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BRIAN EPSTEIN

Brian Samuel Epstein was born to Harry and Malka Epstein on September 19, 1934 in a private nursing home in Liverpool. His brother Clive was born 22 months later. His father Harry called his mother Queenie because Malka is the Hebrew word for "queen". Next to the furniture store that the Epstein family owned was The North End Road Music Stores. James McCartney Sr.'s family was one of the local families that bought pianos there on extended-purchase plans. The Epsteins later expanded and took over NEMS. Brian started to work at the family furniture store at Walton Road in 1950 at the age of 16. Two years later he was conscripted for National Service, but he was discharged from his two-year stint after ten months as being emotionally and mentally unfit. (He tells the story about being caught innocently impersonating an officer in A Cellarful Of Noise.) Upon his return in 1954 he was put in charge of another branch of the family business, Clarendon Furnishing in Hoylake, and he was very successful, a born salesman. However, Brian had other plans for his own life, and after some pleading with his parents was allowed to join the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts to train as an actor. He passed the audition, but soon discovered he wasn't cut out for show business, and returned to the family business. When his father opened a new NEMS store on Great Charlotte St, Brian was put in charge of the ground floor, where he expanded from pianos and wireless sets to gramophone records. The new record department was so successful that another NEMS branch was opened at 12-14 Whitechapel, with Brian in charge. Meanwhile, Brian, who had been selling the music publication Mersey Beat since its first issue on July 6, 1961, became interested in the local music scene, and asked its editor Bill Harry if he could contribute a record column. His first column appeared in the third issue of Mersey Beat on August 3, 1961. Brian's new NEMS store on Whitechapel was only down the street and around the corner from a dingy, basement club called The Cavern. Alistair Taylor, long-time assistant to Brian Epstein, from an interview with Martin Lewis at the re-created Cavern Club in 1995: "We found this record in Germany by a guy called Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, the boys were just a backing group, and one day Brian came into the shop and he said, 'By the way, do you remember that record that we sold so many of, that band the Beatles?' So I said, yeah. So he said, 'Well, they're playing at the Cavern. Let's go down and see them, and we'll see what they're like.' "And it was jammed solid, and we just sat at the back feeling rather embarressed, and I suddenly realised my foot was tapping, and I hated pop music, and Brian hated it even more than me, and I looked 'round and so was his." "And after a while Brian started talking about it, and he said, 'What did you think?' And I said I thought they were awful, quite honestly, but absolutely incredible. So he said, 'that's exactly my feelings. Do you think I should manage them?' And I said, yeah."


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