Launched in 2019 and suspended due to COVID-19, The Brian Epstein Legacy Project will see a permanent memorial in Liverpool for the man who catapulted The Beatles to global fame. Tony McDonough reports
A campaign is being relaunched to create a lasting memorial in Liverpool to Brian Epstein, the man who is credited with catapulting The Beatles to global success.
Sometimes called the ‘fifth Beatle’, Epstein was born in 1934 and was born into a family of music retailers. He ran the NEMS record shop in Whitechapel. And on November 9, 1961, he made a lunchtime visit to The Cavern Club.
It was a decision that would change the course of rock and roll history. He took on the management of band that would later become the ‘Fab Four’, persuading them to abandon their scruffy look for clean cut identical suits and haircuts.
In addition to the Fab Four, he also nurtured a number of other star performers including Cilla Black, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas, The Chants, The Scaffold and The Moody Blues. He died following an accidental drug overdose in 1967.
The Brian Epstein Legacy Project was originally launched in 2019 was put on hold due to the pandemic. Now resumed, its aim is the creation of a statue of the late legendary music entrepreneur, while additional money that is raised will be dedicated to developing a wider legacy in his memory.
On Friday it announced a new partnership with the US-based Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum – putting the plans on the global stage.
The appeal is currently a third of the way towards an initial £60,000 target for the proposed new statue which will be created by renowned Liverpool sculptor Andy Edwards and sited at a key Liverpool location yet to be revealed.
Generous sums have so far been received from people in more than a dozen countries including the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Italy and France – as well as a substantial anonymous donation. Now it is hoped the appeal will go on to raise a minimum of £100,000, enabling it to further honour Brian’s energy and vision.
While there are dozens of Beatles’ statues and monuments across several continents, there is no lasting tribute to recognise and celebrate the vital part he played in the band’s history, nor how he changed the face and sound of popular music. The Brian Epstein Legacy Project committee includes:
- Cultural campaigner and activist Tom Calderbank.
- Beatles fan Marie Darwin who was part of a group who campaigned for a plaque to be placed on the birthplace of Brian Epstein.
- Beatles historians, researchers and authors Kevin and Julie Roach, and son Robert.
- Larry Sidorczuk, who was the personal assistant to the late Joe Flannery, Brian Epstein’s original business partner and bookings manager.
- Bill Elms, a producer of the smash hit play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, which was staged in Liverpool and London’s West End.
Tom Calderbank, who is leading the project, said: “Following the pause in our campaign due to the pandemic, we’ve now got fresh wind in our sails. Our new partnership with the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum is a major part of that.
“They have helped us revamp our marketing and web presence and injected fresh energy into the project. Watch this space for future announcements.
“In addition, an anonymous donor has given us £10,000, doubling our funds so far. We now need £40,000 to complete the statue. Once completed, however, the sculpture will be only phase one of the wider project.
“Phase two aims to raise at least another £40,000 to establish a musical instrument library, to give access to music to underprivileged young people across the Liverpool city region and help develop the next generation of talent.”
Ralph Kluseman, president of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum, added: “As a lifelong Beatles fan, and a great admirer of Brian Epstein’s vision, drive and determination, I’m really pleased to be connected with the project – and with the dedicated team based in Liverpool.
“Brian needs his legacy to be recognised and we want to help; without him the world would never have been blessed with The Beatles and so much more.”