Passings: Tony Barrow, Publicist For the Beatles (1936 - 2016)
Tony Barrow, who was the publicist for the Beatles for the majority of their career and came up with the phrase "the Fab Four", has died at his home in Morecambe, England at the age of 80.
Paul McCartney tweeted his admiration, saying "Tony Barrow was a lovely guy who helped us in the early years of The Beatles. He was super professional but always ready for a laugh. He will be missed but remembered by many of us."
So far, there has been no statement from Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr.
Barrow started his professional career at the age of 17, writing record reviews for the Liverpool Echo. He later began working as a promoter for jazz and skiffle groups in Crosby, a suburb north of Liverpool.
In the early 60's, Barrow moved to London where he started writing liner notes for Decca Records. It was while he was there that he began working with Brian Epstein who had just signed the Beatles to a management contract. Even though his own label had rejected the new band, he began working with them on-the-side as a part-time consultant.
Barrow was the man behind the publicity campaign for the Beatles first single, Love Me Do, and, after the success of the release, Epstein convinced Tony to come on board the Beatles bandwagon full time. In his new position, he not only worked with the Beatles, but also Cilla Black, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and others.
Among Barrow's contributions to the Beatle's legacy:
- Coined the phrase "The Fab Four" in an early press release.
- Came up with the yearly Christmas fan club record as a way to alleviate the backlog of requests from the group's followers.
- Conducted the daily press conferences during the group's 1965 and 1966 tours.
- Compiled and edited the comic book for the Magical Mystery Tour album.
After the Beatles formed Apple Corps in 1968, Barrows formed his own company, Tony Barrow International where he represented such acts as The Kinks, the Bay City Rollers, David Cassidy, Gladys Knight, Neil Sedaka and many others.
In 1980, he quit the music business to become a full time writer, penning the books Inside the Music Business, The Making of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour and John, Paul, George, Ringo and Me: The Real Beatles Story.
Barrow is survived by his wife and two sons.