|Birth Day:||May 7, 1932|
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Liverpool newspaper writer who became the Beatles' press man and helped George Harrison on his autobiography.
He rose to the post of theater critic for the Daily Express to a national journalism assignment, he was sent to cover the Beatles during their early days.
Taylor was a national journalist working for the Daily Express when he was assigned to write a review of a Beatles concert on 30 May 1963. He had been expected by his editors to write a piece critical of what at that time was considered by the national press as an inconsequential teen fad. However, he was enchanted by the group and instead sang their praises. Shortly afterwards, he was invited to meet the Beatles and soon became a trusted journalist in their circle, especially as he was a fellow Liverpudlian.
In early 1964, Beatles manager Brian Epstein hired Taylor away from his newspaper job, putting him in charge of Beatles press releases, and acting as media liaison for himself and the group. He subsequently became Epstein's personal assistant for a short period. Taylor assisted Epstein in the writing of his autobiography, A Cellarful of Noise. Taylor conducted interviews with Epstein for the book and then shaped the transcriptions of the audio recordings into a narrative, retaining most of Epstein's basic words.
In 1965, Taylor left the UK and moved with his growing family to California. There he started his own public relations company, providing publicity for groups such as the Byrds, the Beach Boys and Paul Revere and the Raiders, as well as the Mamas & the Papas. According to music critic Richie Unterberger, through his time working in Hollywood, Taylor "became, probably, the most famous rock publicist of the mid-'60s".
In June 1967, Taylor helped organise the Monterey Pop Festival, serving as the event's publicist and spokesman. For a few weeks in the autumn of 1967, Taylor hosted a Sunday-evening freeform radio program on Pasadena station KRLA. Having contributed to the station's magazine, KRLA Beat, since 1965, he became editor in 1967, helping to guide the magazine's focus towards US countercultural issues and psychedelia.
In April 1968, at Harrison's request, Taylor returned to England to work for the Beatles again, as the press officer for their newly created Apple Corps. Taylor oversaw the public launch of the company's record label, Apple Records, in August 1968, marked by the release of the Beatles' single "Hey Jude". As part of the campaign, "Hey Jude" and three other Apple singles were compiled in a gift box and despatched to Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother and the British prime minister. During this period, Taylor frequently clashed with Paul McCartney, about whom he later wrote: "I don't think I ever hated anyone as much as I hated Paul in the summer of 1968." That same year, Taylor provided uncredited contributions to the lyrics of two songs issued on the band's double album, The Beatles: "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" and "Savoy Truffle".
Between 1968 and 1970, Taylor had a major role in the company's activities, leading the publicity campaigns for the band's projects and for those of the other artists signed to Apple Records. Among these, he helped stage Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1969 campaign for world peace. He is named in the lyrics of Lennon's song "Give Peace a Chance", along with Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary and Norman Mailer, who like Taylor were all present at the recording of the song. In March 1970, Taylor commissioned the young photographer Les Smithers to photograph Badfinger, a rock band signed to Apple Records. That portrait has now been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery.
Taylor's time as Apple press officer became as notable for its extravagance as much as the creativity of his campaigns and press releases. With the appointment of Allen Klein as Apple's business manager in early 1969 – leading to a period that Taylor later described as "miserable" – expenditure and staff numbers were cut back drastically. While describing Taylor as a "lavish spender", author Nick Talveski notes that much of his job entailed denying the media access to the Beatles. Talveski adds: "To his eternal credit, Taylor nevertheless became one of the most popular professionals in the [music] industry, one of very few men to perfect the art of saying 'no' graciously." In her 2009 memoir, former Apple employee Chris O'Dell says that Taylor "stood for everything that was good and honest and funny and bright about Apple".
Taylor left the company in late 1970, having outlasted most of the other senior employees there, thanks to the affection and high regard in which he was held by Lennon, Harrison and Starr. In April that year, Taylor had confirmed The Beatles' break-up using deliberately vague terms, partly to mask his sadness:
Taylor was a catalyst in Harry Nilsson's musical career; hearing Nilsson's song "1941" on a car radio, he bought a case (twenty-five copies) of his album Pandemonium Shadow Show, sending copies to various members of the music-industry. Among the recipients were all four Beatles, who became enamoured of Nilsson's talent and invited him to London. Nilsson subsequently became a collaborator and good friend of both Lennon and Ringo Starr. In 1973, Taylor produced Nilsson's album A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night.
