The Beatles fotosession
David Hearn berättar:
Getting all four to pose was an almost impossible task. When I took this picture, the process of filming was going on. I was standing behind the movie camera. I didn’t talk to the guys, so I didn’t make any noise, and, accordingly, didn’t interfere with the filming. The composition of the shot again uses the technique that Dick Lester came up with – creating an intriguing image.
Only Ringo seemed to be completely satisfied with the whole process.
David Hearn: It seemed that Paul and John were somewhat distant from Ringo and George. They definitely thought they were the brain of all the action. In fact, John was an intellectual, with his eccentricity and sharp mind. He could be very soulful, but he also directed the filming process. If he says ”jump”, you will jump.
I really needed John’s shot, so I asked him to pose after the day’s shooting. Even though he was very cooperative, he didn’t realize that it took a photographer time to set up a camera and then take a few shots to get the perfect result. All the Beatles had to be very hasty because they weren’t standing there waiting for you. I only had a second to take the picture.
Den här dagen gav Brian Epstein en intervju för BBC-programmet Frankly Speaking (Ärligt talat). Intervjuaren var tv-presentatören Bill Grundy, Intervjun kom sedan att sändas den 23 mars 1964.
Den rätt långa men intressanta intervjun kan ni ta del av nedan.
Bill Grundy: Mr. Epstein, the Beatles have eclipsed all the other artists you work with or for whom you work. How big is your empire now?
Brian Epstein: We have seven performers. I call them performers because five of them are groups and two are soloists. This [group] Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, which is its own entity, its supportive group Gerry & The Pacemakers, Tommy Quickly, The Fourmost, Cilla Black and Sounds Incorporated.
Bill Grundy: How about the administrative staff to support all of this?
Brian Epstein: Well, it changes a little because we just moved to London and we are recruiting new employees, but only about twenty-five people.
Bill Grundy: How big is an empire in terms of money? Everyone read about the somewhat startling figure of how much the Beatles made last year for their record company. What is the turnover of this empire?
Brian Epstein: I can’t answer that question for you, I really don’t know. For this reason, let me remind you that the companies with which these performers work, with whom they have signed contracts, have been operating only since June 1962.
Bill Grundy: The newspapers accuse you of being ”Mister 25 percent.” If the turnover is as large as you calculated, then this means a very large income for you. This is essentially a lot for the entertainment industry, is this a high percentage?
Brian Epstein: It isn’t. This is not the case, and the 25 percent profit margin in this business is not that fantastic because my personal expenses associated with managing the artists are pretty fantastic too.
Bill Grundy: What are these costs?
Brian Epstein: Well, for flights, to America, or when I fly to America to find out the situation, secure orders and so on and so forth, then I pay from my own funds. If I negotiate the Beatles with, say, the Ed Sullivan show, he’ll pay the guys and possibly their road managers, but I don’t expect him to pay me because I don’t necessarily follow them wherever they go. So wherever I go, I have to pay my own expenses, and all of this is from that 25 percent. On top of that, of course, out of that 25 percent, we arrange all of their photos for them, arrange transportation, and you can imagine all those phone calls that we make on behalf of, say, the Beatles, which, in a way, spread to the whole world.
Bill Grundy: Huge phone bills.
Brian Epstein: Terrible, yes.
Bill Grundy : It seems to be a rather unusual world for a young man like you. How did you get into it? Where did you start?
Brian Epstein: I started by being the head of the recording business in a family business, and, as it happens, I was the director. We were asked, or was I asked, one boy asked for a Beatles record. Our record policy is that we keep track of every order, and I started to find out because I didn’t know anything about this band. It wasn’t until a week or two later that he told me that they were a Liverpool group. For some reason I thought they were from Germany. Basically, he told me that this is a Liverpool band and that they actually came back from Germany and that they were playing in a club called The Cave, about a hundred yards from my office. I arranged to go where I saw them during the afternoon performance. At the time, it was quite shocking to go down to this dark, damp and smoky basement in the middle of the day and see crowds and crowds of teenagers watching the performance of four young people on stage. They were, say, in rather shabby clothes, in their best outfit, or, I would say, in their most attractive outfit – black leather jackets and jeans, of course, long hair, and a rather unkempt stage manner, not realizing this horror and not caring how they looked. I think they were more concerned with how they sounded. I think they still care more about how they sound. Of course, now they are realizing the importance of how they look, because, as you know, television and all that.
