Allan Williams, Beatles’ First Manager, Dies at 86

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Allan WIlliams, the Beatles’ first manager, in front of the Liverpool club he created in 1958 (photo from the Jacaranda’s Facebook page)

Allan Williams, who played an important role in the very early career of The Beatles, has died at age 86, according to an article in the Liverpool Echo. As the first manager and booking agent of the nascent rock and roll band, it was Williams who took the Beatles to Hamburg, Germany, in 1960, where they gained much experience by playing multiple sets per night.

Born March 17, 1930, in Liverpool, Williams was 28 when he leased a former watch repair shop in Liverpool and converted it into a nightclub called the Jacaranda. The young Beatles performed at the club in 1960. The Jacaranda’s Facebook page today posted the following:

“Today is one of the saddest days in our history.

The Jacaranda’s original owner and the man who discovered The Beatles, Allan Williams, has sadly passed away at the age of 86.

All of our thoughts and wishes go to his family and his wife Beryl.

His legacy has allowed us to remain at the heart of the Liverpool music scene for almost 60 years and his memory will live on through every band that plays our famous stage.

Allan, you will be missed.”

The Beatles (from right to left: Pete Best, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Stuart Sutcliffe) with Allan Williams (bearded, at far left) in August 1960. Also pictured are Beryl Williams (wife of Allan, second from left) and, seated between Beryl and Stuart, calypso singer Lord Woodbine. (John Lennon is not in photo.)

In May 1960, Williams took on the band’s management and arranged for their residency in Hamburg. That August, with Pete Best newly installed as the group’s drummer, Williams drove the musicians to the German city, where they not only honed their chops but experienced a lifestyle that was alien to them at home.

Related: The Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week is released on DVD

Williams was relieved of his duties in 1961 over an argument having to do with his percentage of the financial take. He reportedly cautioned Brian Epstein, who next assumed the managerial duties, to stay away from the Beatles as they’d be nothing but trouble.

In 1975, Williams published his memoir, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away. He also arranged for the release of a vintage club recording as Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962. Williams often appeared at Beatles conventions to speak about his days with the group.

Listen to the Beatles perform “Mr. Moonlight” at the Star-Club in Hamburg

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  1. Beatle Steve
    #1 Beatle Steve 30 December, 2016, 19:55

    The Beatles stint in Hamburg was critical to their progression as a band, without Allan, who knows if they would have gone to Germany, play long sets … they blossomed.

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