Neil Aspinall

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Neil Aspinall has been an important assistant to the Beatles since the early 1960s, first as their road manager, and then as an administrator of their financial company, Apple. Aspinall was studying to…
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Neil Aspinall has been an important assistant to the Beatles since the early 1960s, first as their road manager, and then as an administrator of their financial company, Apple. Aspinall was studying to be an accountant when he first met the Beatles in late 1960, as a result of renting lodgings at the house of their drummer at the time, Pete Best. He became their road manager, first driving them around the Liverpool area, and then all around Britain as their fame spread in 1963. After Pete Best was fired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein (although it was the other three members who had made the decision) on August 15, 1962, his friend Neil Aspinall was waiting outside the office and was the first to see him as an ex-Beatle. Aspinall immediately said he would quit as well, but Best convinced him to remain with the band. That decision probably meant the difference between a middle-class life as an accountant, and a fairly rich and glamorous one as part of the Beatles' inner circle.

In 1963, Aspinall got much-needed help from a second road manager, Mal Evans. Together Aspinall and Evans road-managed the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania, Evans doing the more physical duties of setting up and hauling equipment (and acting as bodyguard), and Aspinall taking care of other matters which needed assistance. When the Beatles stopped touring in late 1966, Aspinall and Evans remained with the group as personal assistants. Aspinall, like Evans, also took on some miscellaneous parts on Beatles records when a simple task was needed that any extra hand could perform, no musical experience or ability necessary. In this capacity he played a tambura on "Within You Without You," a harmonica on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!," and percussion on "Magical Mystery Tour," and sang on the chorus of "Yellow Submarine." He, like other people in the Beatles' employ, also threw out bits and pieces that were sometimes used to complete Beatles song lyrics.

In 1968, he got to put his accounting studies to use when he was appointed managing director of Apple Corps. That was not an easy job since the Beatles ran the company so chaotically in its first few years, and were in the process of breaking up as well. Aspinall even lost his job briefly when Allen Klein was brought in to clean house, although common sense prevailed and he (unlike many of the people Klein got rid of) was reinstalled.

The Apple record label petered out during the '70s, but it was still very much an active company insofar as its involvement in administering many aspects of the ex-Beatles affairs, so Aspinall still had (and has) plenty to do. He was one of only three non-Beatles (the others being producer George Martin and publicist Derek Taylor) to be interviewed for the Beatles' Anthology documentary series, as he spent more time with the group than almost anyone else not in the band.