Bill Grundy: The change in their appearance, is it because of you? Did you make them dress that way and everything else?
Brian Epstein: I would say it was the result of the efforts of all five of us, not me. In the beginning, I encouraged them to give up leather jackets and jeans, and after a short time I did not allow them to appear in jeans. After this step, I made them wear sweaters on stage, and then, very reluctantly, they finally agreed to the costumes. In my opinion, it was for one of their first, say, major performances. I’m not sure they didn’t wear their first costumes to broadcast BBC in front of an audience.
Bill Grundy: The Beatle collar suits are actually German style jackets. I first saw them in Germany a few years ago. Did the guys decide to choose suits of this cut, or did you?
Brian Epstein: They are, actually, with a lot of my approval. I decided at the time that it was a great design. He quickly became, in some way, something, to some extent, hackneyed and short-lived interest for them. But the first time they found it for themselves, I think the idea came from France, Pierre Cardin.
Bill Grundy: That day you went to The Cave for the first time and saw the Beatles there. Have you talked to them?
Brian Epstein: Yes. I got to know them.
Bill Grundy: Did you notice their talent, did you see something in them, did you immediately sign a contract with them?
Brian Epstein: Oh no, no. I’ve never done this with any of the artists. In fact, before meeting them for the first time, I walked around them for almost a week or so. And then, we agreed, we found the basis for an agreement that they didn’t actually sign, and I actually didn’t start doing anything for deductions from their money, which, anyway, was very small. Approximately four months. In fact, our first meeting we had, our first business meeting took place in my store. It was a very long start, which was pretty funny actually. Three of the guys arrived at the appointed time at four o’clock. I was very busy ordering records for Christmas, and … Paul didn’t show up at all for at least 45 minutes, and it pissed me off a little. I thought this was our first meeting, that they wanted to do something to manage their activities and all that, and I asked one of the guys to come to the phone and call him. He came back and said: ”He just got up and washes in the bath.” So I kind of, you know, yelled a little about it, and I thought it was undeniably very outrageous. How can he be so late for an important event.And George simply replied in their characteristic form: ”Well, he may be late, but he is very clean.”
Bill Grundy: You picked these guys who are at the top of every possible list right now. Why? How were they different?
Brian Epstein: I really liked them. I immediately liked the sound that I heard. I heard them sounding even before I met them. I think this is important because I think you should always remember that people actually hear their sound and they like it even before they even meet them. They are significant, but I immediately liked what I heard, and I thought that this is something that many people will really like. They were fresh, they were sincere, and they had what, in my opinion, was something like … personal charm and, such a terrible and vague term – the professionalism of a star.
Bill Grundy: Their sincerity, will it stay fresh? Or, really, it will be destroyed by time and those external influences to which it is exposed?
Brian Epstein: Definitely not. I think they will actually go in a different direction, they will become more sincere and even less fake. They are not fake at all, but … I think they know about this natural … personal charm inherent in them.
Bill Grundy: I was interested in one thought that you made when you first saw The Beatles, that they didn’t seem to have any idea of the stage production, which implies that you have some knowledge or feeling. Did you have such training?
Brian Epstein: Yes, I studied at RADA for eighteen months before leaving, or, one might say, returning to the family business ( note – RADA – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the most famous drama schools in the world and also one of the oldest drama schools in the UK).
Bill Grundy: Now let’s take a closer look at your education. Let’s talk about your family to put it all in context. What kind of family is this, your family?
Brian Epstein: Middle class, maybe a little higher. The retail stores that my grandfather set up in the old days are mostly furniture stores. When I graduated from high school, at sixteen, I had an aspiration to become a fashion designer and also an actor, but my family was not very keen on this, and I allowed myself to lean towards this business. I think I wanted to leave school more than anything else, because I didn’t really like it there.
Bill Grundy: What school was that?
