Somewhere, along the mad and transcendental road of rock and roll, the tale of one of its greatest architects, masters and casualties has been lost. Somewhere, between the gyrating hips and rebel snarl of Elvis and the shallow, uninspired gushiness of emo, music history has forgotten one of its first antiheroes. Somewhere, somehow, the man responsible for turning popular culture, music and several generations, worldwide, upside-down—and influencing every band since—has been left for dead and buried, destined for obscurity but for a growing legion of fans-turned-archeologists.
The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by award-winning Broadway theater producer Vivek J. Tiwary (A Raisin in the Sun, American Idiot, The Addams Family) and artist Andrew C. Robinson, resurrects the seminal Beatles manager, breathing life, color, validity, and resounding beauty, into his short, intense, often-overlooked life and his contributions shaping and molding the four young lads from Liverpool. The Beatles’ immortality, as documented in this meticulously researched, masterfully written and gorgeously illustrated graphic novel, is Epstein’s legacy, as are the boundless torrents of love, hope and optimism shared through their songs.
It was Epstein who shed their leather jackets for matching tailored suits. It was Epstein who got them a record contract. Epstein who landed them in America and on The Ed Sullivan Show. Epstein who invented their synchronized bow, comforted and cared for them, transported them from The Cavern Club’s basement to the center of the world’s stage.
Through The Fifth Beatle, we hear his thoughts, see his struggles, feel his jubilation and his pain—Jewish and gay, yearning for acceptance and self-worth. Visionary, businessman, family man, son, friend, tortured soul, matador—we see Epstein’s genius, his passion, his struggles and his flaws.
This must-read work of art—a “labor of love” for Tiwary, which took 20 years to realize—is a worthy tribute, historical account, comic, biography, love letter and song to a man who shaped and molded music, and life itself.