Allan Williams, the club owner and promoter widely credited with the discovery of The Beatles, died Friday. The music impresario, who also supported the group through their earliest years and sent them to Hamburg, Germany, to hone their skills as a band, was 86.
Williams owned the Jacaranda Club in Liverpool, England, which confirmed his death Friday night, The Guardian reported.
“Today is one of the saddest days in our history,” a post on the club’s Facebook page reads.
“(Williams’) 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.”
The club also paid tribute to Williams via its Twitter page.
“It was mainly their personalities, because most of the groups were a bit on the thick side, whereas they all had good educations,” he said. “They were a bit posher and more articulate. So I thought, no, I will take a chance.”
Williams’ coffeehouse-music venue was frequented by John Lennon when the future Beatle was a student at the Liverpool Art College, Rolling Stone reported.
From May to August 1960, the Beatles – then comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and bassist Stuart Sutcliffe – played occasionally at the Jacaranda and the Blue Angel, another venue owned by Williams.
Williams remained Beatles’ booking agent for the beginning of the Hamburg tenure; however, after the band secured their own residency at the city’s Top Ten club, they parted ways with Williams over a disagreement over his 10 percent fee, Rolling Stone reported.
In 1962, before Brian Epstein became the Beatles’ manager, he approached Williams to see whether he had outstanding contractual links to the band. Williams didn’t, but he warned Epstein, “Don’t touch them with a bargepole; they will let you down.”
Williams co-authored a book with William Marshall in 1975, titled, Allan Williams: The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away.
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo in 2010, Williams said he had no regrets.
“I was just glad to have been there in the ’60s, at the start of it all. People say to me ‘You should be a millionaire’ – and I say ‘But I am a millionaire!’ Then they ask ‘How come? Has Paul McCartney given you some money?’ And I tell them ‘I’m a millionaire of memories.”