Brian Epstein: Rekin College, Shropshire. After being in the family business, I studied at a furniture company for about six months, then returned to the family business and became interested in demonstration and advertising. In fact, we opened a store especially for me to design the interior, which interested me to some extent. But by the time I was 21, I still felt a bit of a yearning for acting and stage and the like. I remember one time talking to an actor that I admired, I kind of admired his ideas and all that, and I said, you know, ”I feel so old.” ”What do you mean? You are only 21, ”he said.” You can go to RheeDeA. ” I thought yes, I could. After that I decided to go through the audition, which passed, and the director of R-A.D.-A. quite quickly allowed me to be received. But I think that by this time I was too involved in business to be a student. And I didn’t like being a student at all. And when the opportunity arose to rejoin the family in the family business, the record attracted me very much, because, and it still is, I believe that I still have some fascination with the theater and the stage. I decided that this would be the best for me and I actually liked it. I have found that I enjoy working with gramophone records, both classical and pop.
Bill Grundy: When you were in school, what kind of music were you interested in? Were you interested in music then?
Brian Epstein: Yes, I was taught to play the violin, and I was very interested in classical music. In Liverpool, I often went to concerts. I didn’t have a lot of time for pop music until I got into the record business. I mean his trade side. I have often attended and watched pop concerts, radio and television coverage, and the like.
Bill Grundy : Did your musical preferences make you feel like the music you are doing now is worth it? In other words, I mean, do you think contemporary pop music is good music?
Brian Epstein : I don’t know if it’s good music, but anyway it’s art.
Bill Grundy: One of the art forms. Are you raising her so high?
Brian Epstein : Yes, yes.
Bill Grundy: Do you know enough about music to understand contemporary musical composition, arrangement, or songs?
Brian Epstein: I don’t understand music, but I do know about it. I think I understand if this or that song, composition, sound is a hit.
Bill Grundy: Is there someone in the recording studio with whom you can possibly disagree on what should come out?
Brian Epstein: George Martin is the Beatles and many of my other artist’s record managers, but we work together very well and luckily we work very closely on what we record. As soon as the issue of name and so on is resolved, the rest remains with him. I attend a lot of recording sessions and stuff, and I talk about what I think of the different recordings and which sides should be released, but he does the records. I am a person who has nothing to do with technology at all.
Bill Grundy: Do you get along well with most people?
Brian Epstein: Overall, yes. Obviously, people get along well with other people, except when they don’t like them.
Bill Grundy: Do you compromise yourself to get along well with people?
Brian Epstein: Yes.
Bill Grundy: In this particular business, in the world of impresario, you still think of yourself as an alien fish in this very unusual sea. Do you get along well with the impresario with whom you have to communicate?
Brian Epstein: Overall yes, I guess. They may have quite a bit of jealousy. I know this, so I think it depends on me to try to compensate for this envy personally. It is definitely not good for other people to feel this way. If I were jealous of someone who did something that delighted me and that I wanted to do myself, then I would feel intense envy and almost annoyance if he was somewhat unpleasant to me. But if he was a good guy, or, say, always friendly and polite, and I would be pleased to talk to him and all that, then I would just envy him with a sense of admiration and joy.
Bill Grundy: Could you say that your relationship with your artists is atypical?
Brian Epstein: I think so. I think they are quite personal, considering that I play the role of both a manager and an agent. Many pop musicians have a manager and an agent who, by the way, are paid their own interest.
Bill Grundy: Then how much satisfaction do you get from leadership? How do you get out of all this?
Brian Epstein: A lot of things … Artist development. To some extent, I suppose, there must be something in the artist’s real trust, which is very pleasant in a way, and … in their boundless devotion. I also really like my artists as people. I think they are all great people, and that’s what I mean. Recently they wrote about me that maybe I like the best company of my artists, and I think that this is a pretty correct observation, actually. It was written in the context that I have little social life and that I spend most of my time with my artists.
Bill Grundy: Well, other than a vague sense of satisfaction, do you have any specific handling that really pleases you? Have you had any real satisfaction in any aspect of management lately?
Brian Epstein: Well, it’s always gratifying when a record hits the charts or a record becomes number one. This is a strong feeling. A simple thing, really, but the feeling is strong. Because the artist was right, you were right, the record manager was right. The song was right, the artist was right, and it was recorded properly, and everyone feels that everyone’s work is suddenly useful. It’s like winning a race. It’s not just a record, an artist and a song become number one, but a lot happens when a successful record becomes number one. The artist suddenly becomes significant, he becomes desirable everywhere, because this record looks like it will become number one in other parts of the world. The record in the charts means a lot to the artist, on this day and time.
