Tertiary Music Studies
Literature review with annotated bibliography
5pm Friday, 17th October 2014
Many people have accredited Brian Epstein for The Beatles worldwide success, yet it seems that he has been overlooked as an inductee into the ‘Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Non-Performer Area’ for over 29 years. This review will focus on 3 major things Epstein did to help the Beatles success which emerge repeatedly throughout the literature reviewed. These are: His absolute belief in the band, his vision for the bands’ image, and the Beatles musicality. This paper will primarily focus on whether Epstein contribution to The Beatles success merits a place in the ‘Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Non-Performer Area’.
According to Spitz (2005) and Riley (2011) there are two different theories about how Epstein was introduced to the music of the Beatles. Epstein himself states that he was first introduced to the Beatles from a customer Raymond Jones when he requested a copy of ‘My Bonnie’ from the NEMS record store that Epstein managed as part of the family business. “I had never [before] given a thought to any of the Liverpool beat groups then up and coming [sic] in the cellar clubs” (Spitz, 2005, p.266).
While Riley (2011) argues that Epstein knew about the Beatles long before he let on. As a prominent record store manager, Epstein regularly advertised in Mersey Beats and was also a columnist in the music driven newspaper. Riley (2011) suggests that “Epstein wanted his Beatlemaniac readers to believe that he didn’t read anything in Mersey Beats except his own ads” (Riley, 2011, p.141).
Regardless of the way Epstein discovered the Beatles, the one thing no one can deny is his immediate attraction to the band and the belief that they would be one of the best. “I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humour on stage. And even afterwards when I met them again I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that really it all started” (Lewis, n.d, para 7).
Almost a month after the Beatles had signed a management deal with Epstein, he was becoming rather disappointed in there stage presence, appearance, and there abilty to sequence set of songs during a live show. Spitz states
He insisted on some ground rules. From now on, eating onstage was out; so was smoking and punching one another, cursing, chatting up girls, taking requests, and sleeping. Lateness would no longer be tolerated – In addition to the above, the Beatles were required to post their set lists beforehand and – this provoked heated debate – bow after each number. And not just a casual nod – a big, choreographed bow, which, by a silent count, was delivered smartly and on cue – Later on, he would convince the others of the wisdoms in wearing suits (Spitz, 2005, p.280)
Lewis concurs that “He got the Beatles out of their mid-1950s leather and jeans look and into very stylish early – 1960s mod suits. Without that they would have never got on TV shows in that era (Lewis, n.d, para 11). There was no denying that there new image played a major role in their rise to the top of the industry. Without this vast change, the Beatles career could have been immensely different. The point that many historians miss is that Epstein’s makeover was just from a visual perspective. The Beatles’ sound was their own.
The decision to not interfere with the Beatles music is considered one of the best decisions that Epstein made. According to Liverpool Historian Spencer Leigh, “Epstein biggest triumph was in leaving the Beatle’s music alone” (Riley, 2011, p.153) However, Epstein did influence the Beatles when it came to single releases. During the release of A Hard Day’s Night Epstein pushed to have “Can’t Buy Me Love” released as single instead of “Roll Over Beethoven”. This song went on to reach No.1 in the US.…