In My Life > Brian Epstein
Their famed manager, Brian Epstein discovered the Beatles when, as manager of a Liverpool record store, he was stumped by a request for a single called "My Bonnie". He didn't have the record in stock, and after doing a little research, discovered who was responsible for the single - Tony Sheridan with the Beatles.
At that point in their career, the Beatles were a leather-clad rock cover band who were known for drinking and spewing obsenities on stage. Epstein persuaded them that they needed him as a manager and, after John agreed, completely changed their image. He made them clean up their stage act and wear suits everywhere they went. He promised they'd be bigger than Elvis.
Epstein's next job was to land them a recording contract. He managed to get them an audition with Decca Records on New Year's Day, but after performing 15 songs they were told by an executive there that "guitar bands were on their way out". After several more rejections he, almost in desparation, landed them audition with George Martin, director of EMI's Parlophone Records - a label known for comedy albums.
The audition was a success, although Martin had Epstein kick drummer Pete Best out of the band, proclaiming him "not good". They recorded "Love Me Do" immediately, which made no significant impact on the charts, then "Please Please Me", which was their first number one. The rest was history.
While the Beatles were in India on a meditation tour with the Maharishi, Brian Epstein was found dead in his home. It was never determined if his death was a suicide or an accident; the coroner's report ruled an accidental death but it was known that Epstein was tortured by the Beatles (especially John's) indifference and, at times, distance from him because of his homosexuality - as well as society's (he suffered severe beatings at times). He was also becoming estranged from the band due to bad business deals, notably the US distributors license with Capitol records, and seemingly turning the Beatles into a franchise themselves.
A recent A&E biography piece on Epstein stated that he had committed suicide. Although it had been stated many times before, it was an outrage to friends and fans of Epstein and the Beatles, and a boycott ensued.
For more on Brian Epstein and his pre-Beatles life, click here.