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22nd November, 2021

Becoming The Beatles: Pete Brown

Finally made the plane into Paris

Honeymooning down by the Seine

Peter Brown call to say

You can make it O.K.

You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain!

 

Peter Brown was Brian Epstein’s friend and personal assistant and became part of The Beatles’ trusted inner circle. So much so, he was best man for both Paul McCartney and John Lennon at their weddings to Linda Eastman & Yoko Ono.

Originally in charge of the record department at Lewis’s department store in Liverpool, he was appointed to take over from Brian as the manager of the Great Charlotte Street branch of NEMS.

As The Beatles became more successful in Merseyside and beyond, Brian’s time and attention was finding itself increasingly occupied with their management and he needed help.

In 1965 Pete joined Brian in London as his personal assistant. As Brian’s private life became chaotic through depression, drink and drugs, Pete was often there not only on a professional level, but also personally as a trouble-shooter and friend. Pete suspected that Brian was taking too many pills, as he would often cough at parties, which Brown realised was Epstein's way of secretly putting pills into his mouth without anyone noticing.

Paul and Linda

Pete first met American photographer Linda Eastman in 1967, and invited her to the press launch for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Shortly afterwards he met her again at the Bag O’Nails nightclub in Soho, London, and introduced her to Paul McCartney. The pair later married in 1969.

Brian Epstein’s Death

Pete Brown wrote in his memoir, The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles, that he had once found a suicide note written by Brian and had spoken with him about it. According to Pete, the note read in part, "This is all too much and I can't take it any more." 

Pete also claimed to have found a will in which Brian left his house and money to his mother and his brother, with Pete himself also being named as a minor beneficiary. When confronted with the notes, Brian told Pete that he would be grateful if he doesn't mention it to anyone and that he was sorry for making him worry.  

Pete was the one who broke the news of Brian’s death to The Beatles and arranged for them to come back to England from their meditation retreat in Bangor, Wales.

Brian had taken, what was most likely an accidental overdose of Carbital, a popular sleeping pill of the time. The day before, Brian had telephoned Pete at around 5pm. Pete claimed he sounded 'very groggy' and advised him to come back to Sussex by train and not risk driving. That was the last conversation anyone had with Brian Epstein.

Pete Brown sat on the board of directors for Apple Corps. He was a trusted friend and important influence to The Beatles throughout their career…but when Allen Klein took over he was promptly fired.

Alongside Steven Gaines, Pete co-wrote the book The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles which didn’t sit well will the McCartneys at all… they refused to read it and burned it. The relationship was then severed.

When The Beatles broke up, he became President and Chief Executive Officer of the Robert Stigwood Organisation, Inc., a New York-based company with a high profile in theatre and film production and personal management. In 1977, Peter formed the Entertainment Development Company, a Wall Street-financed independent film company.

He is currently chairman and CEO at BLJ Worldwide.

Mitch Francis

Mitch is the PR, Marketing & Social Media Executive at The Beatles Story.

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