One of pop music's most famous businessman is honored in London.
A Blue Plaque was unveiled yesterday (Sunday), by U.K. body the Heritage Foundation, in honor of former Beatles manager Brian Epstein, on the site that housed the London offices of his NEMS Enterprises company from 1964 until shortly after his death in 1967.
Blue Plaques are prestigious, permanent historical markers, seen far and wide across the U.K., to commemorate a link between a local area and a notable person or event. Epstein’s recognition, just over two months before what would have been his 80th birthday, is at Sutherland House, 5/6 Argyll Street, just south of Oxford Circus and next door to the London Palladium.
Epstein was also recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a new play, ‘Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles’ will open at London’s Leicester Square Theatre on August 5. A biopic based on his life is also in development.
"I know Brian would have been very proud to think that he had earned a Blue Plaque in the West End of London,” said Sir Paul McCartney in a message of goodwill. “He played a very important role in guiding the career of us Beatles and more than that he was a lovely man whose friendship we all valued and who I will always remember with great fondness. Congratulations Brian. Love from Paul McCartney."
The event was hosted by actress Vicki Michelle, president of the Heritage Foundation, with a keynote speech by humorist and producer Martin Lewis, who runs the official Epstein website and secured the impresario’s Hall of Fame induction after a 15-year campaign.
Also present were Epstein’s friend and NEMS’ chief executive in the Sutherland House years, Geoffrey Ellis; NEMS employee and later Apple Records CEO Tony Bramwell; Beatles authors and authorities Bill Harry and Mark Lewisohn; Epstein’s former personal and business partner in Liverpool, Joe Flannery; Rod Davis of the Quarrymen, John Lennon’s pre-Beatles skiffle group; pop star Adam Ant, whose mother was McCartney's cleaner in the 1960s; and Andrew Lancel, who will play Epstein in the upcoming Leicester Square Theatre production.
The plaque is sponsored by industry songwriting and publishing tipsheet SongLink International, whose editor David Stark commented: "As a lifelong Beatles fan I'm delighted to be involved with this official commemoration of Britain's most famous music manager. It's totally fitting that Brian should be honored in his 80th birthday year, and at one of the most prestigious show business locations in the world, right next door to the London Palladium, where his clients The Beatles, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers and Billy J. Kramer all performed.
“I'm delighted that the owners of Sutherland House have given permission and their blessing for the plaque to be erected, and I’m sure it will give pleasure and be of enormous interest to the hundreds of tourists and music aficionados who pass by the site each day, not realizing this was the place where so much of the Fab Four's busy day-to-day schedule was meticulously planned by Brian and his staff.”
Among other music celebrities previously commemorated with Blue Plaques are John Lennon, outside his childhood home of 251 Menlove Avenue in Liverpool and Keith Moon, outside the longtime location of the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, London.