LIVERPOOL, UK — Allan Williams, the club owner and promoter widely credited with the discovery of The Beatles, has died. The music impresario, who also supported the group through their earliest years, was 86.
Active on the Liverpudlian music scene for decades after his association with the pop group ended, his passing was confirmed by The Jacaranda — a club he once owned and at which The Beatles played some of their earliest gigs.
“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.
Martin King, of The Beatles Story museum in Liverpool, also posted reaction on the museum’s website.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Allan Williams. Our thoughts go out to his family at this sad time,” King said.
The Beatles Story website noted the influence Williams had on the group’s early development.
“Allan played a significant role in the story of the Beatles. His involvement in the Beatles’ early years in Liverpool and onto Hamburg helped shape the band in to what we see and know today.
He personally drove the van to take the young band to Hamburg, Germany in 1960, where they gained the vital show business experience that led to their emergence on the world stage.”
It also notes that Williams was, earlier in 2016, given the Citizen of Honour award by the City of Liverpool.
Williams’ death also was widely reported in British media Saturday. Attempts made by CNN to reach a spokesman for Williams’ family were unsuccessful.
The Jacaranda connection has become part of The Beatles legend. Local media recounts that, in response to requests from the band to play the then-coffee shop, Williams required them to help redecorate, John Lennon and then-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe painting a mural in the ladies bathroom.
The band eventually played gigs there between May and August 1960, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Williams, who wrote an autobiography titled “The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away,” not only booked the band for performances during their very earliest years, he also drove the band, then comprised of Lennon, Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best to Hamburg for an extended stay in the German city.
The Hamburg years, a series of visits to the port city from 1960 to 1962, honed their style and brought them to prominence, and eventually the attention of their longtime manager, Brian Epstein.
The Cavern Club, another Liverpool venue inextricably linked with the Fab Four, also posted its condolences.
“We have just heard the very sad news about the passing of Allan Williams,” the famous club’s post reads. “Sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.”
The loss of the iconic band’s erstwhile manager comes after their producer, George Martin, died in March 2016.