Monday, April 20, 2009

Beatle People: Alistair Taylor

James Alistair Taylor (21 June 1935 in Runcorn – 9 June 2004 in Chesterfield) was the personal assistant of Brian Epstein who accompanied him to the Cavern Club when he first saw The Beatles play on 9 November 1961. Taylor later became General Manager of Apple Corps for a short period.


Born in Runcorn, Taylor did his National Service in the Royal Air Force and worked in a series of jobs as mover, timber importer and docker in the Liverpool Docks.

The opportunity of his life appears the day he had a job interview with Brian Epstein for a salesman job at NEMS. Brian liked him so much that he decided to offer him a job as his personal assistant in the shop.


Taylor invented the name of Raymond Jones to order Tony Sheridan’s album, because he thought NEMS was losing sales by not stocking the disc:

“The truth is that we were being asked for My Bonnie but no one actually ordered it. Brian would order any record once we had a firm order for it. I thought that we were losing sales and I wrote an order in the book under the name Raymond Jones and, from that moment the legend grew.”
—A. Taylor, The Beatles Book, 1997

The Cavern

Taylor accompanied Epstein to the Cavern Club when he first saw The Beatles play on 9 November 1961. During the show Taylor met The Beatles, and his opinion was "...these four horrible young men on stage, dressed in black leather trousers, black jackets, smoking, drinking and making noise...", but also said "...they were charismatic and exciting" and "I thought they were sensational."

As Brian Epstein’s personal assistant, Taylor witnessed crucial moments in the Beatles career and was present at the signing of the first contract with Brian (which Taylor signed as "In the presence of:").

In 1962, Taylor worked for Pye Records for 15 months, and moved to London (before the Beatles) due to his wife's asthma.

Mr. Fixit

In 1963, Taylor returned to NEMS to work as general manager for £1,000 per annum.

The Beatles named him Mr. Fixit for his ability to find solutions to all the boys' needs. For example:

* Buying cigarettes
* Hiring limousines
* Devising escapes from Beatles' fans after their performances
* Organizing holiday trips
* Acting as consultant to John for the purchase of Dornish Island (Ireland) for £1,550.
* Being the middle-man in the purchase of High Park, the Scottish farm, for Paul, Jane, and Martha
* Renting the Magical Mystery Tour bus
* Resolving the copyright issues around the photographs of famous faces on Peter Blake's cover for Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
* Arrange the money exchange of the unsuccessful buying of the Greek island of Leslo (July 1967).

Inside Apple

In December 1967, shortly after the death of Brian Epstein on 27 August 1967, Lennon asked Taylor to work as General Manager for Apple.

It was during this period that Taylor appeared in the famous advertisement to promote Apple asking for new artists. Designed by Paul, it showed Taylor disguised as a one-man band, and claimed: "This man has talent." The disguise was rented in Soho and Taylor was singing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" when the shot was made. The publication in the New Musical Express brought an avalanche of applicants.

Taylor can be heard on "Revolution 9" apologizing to George Martin and beseeching forgiveness for not bringing him a bottle of claret.

During the rooftop Get Back concert, on 30 January 1969, Alistair was among the people in the street. When Allen Klein arrived at Apple on 3 February, Alistair was sacked along with 16 staff members during one of the first purges by Klein at Apple (8 May). The Beatles did not tell him why.

After the Beatles

Taylor worked in a tea-room, in a factory and in a hotel before his retirement. He has enjoyed participating in Beatles' fan conventions around the world.

In the mid 1990s, Taylor created Mellor Beach Leisure Ltd. Taylor served as the "business development director," promoting a new musical act called SMOKE which featured Matt McKenzie (drums & backing vocals), Jo Wadeson (bass guitar & lead vocals) and Sam Genders (guitar & backing vocals).

In 1998 he appeared in a documentary at the British Arena (TV series), in the episode: The Brian Epstein Story: The Sun Will Shine Tomorrow : Part 1.

Taylor died in his sleep in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on 9 June 2004, after a short bronchial illness.


He was the author of:

* Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered with Martin Robers, Pan Macmillan (April 7, 1988)

* Yesterday: My Life With the Beatles (a re-edition of the last) Movie Publisher Services (July, 1991)

* A Secret History: An Inside Account of The Beatles' Rise and Fall, published in 2003. Blake (December, 2001)

* With the Beatles (a re-edition of the last) John Blake Publishing, Limited (1 September 2003)

Taylor collaborated in his official biography:

* Hello Goodbye: The Story of Mr. Fixit by George Gunby, Yesterday Once More (2001)


* "From Cavern to Rooftop" in which he spoke about his memories with interludes of Beatles music.


He made a series of four audio tapes with the titles of: "From Cavern to Rooftop"; "From Strawberry Fields to Magical Mystery Tour"; "Remembering Brian" and "Inside Apple."


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