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Fifth Beatle Brian Epstein’s Unsung Revolution

The little-known story of how one gay Jew transformed pop culture.

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

Bio

February 12, 2014 - 3:30 pm
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Gay at a time when homosexuality was a felony and Jewish in an era of “polite” antisemitism, one Liverpool lad broke into entertainment management at a time when the Anglo Lords in London ruled the biz. 50 years later the music world is only beginning to acknowledge that there’d be no Beatles without their manager, Brian Epstein.

This past weekend, Vivek Tiwary, the Gen-X producer that brought Green Day’s American Idiot to Broadway, spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at The Fest for Beatles Fans about his mission to bring Epstein’s little known story to life via a critically acclaimed graphic novel, The Fifth Beatlereleased by Dark Horse Comics.

What I unearthed after much difficult research (there is a paltry amount of information readily available on Brian, which is part of why I want to bring his story to the world) was not just an inspirational business story and a blueprint for what I wanted to accomplish with my career, but also a very human story, as summarized above. It’s a story I could relate to—and wanted to relate to—on so many levels. Brian became my “historical mentor”, if you will. A person from whose history I’ve tried to learn from—both what to do and what NOT to do. Brian was certainly a flawed and imperfect hero, but a hero all the same.

Tiwary has drawn inspiration from Epstein’s trailblazing ingenuity, citing that without Epstein’s persistence, Ed Sullivan never would have brought The Beatles to America. “People scoffed when I brought Sean Combs to Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun because they didn’t believe that Broadway attracted a black audience. I told them that was ridiculous; if we gave them a product they wanted, they would come.” Like Epstein decades before, Tiwary’s was a winning gamble.

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Top Rated Comments   
Okay, Epstein was a merchandising genius. BUT what exactly does being a merchandising genius have to do with your sexual proclivities? Or your race? (Since he was a homosexual, I'm assuming he was Jewish by race only, since the Jewish religion has a thing or two to say about the Almighty's view regarding homosexuality.)

So, Britain didn't like Jews or homosexuals in the early '60s. Hell, they didn't like rock and roll either. This just seems like more neo-racism -- give him a medal because he did his job while homosexual! Let's get some twenty-first century perspective here on equality. It doesn't matter if he was a lily-white straight male Celtic Briton named Lord Colin Farthingdale-Phipps, selling the Beatles was not an easy task -- and it doesn't have a single thing to do with where he stuck his willy. So stop making it about that.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (4)
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Actually, if anyone TRULY deserved the title "Fifth Beatle", it would have been George Martin, without whose orchestral arrangements and studio wizardry (in the technological neolithic) the later, more adventurous Beatles albums would not be what they were.
He did get a "Sir" from the Queen for his efforts though :)
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, Epstein was a merchandising genius. BUT what exactly does being a merchandising genius have to do with your sexual proclivities? Or your race? (Since he was a homosexual, I'm assuming he was Jewish by race only, since the Jewish religion has a thing or two to say about the Almighty's view regarding homosexuality.)

So, Britain didn't like Jews or homosexuals in the early '60s. Hell, they didn't like rock and roll either. This just seems like more neo-racism -- give him a medal because he did his job while homosexual! Let's get some twenty-first century perspective here on equality. It doesn't matter if he was a lily-white straight male Celtic Briton named Lord Colin Farthingdale-Phipps, selling the Beatles was not an easy task -- and it doesn't have a single thing to do with where he stuck his willy. So stop making it about that.
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Fox: you beat me to it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz6ZwIlGfw4
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought Eddie Murphy was the 5th Beatle
24 weeks ago
24 weeks ago Link To Comment
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