A strong case can be made for the Beatle' Manager, Brian Epstein to be considered the fifth Beatle. Others had attempted to manage the Beatles' prior including Mo Best (Pete's Mom) and Alan Williams, who got them their first bookings in Hamburg. But, it wasn't until Epstein, who came across an article about the band in the local Liverpool music paper "Mersey Beat", that the Beatles would find a manager who could take them to the next level. At about that same time, Epstein had also been receiving requests at his local record shop for the single "My Bonnie" which the Beatles had recorded with Tony Sheridan in Germany. Based on mounting requests. he placed an order with Polydor for 40 copies of the single and on November 9, 1961 went to see the Beatles perform at a crowded lunchtime show in the claustrophobic Cavern Club.
Like others before him, Epstein was taken with the band - the music and the particularly easy rapport the band had with their audience. The boys were still in their leather gear, and the Beatle haircut wouldn't be discovered until the following year, but they had the beat and a sense of humor that Epstein found appealing. Three weeks later, and after repeated visits to the Cavern, he approached them. The Beatles signed a three year contract with Epstein. Since only John was 21, the others had to have their parents sign the contract as well. Brian Epstein was a decidedly honest man, a rare thing in the entertainment business and gave the Beatles a good deal - mangers generally took 50% or more, Epstein didn't take more than 25% and that was only after certain earnings thresholds were met. He worked hard to get them an audition with Decca Records - which did not go well, and harder still to get them in to see George Martin at EMI's Parlephone Label.
Epstein managed the band's calendar day and night from late 1961 through to their last world tour that ended in August of 1966 with a concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Working with the Beatles he changed their look, abandoning the leather pants and jackets for a more European look with suits and ties. The Beatles described a collarless jacket that they had seen their old friend Jurgen Vollmer sporting after he had been to Paris. Epstein brought them to his exclusive tailor. He also had four pairs of boots made based on a style that John and Paul had seen in a shop window. It was their idea to add the Cuban heel, and so the Beatle boot was born. It was also Epstein who had the thankless job of firing drummer Pete Best.
Epstein was above all else a Beatle fan. Though he worked them hard, he treated them well. He told them in their second meeting that they were going to be bigger than Elvis, and helped make that prediction come true. Epstein's was a complex life. A gay man, in a culture and time that would not allow it. He lead a double, and sometimes dangerous life. After the Beatles stopped touring and retreated to the studio, Brian was lost. He had published his autobiography, "A Cellarful of Noise" in 1964. In August 24th 1967, while the Beatles were in Bangor, India studying Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi, Brian Epstein died from a drug overdose. He was 32 years old.