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Brian Epstein Said He Would ‘Never Forgive’ Himself for Putting The Beatles in Danger

In 1966, The Beatles and their manager, Brian Epstein, embarked on a tour of West Germany, Japan, and the Philippines. After the band turned down an invite to appear at the presidential palace in Manila, the tone of the tour shifted. The band faced immense backlash throughout the country and they nervously departed. As their flight took off, Epstein said he would never forgive himself for putting the band in that position.

The Beatles angered many people in the Philippines
Just before The Beatles left Tokyo for Manila, they received an invitation from Imelda Marcos, the First Lady of the Philippines. She planned to honor their appearances in the country by hosting the band and two hundred children at the presidential palace. At the time, though, the band’s policy was to decline these types of invitations. Their refusal sparked national outrage.

“The concerts went over well, but by the time we got back to the hotel, it was all over TV that The Beatles had snubbed hundreds of orphans not showing up at Mrs. Marcos’s event,” Peter Brown explained in the book he co-authored with Steven Gaines, All You Need Is Love: The Beatles in Their Own Words. “Brian offered to go on Manila TV and apologize for the misunderstanding and take the blame, but somehow the broadcast was disrupted and he couldn’t be heard.”

As news spread, hotel staff behaved coldly towards them and police officers refused to escort them to the airport.

Brian Epstein was angry with himself for the way people turned on The Beatles
In spite of the obstacles in their path, the band made it to the airport on time. There, a crowd of people had gathered to shout at the band.

“Above us was a balcony filled with angry people shaking their fists, shouting, ‘Beatles go home!’ and spitting on us,” Brown said. “We didn’t say anything, we were so terrified.”

Finally, they boarded the plane, where everyone collapsed in relief. Epstein seemed particularly shaken.

“When they finally let us on the plane, Brian was sitting in a window seat, perspiring heavily,” Brown recalled. “‘I’ll never forgive myself,’ he said to me. ‘I put the boys in danger.’”

Brian Epstein was still sad when The Beatles decided to stop touring
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While this was a particularly stressful tour experience, the band faced chaos everywhere they traveled. Epstein had to shepherd them through crowds, natural disasters, and scandal. The band was relieved when they stopped touring, but Epstein felt lost.

“During that last show in San Francisco, Brian was very sad and almost pathetic,” Nat Weiss, a lawyer for the band, said in The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “It was the first time I’d ever seen him pathetic. He suddenly said, ‘What do I do now? What happens to my life? That’s it. Should I go back to school and learn something else?’”

After his moment of despondency passed, he realized the band still needed a manager. He remained with them until his death in 1967.

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