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By Posted on 0 15

Production on the Sonar Entertainment series, based on the graphic novel by Vivek J. Tivary, is still months off and details as to where it will shoot are scant, but Jenna Santoianni, Sonar’s executive VP of television series and a “Fifth Beatle” executive producer, offered a glimpse at plans for the limited series. Sonar developed the property and set it up at Bravo last month.

“I think Vivek has done an amazing job in adapting his graphic novel to the television script,” Santoianni tells Variety. “And from the script, people are going to get the true life story of Brian Epstein and really feel that he was brilliant yet was a bit of a tortured dreamer and get the early look at Brian Epstein’s discovering the band in the Cavern Club in Liverpool and get a sense of how he both nurtured and protected them, and really guided their careers to worldwide success. We’re going to explore that he was a gay Jewish man in 1960s England, which wasn’t a popular thing to be at that time considering that homosexuality was a felony and that he’s an outsider who really struggled to overcome a lot of odds. And at the same time we’re seeing Brian Epstein overcome his own personal struggles, we’re seeing the Fab Four rise to fame really because of the potential he saw in them.”
The project is also notable for having secured rights to the music of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Santoianni said she couldn’t reveal which songs would be used yet, though “they’re very related to the story and the music is going to be a very organic part of the storytelling. I think what Vivek said in securing those music rights is very special and those were not easy to get.”

Santoianni said television was a good fit for “Fifth Beatle” because it allows for a longer storytelling format. The interest in Epstein’s story is a sign of how much the market for television content has expanded.

“There are a lot of subject areas and formats that used to be considered not suitable for television or that you couldn’t make,” she said. “And part of that was that the budgets weren’t there. And the wealth of channels and programmers that we have today weren’t there. Programmers would say, ‘You couldn’t do period pieces. You couldn’t do things that had a ton of music involved or production numbers. Audiences wanted to see stories about America.”But things have changed. “The beauty of television is that we don’t have to resolve our characters’ issues or stories in a two-hour movie,” she said. “We get to embrace our characters for their flaws and for their personalities and spend a lot of time with them. And we don’t have to say goodbye to them after two hours.”

The Epstein biopic series was a natural attraction for a longtime Beatles fan who says she was instilled with love of their music by her parents. “The Beatles mean a lot to me,” Santoianni said. “I grew up in Los Angeles listening on the weekends to (radio program) “Breakfast With the Beatles.”
She looks at the entire project as a real accomplishment. “To be able to help (Vivek) take the graphic novel and sell it as a television show is really special and meaningful,” Santoianni said. “It’s a great honor to be able to work with someone on adapting their own work. And it’s been a really great and charmed experience. This is one of the most beautiful graphic novels I’ve even seen.”


By Posted on 0 , 11

The Liverpudlian who put the Beatles in suits, landed them a record deal with Parlophone, and brought to them to “The Ed Sullivan Show” is getting the biopic treatment from Bravo.

Bravo is developing a limited series based on the life of Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager who helped steer them to “the toppermost of the poppermost” from the early 1960s until his death in August 1967 at the age of 32. Produced by Universal Cable Productions and Sonar Entertainment, the project is based on “The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story,” the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel penned by Vivek J. Tiwary with art by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker. Tiwary will pen the series adaptation and serve as executive producer along with Leopoldo Gout. Bravo said the project has secured access to the Lennon-McCartney song catalog for use in the series.
Epstein is an enigmatic figure in the history of the legendary band. He struggled with internal and external demons and discrimination as a Jewish, closeted gay man living at a time when homosexuality was a felony in Britain. Epstein famously became interested in the local Liverpool band when patrons of his family’s music store began asking for a recording of “My Bonnie” that the Beatles cut with singer Tony Sheridan during one of the band’s stints playing clubs in Hamburg. As the legend goes, Epstein went to see four leather-clad lads — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best (before Ringo Starr took over on drums) — at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and was impressed by their sound and the crowd’s enthusiasm. Without any prior experience in artist management, Epstein signed the band.
History has judged Epstein kindly for ignoring the assertion of a London record company executive that “groups with guitars are on the way out” while he was shopping a Beatles demo reel to land a recording contract. He finally got his “yes” from producer George Martin of EMI’s Parlophone imprint in 1962. Within months, Beatlemania ensued.

