Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ publicist who achieved his own renown during the height of Beatlemania, died Sept. 7 of cancer in London. He was 65.
Taylor held numerous music industry jobs throughout his life. But inevitably he was best known for his association with the Liverpool four. He served two stints as their press officer and oversaw global publicity for the ABC miniseries “The Beatles Anthology” in 1995.
Paul McCartney paid tribute in a statement, calling Taylor “a beautiful man. It’s time for tears, and words may come later.”
Beatles biographer Philip Norman said it was Taylor’s “unique accomplishment to be a press officer whom journalists pursued because he was … amiable, sympathetic, polite to a degree, which would ultimately seem miraculous.”
Born in Cheshire in northeastern England, Taylor was a drama critic for the Daily Express newspaper when he first saw — and reviewed — the Beatles in concert.
He accompanied the Beatles on their world tour in 1964, but left Apple Records after eight months to move to Los Angeles as publicist for the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and Paul Revere and the Raiders, among others.
He returned to England — and the Beatles — in 1968 to find that interest had intensified.
“I knew they were wonderful,” he told the Associated Press. “What I didn’t know was there were four of them and they could hide away, whereas there was only one of me.”
Home life, he said, consisted of “phones under cushions and permanently off the hook, and if they weren’t off the hook, they rang 24 hours a day. There was no peace.”
In 1970, the Beatles broke up and Taylor left Apple again to spend most of the decade as a record executive, rising to vice president of Warner Bros. Records in California.
He quit in 1978 to help George Harrison on his autobiography and write his own books about the era, “As Time Goes By,” “Fifty Years Adrift” and “It Was Twenty Years Ago.”
In the 1980s he resumed working for Apple on an ad hoc basis that became full time during “The Beatles Anthology.”
“I always had a romantic view that the thing should, if possible, be able to continue,” he once said of a group that remains among rock’s most successful ever. “There should always be a Beatles.”
He is survived by his wife, Joan, and six children.