Brian Epstein Inducted Into The Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame by Peter Asher
Brian Epstein was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 10, 2014, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The formal title of the award is the Ahmet Ertegun Lifetime Achievement Award.
Brian Epstein's induction was combined with the induction of Rolling Stones manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham.
This video clip created by an attendee - presents the audio (illustrated with visuals) of the induction presentation speech given by manager/producer/musician Peter Asher on that night. Underneath the video clip you will find the verbatim transcript of the speech.
"I am often asked what I think it takes to become a great manager. And my answer, while not necessarily very helpful, is simple and true: a great client. A band who makes brilliant music.
"I am very proud tonight to have been asked to induct the first two managers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, each of whom managed one of the most important ensembles in music history, let alone just rock 'n' roll - and each of whom guided his band from anonymity to global stature - but in very different ways.
"When Brian Epstein first heard and saw the Beatles at the Cavern in 1961 he became a believer. That belief was the force behind his absolute determination to advise, to cajole and to proselytize to the very limit of his powers. That belief remained intact even when every record company turned the Beatles down before he finally got them an audition with George Martin. Brian loved, respected, protected the Beatles and that love never flagged.
"I knew Brian. He was a man of impeccable honesty and exceptional charm and intelligence and he took his responsibilities extremely seriously. His biggest fear was of ever letting the Beatles down in any way whatsoever. He cared very deeply about every detail. He made sure that media access to a Beatle was a special event as was every show they did. And of course he was delighted when the world eventually agreed with him that he had indeed found the best band in the land. Specifically, of course, 73 million Americans agreed on February 9th 1964 when they watched the Ed Sullivan Show. With typical shrewdness and foresight, Brian had negotiated a deal for multiple appearances on the show at a reduced fee, knowing that exposure was more important than a few extra dollars.
"I remember a time when my old duo Peter and Gordon was on the road with the Beatles in 1966 and we were all travelling together on an absurdly luxurious private train which had been built for the Queen. Brian was sitting at the head of a majestic 30-foot-long dining-room table as the train whizzed through the German countryside, surrounded by Beatles and a few close friends... his joy and his well-justified pride in the tour's unprecedented success were palpable. But equally, when things went horribly wrong in the Philippines only a week later (through no fault of Brian's - it's an Imelda Marcos story - you should look it up), he took it very seriously. He was a tormented man. He cared very deeply indeed.
Peter Asher at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony
"I also remember walking with Paul McCartney decades ago to a Rolling Stones club gig in London. Paul was looking forward very much to the show but he did express some jealousy over the fact that Brian made the Beatles wear suits on stage and the Rolling Stones were allowed to wear whatever they liked.
"And of course, the man who allowed that was my second inductee, Andrew Loog Oldham. Andrew was a teenager himself when he first encountered the Stones... Something of a hustler and a manipulator. He had the instinctive understanding of the youth culture of 60s Britain. He was a promotional genius and a master of the media long before anyone even started talking about 'branding' as they do today Aside from the greatness of the Stones' music (I used to go and see them myself once a week in a club called Studio 51 in London every Monday night before they ever made a record and they were amazing!)
"But Andrew also saw what the Stones could become culturally. He brilliantly positioned the 'dangerous' Stones as the cultural antithesis of the 'lovable' Beatles, creating a climate in which the idea of your daughter marrying a Rolling Stone was an horrific prospect - now of course she'd be marrying into the British aristocracy! And let us not forget that Andrew's commitment and creativity extended into the studio as well; he encouraged (as they said) - indeed virtually commanded! - Mick and Keith to write their own songs; he produced the Stones' first five albums. And they were brilliant records.
"So, two disparate, extraordinary and prescient managers for two very different musical groups. Groups parallel only in their intense ambition, their consuming love for the extraordinary and exquisite music which enthralled us all - American rhythm & blues and rock 'n' roll. The greatest cultural innovation of the 20th Century and the reason we're all here tonight.
"Brian of course brilliantly managed other acts as well: Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, Gerry and the Pacemakers and more; he furthermore embraced the Beatles' own musical growth. When they started to experiment, he urged them never to play it safe. And to continue their growth wherever it took them.
"And Andrew went on of course, to found one of the very coolest indie labels of all time, Immediate Records - the early home of Rod Stewart, Fleetwood Mac and The Small Faces.
"Andrew was not able to be with us tonight. And the Epstein family asked me express their thrilled delight. They're only sorry that of course neither Brian's brother Clive, nor his parents Harry & Queenie are alive to witness this celebration.
"But thus it is that with the very greatest pride and ineffable delight, I induct two men who helped create musical history: Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where they so certainly belong.
"Thank you very much."
The Hall of Fame's unprecedented action in combining the presentation of awards to two separate, unrelated inductees in a single, very brief presentation provoked some protests.
Oldham - a good friend of Brian - protested that he and Brian both deserved to be treated like other past inductees in the same category and be inducted individually - and he boycotted the ceremony. The Epstein family also decided not to attend the event.
The 2014 ceremony inducting a total of nine inductees had a duration of five and a half hours. Peter Asher - who was not responsible for the Hall of Fame's decision to combine the two inductions - was given a strict limitation of only five minutes in which to induct both men.