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Former Capitol Records boss Alan Livingston dies at 91

Alan W Livingston, the president of Capitol Records who agreed to release The Beatles’ music in America in 1963, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.

Livingston first read about The Beatles in the English music press in 1963. As the group’s records were being released in the UK by EMI, its sister company, Capitol, had first refusal on their music in America. However, Capitol rejected their early singles as being unsuitable for US audiences.

Eventually Livingston received a call from The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, asking why there was no interest in the group. Livingston said he hadn’t even heard the Beatles sing, and Epstein told him to listen to one of their records and call him back.

Livingston did, and as a result The Beatles were signed to the label with a $40,000 budget to promote their first Capitol single, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’.

In addition to The Beatles, Livingston was also responsible for signing Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, The Band and Steve Miller.

Livingston died on 13 March 2009 at his home in Beverly Hills, California, due to age-related causes. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Olson, a son, daughter, and two step daughters.

Last updated: 8 November 2009
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