Anniversary of the Murder of The Fifth Beatle

01/05/2012
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(Gibson) On this day in 1976, Mal Evans, longtime Beatles road manager, was shot dead in Los Angeles. Gibson takes a look back: Who was the Fifth Beatle? Several in the Beatles camp have claimed that crown, but nobody deserves it more than gentle giant Mal Evans. He was there from the very early days at the Cavern to the band's implosion in the '70s.

Evans was a post office engineer by day and Cavern Club bouncer by night when The Beatles' manager Brain Epstein hired him as assistant road manager along with Neil Aspinall. From that point, he and The Beatles were inseparable. He appeared in three of their movies, was a witness in Paul McCartney's wedding and even played organ on Rubber Soul. Once the band stopped recording, he became an all-around assistant, working with the band until the very end

Evans stayed with Apple until 1974 when he moved to Los Angeles, supposedly to work as a producer. He'd left his wife and kids to move in with Fran Hughes, whom he'd met at L.A.'s Record Plant recording studio. Keith Moon had hired Mal to produce his solo album, but fired him for poor recordings. It didn't seem Evans was cut out to be a producer. He became increasingly isolated and depressed.

On January 5, 1976 a drunk, Valium-popping Evans called John Hoernie, the collaborator on his memoirs, and told him to make sure he and his assistant finished the book. A concerned Hoernie went to Evans' motel/apartment at 8122 West 4th Street to talk with the obviously depressed man. During their brief talk, Evans picked up a rifle. Mal was a big man, a gentle giant. Everyone said and there was no possible way for Hoernie to overpower him. Fran Hughes called the police and when they arrived, officers David D. Krempa and Robert E. Brannon confronted Evans upstairs. When they told him to put down his gun he refused and the police fired six shots. Mal Evans died instantly. more on this story

Gibson.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Gibson.com - Excerpted here with permission.

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