The death of Brian Epstein hit everybody, especially the Beatles, with all the impact of an atomic explosion. The man who had master-minded the boys into the position of the greatest thing in popular music was dead . . . and the newspapers rallied to give their tributes.
Here are just a few:
"Brian Epstein, the quiet Svengali of world pop. The man who took four ordinary Scouse lads and made them so extraordinary . . . I'm not too sure whether this rather gentle man invented the Beatles or the Beatles made him. But what is certain, though, is that never since the invention of the gramophone has one man caused so much swinging joy throughout the world of the young". This story was headlined "Seven Short Years To Live A Legend" . . . Fergus Cashin, Daily Sketch.
"In the world he made for himself he was a God, pleased while he was creating, exhausted and beset by personal doubts when he had created . . . Occasionally the joy of knowing he was no longer a failure in the public eye welled up in him." Alix Palmer, Daily Express.
"He was the man behind a marvel . . . He consciously created the image of innocence, cleanliness and respectability which won over the mums and dads as well as the kids. He understood the young people of the 60's . . ." --Michael Cable, Daily Mail.
Headline: The Fifth Beatle. "He wanted to make you see that the Beatles were close friends, not just business acquaintances. For the Beatles are not just a money-making machine, they are successful as artists. Success didn't change Brian Epstein".--Henry Fielding, The Sun.
"He was the man who picked up the first loose threads and wove them into a design for living . . . and so created a country of new ideas, where the young were as important as the middle-aged, finding their own identity, changing it from month to month, wearing an army uniform one day, a flowered shirt the next . . ." Alix Palmer and Judith Simons, Daily Express.
"The news of Brian's death is so awful that I scarcely know what to say. That any great man, so young and so talented, should lose his life is tragic. But it means more when the man is someone so close. He was a close friend and adviser who has guided every step of my career." --Cilla Black.
"Of course it is a big personal loss. The thing is not to get too selfish about it--if you get depressed, it is a form of self-pity, because you are sympathising with your own loss. Brian's spirit is still here and it will always be here". --Ringo Starr.
"Brian has died only in body and his spirit will always be working with us. His power and force were everything and his power and his force linger on. When we were on the right track he knew it, and when we were on the wrong track he told us so and he was usually right." --John Lennon, in Disc.
"He was one of the most honest men I've ever met. He always kept his word and was tremendously loyal to the people whom he admired or respected." --Norrie Drummond, New Musical Express.
"Brian wanted to know all about life, as we all did. He was one of us. You can't pay tribute to him in words" --George Harrison, in the Daily Express.
"The man who revolutionised pop music in our time" --New York Times.
And so the tributes roll in--and that's not counting the headlines which paid their own respects to a man who earned his own respect the hard way.
Brian Epstein is dead, but the scene he left behind lives on . . .