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"Fifth Beatle" Aspinall dies

Latest update : 2008-03-24

Neil Aspinall, a schoolfriend of Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison who managed the band's Apple Corps music empire and was dubbed "the fifth Beatle", has died, the firm said Monday.

Neil Aspinall, a schoolfriend of Beatles Paul McCartney and George Harrison who managed the band's Apple Corps music empire and was dubbed "the fifth Beatle", has died, the firm said Monday.

Aspinall was 66 and died in New York after a brief illness, London-based Apple Corps said in a statement.

Born in Wales in 1942, Aspinall attended the Liverpool Institute for Boys with McCartney and Harrison and became road manager and minder when they joined the Beatles.

In 1968, he became manager of Apple Corps, reportedly on the condition that he would only do it until they found someone else. He only left the job last year.

The firm released the Beatles' later records which carried the corporation's distinctive logo, a picture of a green apple, in their centre.

Aspinall's death was confirmed in a statement released on behalf of McCartney and Ringo Starr, the two surviving Beatles, plus Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the widows of John Lennon and Harrison.

"As a loyal friend, confidant and chief executive, Neil's trusting stewardship and guidance has left a far-reaching legacy for generations to come," the statement said.

"All his friends and loved ones will greatly miss him but will always retain the fondest memories of a great man."

Aspinall is survived by his wife Suzy and five children.

He was closely involved in a legal battle with Apple Computer over its name which meant that the Beatles' songs were not available on Internet music site iTunes.

But that row was settled last year and reports suggest that the band's music will likely be available on iTunes this year.
 

Date created : 2008-03-24

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