Bill Grundy: In the preliminary planning of that trip to America, was there a huge amount? When did you start thinking about this, for example?
Brian Epstein: Well, obviously, the idea of America in connection with the Beatles came up a long time ago because I always thought, I was always quite sure that the Beatles would be successful there. We were all rather excited about it, because we released records there, but nothing happened. And I decided to go there and look around and find out why. Try to get a feel for the American market. I also took one of my artists, Billy J. Kramer, with me to do some promotional work there, which was a good idea in my opinion. Both [with the Beatles] were relevant enough. Looking back and analyzing what happened, I think it was all very simple. My answer to the boys when I arrived was this. I didn’t think we made a record that would fit the American market. But I actually thought, after listening to a lot of American pop music, which was popular at the time, that I Want To Hold Your Hand , which was just about to come out, was suitable. Plus the fact that a lot of information came from the British press, from the Royal Variety Show, from the Palladium and London scenes. Beatlemania, as it has been called in general. There was a lot of interest at that stage, and it was the best time for the release of ”I want to hold your hand.”
Bill Grundy: The timing seems to have been right. Was this American trip so successful because it was well timed, or something else?
Brian Epstein: I think it helped, quite … I can’t say that I guess the timing, because I knew it would be right, but it was the way it happened. Performing at a specific point in time on those two Ed Sullivan shows couldn’t be more faithful. The records were at the top, they were at the top for several weeks, and they were still at the top. And it worked, in fact.
Bill Grundy: There is one more undertaking in store at the moment, and again it might be the right time. Are you making a movie?
Brian Epstein: Yes.
Bill Grundy: Was it a conscious, deliberate decision, or did someone convince you to do it?
Brian Epstein: Well, naturally we had offers to do a movie since the guys had big hits. We didn’t like many of these suggestions, and I started to worry because, without a doubt, films are important. And I think the Beatles will be very good at films. What actually started this film, I think, was Alan Owen’s idea … because the Beatles were as passionate about it as I was. I think he is an excellent writer and the right person for this film.
Bill Grundy: Are you involved in the production of your film?
Brian Epstein: A little, yes, as a consultant. But I took over the production of the film with Gerry & The Pacemakers.
Bill Grundy: Aren’t you afraid to go into new areas, into high tech areas like this, without a lot of knowledge or experience?
Brian Epstein: No, because everyone learns quite a lot by observing.
Bill Grundy: How long, looking into the future, will this ongoing Beatles hype last?
Brian Epstein: It seems to me that at the present time, in general, there is a slight change in the general trend. But I don’t really believe in pop trends. I mean, Cilla Black managed to do something with, say, ”Mercy Sound”, beat or something like that?
Bill Grundy: What are these minor signs, changes that you are finding in pop music at the moment?
Brian Epstein: I think the hard beat, the throbbing beat, goes away. Its popularity is declining. It seems to me that there is a more refined kind of sound, quite pleasant, I suppose, quite good, and also with good harmony.
Bill Grundy: Like?
Brian Epstein: Well, aside from who I have any relationship with, I would say The Searchers is a very good example of what I mean. This is the sound that will come in the next few months. I think this is a very good band, actually.
Bill Grundy: The Sound of Mercy. This expression, as I understand it, you do not like. It was, of course, invented by the press because of the crop of bands that appeared in the Liverpool area …
Brian Epstein: I think they made it a landmark to have a lead.
Bill Grundy: The Liverpool area seems to have given some strength to the movement, but you yourself have now moved to London. It’s not a mistake?
Brian Epstein: It’s a sad fact. In fact, I moved very reluctantly because I like Liverpool and I love these people. Obviously, maybe I owe a lot to this city, but the problem is that it was almost impossible to organize my life and make it better for the artists when I was moving between Liverpool and London, so to speak. There is so much to do in London. Artists play a lot in London, record records in London and so on and so forth … so … I guess it was forced. Not that I was terribly unhappy about it. In a way, this is sad, I suppose. But this does not mean that we think less about Liverpool, or we want to be less in Liverpool. My home is in Liverpool, and I intend to return there whenever possible.
