MORCAMBE, UK (CelebrityAccess) — Tony Barrow, who left a career in journalism to serve as the first publicist for The Beatles, and who coined the band's sobriquet 'The Fab Four' died on Saturday in Morecambe, England. He was 80.
According to the New York Times, Barrow's death was confirmed by the Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn, a longtime acquaintance of Barrow's.
Mr. Barrow's connection with The Beatles started through the band's manager Brian Epstein, who contacted Barrow in 1961 about the still unsigned band, hoping for publicity. Barrow, who was writing record reviews for the Liverpool Echo, said he could not help the band with a review as they had no commercial recordings at the time, but he helped arrange an audition for the band with Decca Records.
While Decca passed on The Beatles, Epstein invited Barrow to join his production company, NEMS Enterprises, as senior press and publicity officer shortly after they signed with EMI/Parlaphone, the Times said.
While serving as the Beatles publicist, Barrow used his experience as a critic to craft press material that was geared to the needs of the music press, including information about their backgrounds, interests, ambitions, likes and dislikes, helping fans to foster a sense of personal connection with the members of the group.
After Epstein died in 1967, the Beatles launched their own company Apple, which included in-house publicity, leading Barrow to resign from NEMS to launch his own publicity firm, Tony Barrow International (later Tony Barrow Management). Its client roster included MCA Records, the Bee Gees, the Kinks and the Bay City Rollers, the Times said.
In 1980, he left the publicity business entirely and returned to writing and editing, including penning a memoir in 2005.
Mr. Barrow’s survivors include his wife and their two sons, Michael and Mark.