Epstein published a memoir, “A Cellarful of Noise,” in 1964. But his role as manager diminished after the band opted to end its grueling schedule of concert tours in 1966. By many historical accounts, Epstein was depressed at the time of his death and there has long been speculation that the overdose was not accidental. His death came about two months after the release of the Beatles’ landmark album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”



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It was the summer of 1963 and a cultural earthquake was resetting the foundations of British popular music. And from being a place usually more associated with breeding comedians, the city of Liverpool had overnight become the capital of pop.

The Beatles had started it with No.1 hits From Me To You and She Loves You, but then right behind them came Gerry and the Pacemakers’ How Do You Do It? and I Like It — followed by Billy J Kramer’s Do You Want To Know A Secret? and Bad To Me.

 1 John Lennon 2 Ringo Starr 3 George Harrison 4 Paul McCartney 5 Gerry Marsden 6 Freddie Marsden 7 John ‘Les’ Chadwick 8 Les Maguire 9 Robin MacDonald 10 Mike Maxfield 11 Billy J. Kramer 12 Ray Jones 13 Tony Mansfield 14 Brian Epstein

Six months earlier, when these 13 young men were still following each other on stage at the tiny Cavern Club in Liverpool, to have imagined that such success could happen would have seemed lunatic.
Something was happening right across the country in those early Sixties days. Not only in music and not only in Liverpool.
Brian Samuel Epstein (19 September 1934 – 27 August 1967), was an English music entrepreneur, best known for being the manager of The Beatles
Brian made the Sixties swing by discovering the best of Mersyside from the Beatles to Gerry and the Pacemakers. Just four years later he would die from a drugs overdose.

What happened to them?

1 John Lennon, murdered in Manhattan, New York, aged 40, December 1980.

2 Ringo Starr, 77, has just played Las Vegas after releasing his latest album, Give More Love, last month.

3 George Harrison, died aged 58 from lung cancer in Beverly Hills, California, in November 2001.

4 Paul McCartney, 75, played Brazil last night during his current world tour.

5 Gerry Marsden, 75, lead singer/guitarist with Gerry and the Pacemakers, is currently on a farewell UK tour.

He had No. 1 hits (all 1963) with How Do You Do It?, I Like It and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Ferry Cross The Mersey reached No. 8 in 1964.

Marsden made a brief return to No.1 in 1985 with a superstar recording of You’ll Never Walk Alone to benefit victims of the Bradford City stadium fire. The Pacemakers disbanded in 1966 but reformed in 1974 with a new line-up.

He was awarded the MBE in 2003 (the same year he underwent a triple heart by-pass), and has since been given the Freedom of the City of Liverpool. Describes Lennon as his ‘best pal’ and regretted they never wrote together.

Marsden is a lifelong fan of Liverpool Football Club and You’ll Never Walk Alone has been sung at almost every home game since being adopted by the Kop in 1963. He performed it at Wembley at the 1989 FA Cup final in honour of fans who had died at Hillsborough the previous month.

He has been married to wife Pauline for 27 years and has two daughters and a grandson. Lives on The Wirral in Merseyside.

6 Freddie Marsden, died aged 66 in 2006 in Southport, Lancashire. He was the brother of Gerry Marsden and played drums for Gerry and the Pacemakers.

He was touted as a possible replacement for the Fab Four’s first drummer, Pete Best, who was sacked in 1962, but Freddie countered: ‘That’s rubbish. Look at my high forehead. I could never have had a Beatle haircut for a start.’

After the group broke up, he became a telephone operator on £14 a week, then joined the Civil Service. He later opened a driving school (called Pacemakers). Once asked if he still had his drums, he said: ‘No, I got rid of them. They took up too much space in the garage.’ He was married to Margaret, with a son and daughter.

