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Beatles' first manager Allan Williams

on Thu Jan 12 2017, 15:17
Funeral for Beatles' first manager Allan Williams

Friends and family gathered to pay their respects to the man credited with discovering the Beatles and who became the band's first manager.
Allan Williams, who worked with the Beatles from 1960 to 1961, died in December aged 86.
He arranged the band's breakthrough residency in Hamburg, where their future development was shaped, but parted company with them a year later.
His funeral was held at Liverpool Parish Church earlier

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Re: Beatles' first manager Allan Williams

on Thu Jan 12 2017, 18:54

The Beatles wrote to Allan Williams informing him that they were getting their own bookings in Hamburg with Peter Eckhorn, owner of the Top Ten club, effectively bypassing Williams and refusing to pay his commission. Williams was furious and he wrote back demanding payment or he would blacklist them so that they would be unable to get work in England. This is an extract from Williams letter dated April 20 1961: >

I am distressed to hear that you are refusing to pay my commission as agreed in our contract. May I remind you, seeing you are getting more than a little swollen-headed, you would not have had a smell of Hamburg if I had not made the contacts. By law it is illegal for anyone under contract to make another contract through the first contract. Remember in your last contract you agreed not to play 30 weeks from terminating that contract.
So you see, I am annoyed you should welsh(sic) out of your agreed contract. If you decide not to pay then I shall have you out of Germany within two weeks through several legal ways and don't think I am bluffing. I will submit a full report of your behaviour to The Agency Members Association, of which I and every other agency in England is a member, to protect agents from artistes who misbehave and welsh out of agreements. Don't underestimate my ability to carry out what I have written.
The agency that is bringing Ray Charles over to England in September are planning a tour. I thought you could tour with him but unless you honour your agreement you can forget it, I will fix it for Rory Storm. It will be very lucrative and prestigious, check your music papers.
Look lads, I can do more for you than all the rest in Liverpool, so I think you are mad to try and make good with the Liverpool crowd who only want you to play for themselves. I dont want to fall out with you but I can't abide anybody who does not honour their word, I could have sworn you were all decent lads.


The Beatles did not pay the commission to Williams, the disputed amount was £9 (about £250 in today's money). Their debt was eventually paid by Brian Epstein when he took over as manager, so he effectively bought the Beatles for £9! Brian Epstein met The Beatles in November 1961, he asked Williams about them and he warned Epstein not to touch them. They signed with Brian Epstein in January 1962, he took a 25% cut for commission, which seems a lot (Williams only took 10%) The Beatles agreed to pay it, although he did double their performance fee with immediate effect.

Epstein had a lot of confidence in The Beatles, although an interesting fact is that although they signed a contract with him, he didn't sign it himself. So he had covered himself; if a problem arose he had their signatures but they didn't have his. The Beatles didn't seek legal representation and never picked up this omission and it didn't come to light until Epstein's death.
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