Derek Taylor in 1995
Derek Taylor was born in Liverpool in 1932. A local Liverpool
journalist, he worked for the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo,
the News Chronicle, the Sunday Dispatch and the
Sunday Daily Express, and he was columnist and theatre critic for
the Northern Daily Express when he first saw the Beatles on May
30th, 1963 at the Manchester Odeon. In his review the next day he wrote:
"The Liverpool Sound came to Manchester last night, and I thought
it was magnificent... The spectacle of these fresh, cheeky, sharp, young
entertainers in opposition to the shiny-eyed teenage idolaters is as
good as a rejuvenating drug for the jaded adult."
He also later interviewed Brian Epstein, and besides covering Beatles
concerts, he was ghost-writer for a regular column which was billed as
being written by George Harrison. He was a natural choice, therefore, to
be called upon to help Brian Epstein write his autobiography, A
Cellarful of Noise, in 1964.
He shortly thereafter became Brian Epstein's personal assistant,
scriptwriter and Beatles press agent and spent six months travelling the
world with the Beatles. Taking what he learned from Brian and his
Beatles experience, he then moved to Los Angeles and started his own
public relations company in 1965, managing the publicity for bands
including Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Byrds and the Beach Boys. He
also was a co-creator and producer of the historic Monterey Pop Festival
in 1967, the first such event of its kind.
Derek returned to London in 1968 to be the press officer (in-house
publicist) for the newly created Apple Corps, responsible for media
relations for the Beatles and all the artists on the Apple label. During
this time he also assisted John and Yoko in their peace campaign,
becoming, in effect, their propaganda minister, helping to spread their
message to the world's media, and he became forever enshrined in song
when John rhymed "Derek Taylor" with "Norman Mailer" in the song
Give Peace A Chance.
|The Apple Press Conference in
New York in 1968
Derek continued at Apple until he was ousted during the Allen Klein
takeover of Apple in 1970. However, he stayed friends with the Beatles,
particularly George, on whose I, Me, Mine autobiography he
Derek went on to become director of special projects at WEA Records
(the UK amalgam of Warner-Reprise, Electra and Atlantic Records) where
he was responsible for marketing and publicity on a handful of select
artists such as Alice Cooper, America and Carly Simon. Independantly he
also produced records for artists such as Harry Nilson.
He was subsequently appointed Joint Managing Director of Warner Bros.
Records (UK) and then in 1977 he was transferred to Burbank as senior
Vice President of the American parent company. It was while he was in
L.A. that he devoted a lot of time and creativity to the marketing of
the Rutles' first album. Over the years he wrote several books about his
life, the Beatles and the phenomenon of the sixties, including As
Time Goes By, Fifty Years Adrift and It Was Twenty
Years Ago Today.
Derek was lured back to work at Apple in the 1990's to devise and
execute the publicity and marketing strategies for the Live At The
BBC album and then for the entire Anthology project. He
also wrote the liner notes for all the CDs and videos. The success of
his latest campaigns showed that he had lost none of his skills over the
years. After a brave struggle, he died of cancer in September 1997.
In His Own Words
In 1964, Derek Taylor wrote in the liner notes for Beatles For
"The kids of AD 2000 will draw from the music much the same sense
of well being and warmth as we do today. For the magic of the Beatles
is, I suspect, timeless and ageless. It has cut through differences in
race, age and class. It is adored by the world."