Alan Williams, The Beatles‘ first manager, has died at the age of 86.
The Bootle-born businessman (pictured far-left in the photograph above) is often credited with discovering the band and gave them early gigs at his Liverpool music venue, the Jacaranda.
In 1960, he personally drove the band – whose lineup then included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best – to Hamburg for a formative series of gigs.
The Jacaranda confirmed Williams’ death on Facebook yesterday (December 30), writing: “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.”
Today our founder and the man who discovered the Beatles passed away at the age of 86
Allan Williams, you will be missed pic.twitter.com/Mh7sq5Er4q
— The Jacaranda Club (@thejacclub) December 30, 2016
Williams’ dealings with The Beatles ended in 1961 following a payment dispute. They were later managed by Brian Epstein. In 1975, Williams published a memoir called The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away and in later years he spoke regularly at Beatles conventions.
The BBC reports that Paul McCartney spoke fondly of Williams in the 2000 book The Beatles Anthology, saying of the band’s original manager: “He was the little local manager. Little in height, that is – a little Welshman with a little high voice – a smashing bloke and a great motivator, though we used to take the mickey out of him.”