The announcement of “A Life in the Day” film coincided with an important week for Beatles fans. On September 9, the band’s entire catalog was re-released after being re-mastered in both stereo and mono mixes. And the video game “The Beatles: Rock Band,” which was the backdrop during McCartney’s performances during his 2009 summer tour, made its debut.
The lyric from the song, “A Day in the Life,” on which the film’s title plays, represents a fitting tribute to Epstein, who died of a drug overdose. The song’s opening, “I read the news today oh, boy, about a lucky man who made the grade,” rings true for a man who had a hand in changing the entire course of popular music.
This story "For the Benefit of Mr. Epstein" was written by Alex Suskind.