Bill Grundy: But it can affect your ability to identify talent, right? If you came from the Liverpool area, where did so many bands start?
Brian Epstein: Yes, it worries me a little because I have been among the dance halls and clubs much more than I am now, because I have been involved in difficult business conferences all the time. But with this awareness I will try to avoid being aloof from all this, because this is the part of the business that I like. I’d rather go to the dance hall and watch groups and people during the evening, rather than sit at a hearty dinner discussing something that probably won’t work out one way or another.
Bill Grundy: It’s beat management, artist management, what does a manager do for an artist, say the Beatles? Four bright guys, as they say, why can’t they cope with such things themselves?
Brian Epstein: Well, it didn’t bother them anyway, the way it is now. But, do you mean now, or two and a half years ago?
Bill Grundy: Well, let’s look at them on two different occasions. Two and a half years ago, could they have reached where they are today without your help?
Brian Epstein: No, I don’t think they would care. They played clubbing in Liverpool and had a good time. But I do not think that they would have bothered to do anything, and they would not have been able to show efforts in the right direction, because young, inexperienced people from the point of view of business, do not represent themselves well and correctly, say, their place etc. In addition, each one consulted them on a variety of issues. You do their commercial business, but the degree of involvement or effort you can put into an artist depends to some extent on, I would say, the personal relationship between the manager and the artist. I do a lot for all of them, but this is because there is a strong kind of personal connection.
Bill Grundy: Let’s take a look at the Beatles now. The position in which they are now. Do they really need a manager for further development?
Brian Epstein: I would say that they need a manager even more than ever before, because now there is so much work that we call leadership, say, the Beatles, that they cannot do it for themselves.
Bill Grundy: Do they need you as a manager, or have they already reached the level where someone else who knows the technical side can manage them?
Brian Epstein: I don’t think anyone can control them because I don’t think the Beatles will be subordinate to anyone else.
Bill Grundy: Is this the personal relationship you have with them?
Brian Epstein: I don’t know if I should say this, but I think it is.
Bill Grundy: Do you get great satisfaction from the sense of power that can give you running this organization?
Brian Epstein: No, and I don’t really feel it, because … I suppose you could say that controlling people is a powerful thing, but I don’t think about it. I don’t even try to do this. I just don’t do it.
Bill Grundy: In your opinion, you are a very good businessman?
Brian Epstein: Good enough. As a businessman, good enough. I have a business and possibly a practical business brain. But I’m not a genius.
Bill Grundy: What are your shortcomings? Why aren’t you better than you seem to think yourself?
Brian Epstein: I’m probably, say, taking ideas a little too seriously, not the finance underlying ideas.
Bill Grundy: Don’t you think that the story with RDA has somehow unsettled you, out of pure business?
Brian Epstein: No, I think it was very good, although I didn’t like being a student, but it was very good. I’ve learned a lot. It was actually pretty interesting. I thought about this a lot, and realized acting, RDA, about six months after leaving RDA.
Bill Grundy: Were you a good actor?
Brian Epstein: Not at the time. I would like to think what could have been.
Bill Grundy : Did that leave you with a dislike for theater or a real taste for it?
Brian Epstein: Real taste for theater.
Bill Grundy: Real theater?
Brian Epstein: Yes, that’s right. I would like to do so much and, dare I say, participate in the play. Play directly.
Bill Grundy: What kind of productions?
Brian Epstein: Perhaps something from Chekhov. Or modern drama.
Bill Grundy: Which playwright?
Brian Epstein: I don’t know. Osborne. Someone who is famous.
Bill Grundy: You came into this business from the most unusual conditions and circumstances. Mr. Epstein, with you and those with whom you work, a huge number of events have happened over the past two and a half years. Can you imagine a different way of life from today?
Brian Epstein: No, definitely not. I would like to improve in the work that I do, which I look forward to, with joy, in the movies, in the shows, and possibly in the dramatic part, but by far this is the work that I enjoy the most.
Bill Grundy: And never go back to the family business?
Brian Epstein: I don’t think so.