Independently of his work for WEA, Taylor co-produced Nilsson's A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night in 1973. He had previously provided liner notes for Nilsson's Aerial Ballet album. (A story written by Taylor's daughter Vanessa was printed on the back cover of Nilsson's album Harry.)
In 1973 he wrote a very informal memoir, As Time Goes By, published by Sphere Books and reprinted by its Abacus imprint the following year. (It was re-issued in 2018.)
Taylor went to work for the newly launched UK record company WEA (later Warner Music Group), the British umbrella company that distributed and marketed several labels owned in the US by Kinney National Company. These record labels included Warner Bros., Reprise, Elektra and Atlantic. Taylor served as Director of Special Projects, working with artists such as the Rolling Stones, Yes, America, Neil Young, Vivian Stanshall, Carly Simon and Alice Cooper. He also presided over a revival of British jazz singer George Melly, producing two albums for him. He was instrumental in signing seminal Liverpool Art School rock band Deaf School, featuring future record producer Clive Langer. He was instrumental in the Rhead Brothers signing to WEA and received a dedication on both their 1977 album Dedicate and the re-issued Black Shaheen (2017).
In the mid-1970s Taylor served as a Vice-President of Marketing for Warner Bros. Records, where he was instrumental in the acquisition of the Rutles project, and supervised the worldwide marketing campaign for the album release and television special. A spoof on the Beatles' career and legacy, the Rutles' All You Need Is Cash special featured Harrison playing a reporter interviewing a Derek Taylor-like character, named Eric Manchester and played by Michael Palin. Taylor left Warner's in 1978. As well as staying close to Harrison throughout the 1970s, Taylor maintained a correspondence with Lennon during the latter's years of retirement between 1975 and 1980. Taylor did not enjoy his second period in California, however, and returned to England after a couple of years.
Over 1978–79, Taylor collaborated again with Harrison, helping him to complete his autobiography, I, Me, Mine, published in 1980 by Genesis Publications. The following year, Taylor's on-set account of the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark was published as The Making of Raiders of The Lost Ark by Ballantine Books. He subsequently wrote his own autobiography, Fifty Years Adrift, published in December 1983 by Genesis, for which Harrison provided a glowing introduction to the signed, limited-edition volume. Only 2000 copies were printed, and the book quickly became a collectors' item after Harrison joined Taylor in promoting the publication.
In 1987, Taylor's It Was Twenty Years Ago Today (published by Bantam Press in the UK, and Fireside for Simon & Schuster in the US) celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It provides a detailed documentary of the people and events that shaped the album and the wider events of the Summer of Love counterculture. The book includes archive interviews and photographs as well as extensive transcripts from a Granada TV documentary, which was also titled It Was Twenty Years Ago Today and for which Taylor served as consultant.
In January 1988, while accepting the Beatles' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Harrison named Taylor and Neil Aspinall as the two people worthy of the much-used title "the Fifth Beatle". In the early 1990s Taylor was asked to rejoin Apple to be in charge of marketing of the multiple projects planned for that decade. The projects included the CD release of the non-Beatle Apple catalogue and major Beatles releases such as Live at the BBC and compilation albums associated with The Beatles Anthology.
As Time Goes By: Living in the Sixties (Rock and Roll Remembrances Series No 3) (Popular Culture Ink) was published in June 1990 in the US, while in the UK Bois Books published What You Cannot Finish and Take A Sad Song in 1995, coinciding with the release of the Beatles Anthology (Taylor was extensively interviewed for the TV program). Posthumous volumes include Beatles (Ebury Press 1999). In addition, an audio CD, Here There and Everywhere: Derek Taylor Interviews The Beatles, was released on the Thunderbolt label in 2001.
Derek Taylor died of throat cancer at his home in Sudbury, Suffolk, on 7 September 1997. At the time of his death he was still working for Apple, helping to compile the Beatles Anthology book. His funeral took place in Sudbury, Suffolk on 12 September, attended by family and friends such as Harrison, Aspinall, Palin, Neil Innes and Jools Holland.
In 2013, American singer and Fleetwood Mac vocalist Stevie Nicks revealed that she had had a brief affair with Taylor in the late 1970s, and that she wrote the song "Beautiful Child", included in the album Tusk, about him.
Derek was married to Joan Taylor, who appeared in his stead on the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World.
Currently, Derek Taylor is 90 years, 1 months and 23 days old. Derek Taylor will celebrate 91st birthday on a Sunday 7th of May 2023. Below we countdown to Derek Taylor upcoming birthday.