Long awaited statue of Brian Epstein unveiled in Liverpool

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Long awaited statue of Brian Epstein unveiled in Liverpool

Years in the planning the city finally honours the Jewish impresario. Brigit Grant was there for the unveiling

To a chorus of Let It Be sung by a huge crowd gathered on Whitechapel, Liverpool unveiled a new statue this weekend – and it was a statue that many felt was long overdue.

The surviving members of John Lennon’s first band The Quarry Men

A striking bronze incarnation of Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, now stands on the street he walked across on his way to see the band for the first time at The Cavern on 9 November 1961. Created by Andrew Edwards, the sculptor also responsible for The Beatles statue on the waterfront, this statue of Epstein is perfectly placed around the corner to The Cavern on Mathew Street, directly opposite the former site of North End Music Store (NEMS), which was the Epstein family business.

There had always been plans to honour and commemorate Epstein, the Jewish impresario who put Liverpool on the music map with the Mersey Beat, but there was never enough money or collective intention to make it happen. Marie Darwin, a Liverpool Beatles guide, historian and author, was determined it would and she had already proved herself by organising a plaque for Epstein at 4 Rodney Street, the place of his birth in 1934.

Marie joined forces with a small group of campaigners dedicated to working tirelessly to redress the balance and with the collective now operating as The Brian Epstein Legacy Project, they started a fundraising campaign that led to the creation of the statue. Like Marie, everyone who donated (and there were contributions from 30 other countries) believes that Brian Epstein was a visionary who should never be forgotten. Among those gathered to see the unveiling were Freda Kelly, who was Brian’s secretary and ran The Beatles fan club; surviving members of The Quarry Men (John Lennon’s first band) and Pauline Marsden, the widow of Gerry Marsden who, together with The Pacemakers, was also managed by Epstein. Pacemaker Les Maguire was also there and he, along with the others in attendance, was clearly moved to see such an accurate and commanding likeness of the man who once navigated their careers.

I was at the unveiling because I have spent the past three years writing, editing and working on the screenplay for the film The Midas Man, a bio-pic about Brian Epstein. Being engrossed in the life of Brian for so long has started to make him feel like a member of my extended family, which may sound incongruous and indeed presumptuous to his own family, but it was inevitable after so much time spent in his company.

It was an emotional moment for Brigit Grant, who has written the script for the Epstein bio-pic, The Midas Man

Like others at the unveiling, I have come to understand his brilliance, determination and spirit for adventure despite the personal challenges he faced. With that spirit and acumen he changed the lives of Cilla Black, Gerry Marsden, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Moody Blues and The Fourmost, who were the musicians in his stable alongside The Beatles. Ultimately The Beatles are Brian’s legacy and the statue on Whitechapel cements this. Together they changed music forever.

Brian Epstein and The Beatles

Jewish author David Stark was also in Liverpool to see the statue. He fell in love with The Beatles as a child and in later life was instrumental in getting a plaque mounted for Epstein outside Sutherland House, beside the London Palladium on Argyll Street in London. Brian ran NEMS Enterprise management company from there until his death in 1967.

The unveiling of the statue on August 27 coincided with the date of Epstein’s death at the age of 32. For the legacy committee the choice of date was intentional as they see it as ‘rebirth of Brian Epstein’ in his home town. The return of Liverpool’s most famous Jewish son was marked by a chorus of Beatles songs with the final line of Hey Jude changed to ‘Hey Brian’.






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