Known within the Beatles' inner circle as "Mr. Fix-It," Alistair Taylor was Fab Four manager Brian Epstein's right-hand man and later the general manager of the group's Apple Corps organization. Born near Liverpool in Rumcom, Cheshire, on June 21, 1935, Taylor worked a series of odd jobs after leaving school; after relocating to London to work as a mover, he slipped a disc and spent eight months in a plaster cast. After recovering he moved back to the Liverpool area to work for a timber importer before answering an advertisement for the local record store NEMS; impressed by his knowledge of jazz, store owner Epstein hired Taylor to serve as his personal assistant at a rate of £10 a week. NEMS was noted for special-ordering records for customers, and according to legend, after regular Raymond Jones came in requesting Tony Sheridan & the Beatles' German chart hit "My Bonnie," Taylor set about acquiring copies direct from West Germany. Three decades later, however, Taylor claimed that no Raymond Jones ever existed -- he simply made up the name to convince Epstein to order copies of the record. But in writer Spencer Leigh's 2002 book The Best of Fellas, a biography of Bob Wooler, the Liverpool DJ credited with booking the Beatles during their legendary run at the Cavern Club, Leigh interviews a man claiming to be the "real" Raymond Jones, then living in a farmhouse in Spain. (The definitive truth is probably lost to time.)
It is nevertheless officially documented that Epstein and Taylor were in attendance when the Beatles headlined a Cavern Club lunchtime gig on November 9, 1961. Suitably impressed, Epstein founded NEMS Enterprises and hired on as the band's manager, with Taylor in attendance as the necessary contracts were signed. Soon after Taylor relocated to London, with the Liverpool environment blamed for aggravating his wife's asthma; he went to work for Pye Records, watching from the sidelines as Beatlemania began to reach critical mass. When Epstein relocated NEMS Enterprises from Liverpool to London, he hired Taylor as the company's general manager, this time at a salary of £1,000 a year. As "Mr. Fix-It," he did much of the Beatles' dirty work, everything from day-to-day paperwork to masterminding their escapes from the throngs of fans outside their live performances to facilitating the purchase of their homes. He also claimed that he helped Paul McCartney write the lyrics for "Hello Goodbye": "Whenever he said a word, I was to say the opposite, and, from all this, [McCartney] would compose a melody," Taylor once wrote. "The words were things like black and white, and stop and start." And prior to release of the Beatles' 1967 opus Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band, Taylor was in charge of guaranteeing legal clearance to use the photographs of the many famous faces adorning artist Peter Blake's cover art -- the end result is arguably the most famous and renowned jacket image in rock & roll history.
In addition to his work with the Beatles, Taylor also managed the Moody Blues and served as tour manager during Cream's first U.S. performances. When Epstein was found dead of a drug overdose on August 27, 1967, Taylor was the first individual summoned to his flat, and when the Beatles established their Apple label the following year, he was installed as general manager. But the band established few if any checks on corporate spending, financing virtually any and every project no matter how unsound its commercial prospects. When the Beatles' new manager, Allen Klein, was called in to right the ship, Taylor was dismissed; he quit the music business for good and with his wife opened a tearoom in Derbyshire. He later worked in a factory and in the hotel business, and later contributed to fellow NEMS alum Peter Brown's planned book on the Beatles. The end result, 1983's The Love You Make (aka "The Muck You Rake"), so horrified Taylor that in 1988 he published his own book, Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered. In his later years he was a regular presence at Beatle fan conventions and headlined his own stage show, From the Cavern to the Rooftop, the first Beatle-related event produced at the Paul McCartney Auditorium at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. In 2001 he published a second Beatlemania memoir, A Secret History, and also penned liner notes for the Bear Family label's authoritative Tony Sheridan collection Beatles Bop: Hamburg Days. The subject of George Gunby's 2002 official biography Hello Goodbye: The Story of Mr. Fixit, Taylor died June 9, 2004.