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In My Life: The Brian Epstein Story Paperback – February 7, 2002
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With hundreds of Beatles books already available, there is inevitably a sinking feeling when yet another comes along to chronicle the rise of the world's most extraordinary entertainment phenomenon.
So, it's all the more to Debbie Geller's credit that she brings fresh perspective to a familiar tale with this collection of transcripts, culled from 1998's two-part BBC documentary. As well as obtaining access to Epstein's unpublished correspondence, Geller has rounded-up an impressive array of former chauffeurs, attorneys, employees, and ex-Beatles to tell their tales of the shy salesman who chanced upon a scruffy quartet in a Liverpool cellar, and went on to help them conquer the world. Particularly illuminating are the details of Epstein's business deals: "I think ... Brian did good deals," Paul McCartney says. "He looked to his dad for business advice, and his dad really knew how to run a furniture store in Liverpool. This was a little bigger than that!"
Back then, the full impact of the Beatles was impossible to foresee--but, when it finally did come, it was immense and immediate. A month before he died, at only 34, Epstein wrote of his beloved charges: "The boys have gone to Greece to buy an island. I think it's a dotty idea, but they're no longer children and must have their own sweet way." Had Epstein lived, one can only speculate how different things might have been for the Beatles, and the world. --Patrick Humphries, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Brian Epstein's death by drug overdose in 1967 cut short a career marked by scandalous secrets and phenomenal success. As manager, Epstein cleaned up the Beatles, gave them cute haircuts and promoted them tirelessly, telling anyone who would listen that they would be "bigger than Elvis" until, surprisingly, they were. Born to an upper-middle-class Jewish household and pushed into joining the family business, Epstein transformed his father's furniture store first into the best music store in Liverpool, then into a music empire. All the while, he struggled with loneliness and unhealthy relationships, forced to hide his homosexuality from the public and always insecure about the motivations of others. This new look at his life (the first since Ray Coleman's 1989 bio, The Man Who Made the Beatles) was culled largely from interviews presented in the award-winning BBC documentary The Brian Epstein Story, directed by Anthony Wall and produced by Geller. The interviewees include people who worked with Epstein, family members and musicians, including Gerry Marsden (of Gerry and the Pacemakers) and Paul McCartney, as well as Beatles producer George Martin and '60s Britpop scenester Marianne Faithfull. Also excerpted here is Epstein's 1964 autobiography, Cellarful of Noise, along with extracts from his unpublished diaries and writings. The anecdotes, presented without commentary in documentary-style quotations, present a complicated, intimate view of his life and the lives he affected. Persistent rumors, such as those suggesting a sexual relationship with John Lennon, are alternately denied and confirmed, leaving some mysteries while shedding light on Epstein's life as a whole. B&w photos. (Dec.) Forecast: This title should get a small boost from the current wave of interest in all things Beatles, particularly from the bestselling Beatles Anthology. The BBC documentary on which this book is based has been featured at several gay and lesbian film festivals this year, which could also increase interest in the book.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
But despite the cheesy cover, I went ahead with my purchase & was not disappointed. One would think that just about every aspect of the Beatles has been absolutely covered and trampled to death. Then along comes Debbie Geller with this gem - the Brian Epstein angle has been an untapped vein up until this point. It's not so much a traditional book about her subject as it is an oral history. Geller's coup is to get Paul McCartney - among many other voices - to comment at length on Epstein's role with the group.
The book's main themes and premises, of which a strong case is made by all the book's participants:
1. There would be no Beatles without Epstein. During the very early sixties when they were no more than a crude band distinguished only by their Hamburg experience, Epstein's belief in 'his boys' was indefatigable. He created a new image for them, and sold that image - after much rejection - to London.
2. Epstein created rock and roll management and promotion as we know it today; it simply did not exist before he came along, & it is around today mainly in the guise that he created.
3. Epstein was a terribly complex and conflicted man. No one participating in this project makes the case that he was 'nice' or easy to get along with. In fact, he comes across as a holy terror at times. Jewish in a non-Jewish world, openly gay prior to any societal openness on that front, a manic-depressive (some posit) before a clinical diagnosis for such an afflication existed, addicted to various uppers and downers.
This was a terribly complex, troubled - but enormously gifted - man. To think that he fit all he did into 32 short years. Amazing.
Thank you Debbie Geller for honoring this blazing comet named Brian Espstein, who willed the Beatles into this world.