Who Was the Fifth Beatle?

The question sounds like a mystery – something that would be solved with a game of Clue, perhaps. But there’s a laundry list of suspects we can examine who can lay claim to being the famed “Fifth Beatle,” the unofficial member of the band that contributed to their success. Who are they?

  • Mal Evans – Of course, he’s my pick. He was there for the four from their days in the Cavern Club in Liverpool to the last notes played for Abbey Road. He got them drinks, lugged their equipment around, and even played various instruments and sound effects on several notable Beatles songs, He was indispensable.
  • Neil Aspinall – Neil had a similar role to Mal, mbut drifted more toward the administrative side, eventually heading Apple Records.
  • Brian Epstein – Brian was the first manager for the Beatles, getting them  on the map and directing every bit of their rise to fame during Beatlemania; his untimely death in 1966 signaled the beginning of the end for the group, who never recovered from his death.
  • George Martin – Probably my second choice for Fifth Beatle, George produced all of the Beatles albums, helping them with their experimentation that set them apart from other groups. He was instrumental (pun intended) in putting together the Beatles’ sound.
  • Geoff Emerick – He was the Beatles sound engineer during much of their ground-breaking, experimental phase; he and George Martin share the recognition in creating many of the sounds you hear on later Beatles albums.

Not considered:

  • Yoko Ono/Linda McCartney/Pattie Harrison – They were definitely close to the group during their later years. Pattie was the inspiration for George’s “Something,” Linda was no doubt the subject of several McCartney tunes, and Yoko even made it onto a few Beatles records. But some have argued that their husbands’ growing devotion to them drove the band further apart. Can’t really take them seriously as fifth Beatles.
  • Allen Klein, the Beatles second manager.
    Are you kidding me??