Art

Tony Barrow dies; Beatles publicist coined ‘Fab Four’ phrase

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, a sculpture by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, titled "knotted gun" which is a symbol designed to protest against global violence and senseless killings, is displayed in Cape Town, South Africa. Carl Fredrik Reutersward, one of Sweden’s best-known modern artists and the creator of the iconic statue of a revolver barrel tied in a knot, has died. He was 81. Thomas Millroth, from the Carl Fredrik Reutersward Art Foundation, said the artist died in a hospital in Helsingborg, southwestern Sweden on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. No cause of death was given.(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, file)

FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 file photo, a sculpture by Carl Fredrik Reutersward, titled “knotted gun” which is a symbol designed to protest against global violence and senseless killings, is displayed in Cape Town, South Africa. Carl Fredrik Reutersward, one of Sweden’s best-known modern artists and the creator of the iconic statue of a revolver barrel tied in a knot, has died. He was 81. Thomas Millroth, from the Carl Fredrik Reutersward Art Foundation, said the artist died in a hospital in Helsingborg, southwestern Sweden on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. No cause of death was given.(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam, file)

LONDON (AP) — Tony Barrow, the British publicist who coined the phrase “Fab Four” to describe the early Beatles, has died.

Barrow, 80, died in a Lancaster hospital on Saturday following a lengthy illness, his son Mike Barrow said Tuesday, May 17.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney said Barrow “was a lovely guy who helped us in the early years of the Beatles.” He called Barrow “super professional but always ready for a laugh.”

Mike Barrow said his father coined the phrase at a time when the word “fab” was in common usage. He says “he just put the two together … it was a masterstroke.”

Like the Beatles, Barrow was a Liverpool native and before working with the group he wrote a music column for the Liverpool Echo newspaper. He was recruited for a job as the Beatles’ press officer by manager Brian Epstein in 1962, the year they signed a record deal with Parlophone. Barrow wrote the press release for their debut single, “Love Me Do,” and assembled a five-page kit titled “Introducing THE BEATLES” that featured a photograph on a pink card.

In Mark Lewisohn’s Beatles biography “Tune In,” Barrow remembered all four band members making distinct first impressions: McCartney was sociable, George Harrison inquisitive, Ringo Starr shy and John Lennon abrasive.

“All the traits that came out at that initial meeting were consistent with what followed,” Barrow said.

He is survived by his widow Corinne and sons Mike and Mark.

 

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