A five-week campaign has been launched to raise funds to create a statue to honour the man fondly known as the Fifth Beatle, Brian Epstein.
The Brian Epstein Statue Project was officially launched on Thursday 19 September – The date marking Brian Epstein’s 85th Birthday.
The special announcement was made at the Epstein Theatre, located on Hanover Street in Liverpool city centre, to an audience of Press and special guests, including Merseybeat singer Beryl Marsden, Peter Hooton from Liverpool band The Farm, and the Lord Mayor Of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery.
The Beatles’ former manager, Liverpool-born Brian Epstein, is credited with catapulting the Fab Four to global success. Yet there is no lasting tribute to recognise and celebrate the vital role he played in the band’s history, nor how he changed the face and sound of popular music. Brian Epstein made history.
However, a small group of dedicated campaigners are working tirelessly to redress the balance and create a world first with a statue of Brian Epstein funded by a five-week Crowdfunder campaign – a minimum target of £60,000 has been set.
The location for the statue has not yet been confirmed, however the committee welcomes suggestions from interested parties via social media as to where they would like to see the statue sited.
Brian Epstein owned NEMS record shop in Whitechapel. It was a lunchtime visit to The Cavern Club in the heart of Liverpool to watch a four-piece rock and roll band on 9 November 1961 which would change the course of history. Music and life in Liverpool would never be the same again. That band was The Beatles – who Brian would go on to manage.
In addition to managing The Beatles, Brian Epstein is credited to creating and developing the Merseybeat movement. He also signed a number of other performers including Cilla Black, Gerry And The Pacemakers, Billy J Kramer And The Dakotas, and The Moody Blues.
Messages of support from Brian’s Epstein family, and the Willis family representing the late Cilla Black, were also read out at the launch.
The Epstein family said: “Brian was a modest and reserved man, but as a family we are in no doubt that he, his brother Clive, and his parents Queenie and Harry, would have been immensely touched by the consistent efforts to pay tribute to his contribution to The Beatles and the city of Liverpool.”
The Willis family added: “Cilla had one true love, her Bobby – but Brian came a close second. He moulded and shaped her career, which helped her become one of the UK’s biggest entertainers. Throughout her life, Cilla kept a picture of Brian on her desk and never forgot his commitment to her.”
The Brian Epstein Statue Project committee have wealth of experience and expertise across public art, publishing, theatre production, and the local Beatles industry. Collectively they have a strong desire to ensure the project is successful and are passionate that a lasting tribute to Brian and all he achieved in the history of popular music should be created in Liverpool to celebrate his role in history.
The committee includes cultural campaigner and activist Tom Calderbank; Beatles’ fan Marie Darwin who was part of a group who campaigned for a plaque to be placed on the birthplace of Brian Epstein; Beatles’ historians, researchers and authors Kevin and Julie Roach, and son Robert; Larry Sidorczuk was the personal assistant to the late Joe Flannery, Brian Epstein’s original business partner and bookings manager; and Bill Elms, a producer of the smash hit play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, which was staged in Liverpool and London’s West End.
Author Kevin Roach recently published his latest book, Brian Epstein And The Beatles 1964: The Year That Changed The World – proceeds of which will be donated to The Brian Epstein Statue Project.
Tom Calderbank is leading the project, he explained: “We’re thrilled and very excited to unveil plans for a long overdue statue of the ‘Fifth Beatle’ Brian Epstein in his hometown of Liverpool. We aim to create a unique, beautiful and lasting sculptural tribute to Brian – a world first for one of the world’s great creative individuals.
“Brian changed the music world in an extraordinary way. He was instrumental in the development of Liverpool’s music scene, most notably with the Fab Four. His legacy is also largely unseen, even though his impact on popular culture is incalculable – Brain needs this memorial, he needs to stay amongst us and really does deserve this recognition. By raising the funds together, we will celebrate Brian together.”
Sculptor Andy Edwards has already been commissioned. Andy is best known for his iconic sculpture of The Beatles located at Pier Head Liverpool, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Andy sculpted The Truce, which can be found in the grounds of St Luke’s Church, depicting the historic moment on Christmas Day 1914 during the First World War ceasefire when a game of football spontaneously broke out between British and German soldiers. He also co-sculpted the statue of Cilla Black on Mathew Street.
Andy has produced a clay bust and maquette to show how the 7ft sculpture of Brian will look. Visitors to the recent International Beatleweek in Liverpool were given a sneak preview.
Sculptor Andy Edwards commented: “After spending a lot of time staring at Brian Epstein’s face, I see before anything else, the charm and feeling in his eyes. I see a smile born of trust. A smile that elicits a smile back, an exchange of confidence and encouragement in what might happen. This is what I want to capture in Brian’s sculpture to share with everyone who will see it.
“At the unveiling of the statues of The Beatles, I made a silent dedication in my mind. This is for all those who love The Beatles – and for all those who don’t. The work gives a gateway to the city, just as Cilla does to The Cavern. An added statue of Brian gives the third dimension to that straight line. No longer signposts of where to go, but a feeling of mapping out in the mind and following in their footsteps. The striding visual link to the Waterfront creates more than a tribute but takes you into the bigger story of what has been achieved. We will be creating something equally as special and fitting for Brian.”
The project also has the support of Liverpool-born actor Andrew Lancel, who has appeared in The Bill and Coronation Street. He appears in a short video supporting the statue project, which was played at the launch.
Andrew portrayed Brian in the smash hit play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles on stage in Liverpool and London’s West End to critical acclaim. He later played Brian again in the recent tour of Cilla The Musical – and is a huge advocate of recognising all Brian achieved.
Andrew Lancel added: “Brian left us far too soon, he was 32-years-old. His contribution to the music industry, The Beatles, Liverpool and the world really was incomparable. And I can think of few people more worthy of a sculptural tribute, a statue in his home city. By making a donation to the Crowdfunding project, you have the chance to share the story of Brian and The Beatles. You can be a part of it by saying, I had a hand in making it.
“Brian’s legacy continues, he’s been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame. There has been movies, plays and musicals about him. But this lasts forever. It’s very special and beautiful. I’m so proud to have played Brian, and I’m very proud to support this project. To quote a line from the play Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles – Brian is, was, and always will be, one of us.”
Donations can be made by visiting www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-brian-epstein-statue-project