Peter Brown, One of the Beatles’ Closest Confidants, Tells All (Again)

Peter Brown stood in his spacious Central Park West apartment, pointing first at the dining table and then through the window to the park outside, with Strawberry Fields just to the right.

“John sat at that table looking through here,” Brown said, “and he couldn’t take his eyes off the park.”

That’s John as in Lennon. And the story of the former Beatle coveting this living-room view in 1971 — and how Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, eventually got their own place one block down, at the Dakota — is just one of Brown’s countless nuggets of Fab Four lore. In the 1960s he was an assistant to Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, and then an officer at Apple Corps, the band’s company. A key figure in the Beatles’ secretive inner circle, Brown kept a red telephone on his desk whose number was known only to the four members.

And it was Brown who, in 1969, informed Lennon that he and Ono could quickly and quietly wed in a small British territory on the edge of the Mediterranean, a piece of advice immortalized in “The Ballad of John and Yoko”: “Peter Brown called to say, ‘You can make it OK/You can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain.’”

Next week, Brown and the writer Steven Gaines are releasing a book, “All You Need Is Love: The Beatles in Their Own Words,” made up of interviews they conducted in 1980 and 1981 with the band and people close to it, including business representatives, lawyers, wives and ex-wives — the raw material that Brown and Gaines used for their earlier narrative biography of the band, “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles,” published in 1983.

Now 87, Brown is a polarizing figure in Beatles history. He was a witness to some of the band’s most important moments and was a trusted keeper of its secrets. “The only people left are Paul and Ringo and me,” he said.

Back to top button