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6th July 1964: George Harrison (1943 - 2001), John Lennon (1940 - 1980), Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of the Liverpudlian pop group The Beatles with their manager Brian Epstein (1935 - 1967) at the premiere of their first film 'A Hard Day's Night'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Beatles (and Cynthia Lennon) Didn’t Know That Their Manager, Brian Epstein, Was Gay

Brian Epstein gave The Beatles “symbolic discipline,” according to Paul McCartney. He served as their manager for several years, even if most fans didn’t know he was gay until after his death.

Brian Epstein acted as the manager for the Beatles

George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon created music as the Quarrymen, later becoming the Beatles and adding Ringo Starr to their lineup. Brian Epstein functioned as the band’s manager, even if he didn’t have much experience.

“I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor, actually onstage,” Epstein said in one The Beatles: Get Back video clip. “And it was there that, really, it all started.”

Epstein remained the band’s manager until he died in 1967 of an accidental drug overdose. The Beatles continued to make music even if it wasn’t “the same” without his guidance, according to George Harrison.

“I mean, we’ve been very negative since Mr. Epstein passed away,” McCartney said. “And that’s why all of us, in turn, have been sick of the group. It’s [the] discipline we lack. We’ve never had discipline. We’ve had a sort of slight, symbolic discipline. Like Mr. Epstein.”

“You know, and he sort of said, ‘get suits on’ and we did… we were always fighting that discipline a bit,” he continued. “There really is no one there now to say ‘do it.’ Whereas there always used to be. Daddy’s gone away now, and we’re on our own at the holiday camp.”

The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, was gay

As the business owner of a local record store, the Beatles piqued Epstein’s interest after several patrons asked for their music. After seeing them perform live, he asked to be their manager, according to Cynthia Lennon’s 2005 memoir John.

He helped the Beatles book larger venues and stayed firm on their pay rate. It wasn’t until after his death that he was publicly identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, although it was an “open secret” among friends and business associates.

“It didn’t occur to us then that Brian was gay,” Cynthia Lennon wrote. “Life must have been difficult for him. In the early sixties if you were gay you kept it secret. Gays were called ‘queers’ and were disliked and distrusted by many — there was a huge amount of prejudice against them.”

“Some accounts of that time claim that Brian was in love with John, which was why he wanted to manage the Beatles. I don’t believe this for a second,” she continued. “They had a good relationship, but Brian cared for all the boys and he wanted success for the group because he thought they had something unique.”

Cynthia Lennon said that at the time, John Lennon was ‘horrified’ by the idea of homosexuality

After her husband’s death, Yoko Ono worked with the LGBTQ community and, according to ET Online, said that John Lennon had a “desire” to sleep with men. According to Cynthia Lennon, though, there was no affair between Lennon and Epstein.

“John was a hundred percent heterosexual and, like most lads at that time, horrified by the idea of homosexuality,” Cynthia Lennon wrote in the same memoir.

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