7 John ‘Les’ Chadwick, 74, Pacemakers’ bassist. He stayed with the group until their break-up in 1966, then set up a garage business with fellow Pacemaker Les Maguire and moved to Australia, where he opened an employment agency in Sydney.

8 Les Maguire, 75, Pacemakers’ keyboard player. After the group broke up, he briefly fronted the Mississippi blues band, Hog Owl in 1970, and teamed up with the Pacemakers for occasional reunion performances. He lives in Formby, Merseyside.

9 Robin MacDonald, died in 2015, aged 72. He was founder, guitarist and bassist of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Originally from Manchester, the band began as The Dakotas before becoming Liverpudlian singer Billy J. Kramer’s backing band, at manager Brian Epstein’s request.

Hits with Billy J. Kramer include Do You Want To Know A Secret, Bad To Me, I’ll Keep You Satisfied and From A Window — all penned by Lennon and McCartney.

The band broke up in 1967 but reformed 20 years later. When the original Dakotas split, MacDonald joined Engelbert Humperdinck’s backing band and supported Frank Sinatra. Although no longer involved in music, his daughter Sarah Mac is a singer/songwriter.

10 Mike Maxfield, 73, songwriter/guitarist with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. He left the band in 1965 but rejoined 20 years later. Despite suffering a stroke in 2004, Maxfield worked on TV shows in America, where he still lives.

11 Billy J. Kramer (William Ashton), 74, lead singer of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Still making music and performing across the world. In 2013 he released the CD I Won The Fight. He says: ‘I’m not planning on retiring.’ He lives with his second wife in America.

12 Ray Jones, bassist with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, died in 2000, aged 60, of a heart attack. He left the band after a row over money with Epstein. He joined other bands before quitting music to work as a psychiatric nurse and then as a computer instructor for the handicapped.

13 Tony Mansfield (Anthony Bookbinder), 74, drummer with Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. Brother of singer Elkie Brooks, he left music in 1999 for a career in finance and lives in Manchester.

14 Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. He died of an accidental drugs overdose aged 32 in 1967. After his death, Paul McCartney said: ‘If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian.’


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#PaulMcCartney‏ account @PaulMcCartney
Happy Birthday, Eppy




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Brian Samuel Epstein (19 September 1934 – 27 August 1967) was who managed the Beatles. Epstein first discovered the Beatles in November 1961 during a lunchtime performance at The Cavern Club. He was instantly impressed and saw great potential in the group. Epstein was rejected by nearly all major recording companies in London, until he secured a meeting with George Martin, head of EMI’s Parlophone label. In May 1962, Martin agreed to sign the Beatles, partly because of Epstein’s conviction that the group would become internationally famous. The Beatles’ early success has been attributed to Epstein’s management style, and the band trusted him without hesitation. In addition to handling the Beatles’ business affairs, Epstein often stepped in to mediate personal disputes within the group. In 1997, Paul McCartney said, “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian.”

The predominant narrative of Beatles history gives insufficient credit to the role Epstein played in shaping the group’s image and preparing them for international adulation. He dressed them in tailored suits; fostered their songwriting; In the words of Beatles producer George Martin, he “gave them style, taste, and charm.” As Vivek Tiwary put it in The Fifth Beatle, his illustrated novel about Epstein, the manager “played the business as his instrument.” And he excelled in the role: “Brian was a passionate man who would not take ‘no’ for an answer on behalf of his lads, and that is how we got to hear the Beatles’ music,” said Andrew Loog Oldham, the Rolling Stones’ former manager, in a 2000 interview with rock journalist Harvey Kubernik.
Brian Epstein helped convince the world that the Beatles were the most special group that rock had ever known, even while he labored under the specter of a law that could ruin him at any moment.
“In many ways, the whole world is living out this visionary dream that Epstein had,” says Rolling Stone columnist Rob Sheffield, who recently released his acclaimed book Dreaming the Beatles. And yet, Sheffield observes, “The whole terror of the law that he had to live with, that nobody knew about in his lifetime and that I didn’t know about until recent years—he never knew what it was like to live his life without that.”