'The Beatles: Get Back': How the 'Fifth Beatle' Brian Epstein Died

Brian Epstein's legacy within the Beatles was felt by the band years after his death, as seen in the new documentary series The Beatles: Get Back on Disney+.

Epstein was the manager of the Beatles and a driving force behind their success, which led to him often being referred to as the "Fifth Beatle" alongside Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. He died in 1967 at the age of 32.

He's mentioned several times during The Beatles: Get Back, Peter Jackson's seven-hour, three-part documentary, which is available to watch now.

How Did Brian Epstein Die?

The Beatles were on a retreat in Bangor, Wales, when Epstein died on August 27, 1967.

The 32-year-old died of an accidental sedative overdose caused by the drug Carbrital. He apparently took six Carbritals to try to sleep, which would have been a normal dose, except they had been mixed with alcohol.

A few days earlier, Epstein had been in the Priory clinic in an effort to cure his insomnia and addiction to amphetamines.

Brian Epstein's Mentions in 'The Beatles: Get Back'

The opening montage of The Beatles: Get Back, detailing the band members' journey from teenage Quarrymen to international sensations, mentions Epstein's part in their story. He was a local record shop owner who offered to become their manager and interview footage shows Epstein saying he was struck by their "music, their beat and sense of humor onstage."

The front page of the British newspaper the Daily Mirror is also shown, reporting on Epstein's death in 1967.

Later in the documentary, McCartney can be heard describing how the Beatles haven't really been functional since his death.

Brian Epstein
Brian Epstein managed the Beatles from 1962 until his death in 1967. Anefo / Disney+

Brian Epstein's Impact on Music

Epstein had never managed a band when he became the Beatles' manager on a five-year contract in January 1962.

He later signed a number of other musicians who hailed from the Liverpool area in northwest of England. His acts included Gerry and the Pacemakers, Cilla Black and Tommy Quickly.

In 2014 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "Non-Performers' Section."

Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine in 1970, Lennon said Epstein's death was the beginning of the end for the band. He said: "I knew that we were in trouble then... I thought, 'We've f****** had it now.'"

Many people have been referred to as the "fifth Beatle" over the years, but in 1997 McCartney told the BBC: "If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian."

There have been many books written and documentaries made about Epstein's life and his impact on the Beatles. An Epstein biopic is in production right now called Midas Man. Jacob Fortune-Lloyd (Medici) will play Epstein while Jay Leno has been cast as famed broadcaster Ed Sullivan.

The Beatles: Get Back is available to watch on Disney+ now.

Correction 12/02/21, 10:50 a.m. ET: This article was updated to correct the spelling of John Lennon.