Brown Meggs, author and former chief executive officer of Capitol Records who signed the Beatles to the label in 1963 for American distribution of their recordings, died Oct. 8 at his home in San Francisco of a brain hemorrhage. He was 66.
Meggs worked for Capitol Records, a subsidiary of EMI records, through the 1960s and early 1970s. Though he had little interest in popular music, instead preferring classical music and opera, he helped the record company to financial success.
After Capitol rejected the Beatles’ first four singles, band manager Brian Epstein convinced Meggs, then the company’s director of East Coast operations, to sign them by playing him an advance copy of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”
After serving as CEO for several years, Meggs resigned from the company abruptly in 1976, citing a lack of enjoyment in the job. He returned to EMI in 1984 as the president of Angel, its classical music label. He stayed until 1990, when his wife, Nancy Bates Meachen, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Meggs also had a successful turn as a novelist, publishing several successful novels, including “The Matter of Paradise” in 1975, “Aria” in 1978 and “The War Train” in 1981. His first novel, “Saturday Games,” won the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1974.
Meggs is survived by his son and three sisters.