Derek Taylor, Former Beatles Press Officer, Dead at 65

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Derek Taylor, the former press officer and close friend of the Beatles, died Monday at his home in Suffolk, England, after a long bout with cancer. Taylor was 65.

Taylor started his career with the Beatles after seeing them perform at the Manchester Odeon in 1963 and writing a review praising the four lads from Liverpool. He befriended the band's manager Brian Epstein and became his personal assistant. After traveling with the band on their first U.S. tour in 1964, he left the Beatles to become an independent publicist in California, representing the likes of the Byrds, The Beach Boys, and Captain Beefheart. He then co-founded the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in 1967.

The following year, Taylor went back to England to work with the Beatles at their record label, Apple Corps. As the press officer, Taylor became the voice of the band, making sure no one talked to them without talking to him first. After the Beatles broke up, Taylor went on to have a healthy career with Warner Bros. Records throughout the '70s. At the end of that decade, he took off as a writer, penning such books as George Harrison's and Michelle Phillips' biographies, as well as his own, It Was Twenty Years Ago.

In a prepared statement, Paul McCartney said, "He was a beautiful man. It's a time for tears, and words may come later." A private funeral will be held in Suffolk on Friday

Taylor is survived by his wife, Joan, and their six children.