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Neil Aspinall Leaves Apple · Blog, Blog Me Do… The Beatles

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Neil Aspinall Leaves Apple

On Tuesday (April 10th) Apple Corps. issued a Press Release stating that long-time Beatle confidante Neill Aspinall is stepping down as CEO of Apple Corps and will be replaced by music industry veteran Jeff Jones, formerly with BMG.

Aspinall has been associated with The Beatles since 1960 when he was a lodger at the Best family home. In 1961 Pete Best suggested that Neil act as the bands first driver/roadie. He has been associated with the group ever since and is often cited as the man behind the renewed success of The Beatles catalog in recent years. Aspinall was considered to be the chief architect behind the Anthology project.

It is thought that the introduction of Jones, who has been responsible for revitalizing the back catalogs of artists like Bob Dylan,  will ease the transition  of the Beatles catalog to new digital distribution models.

The Press Release supplied the following short bio for Neil Aspinall:

Neil Aspinall, who is now 64, first became friends with Paul McCartney and George Harrison in grade school. In 1961, at the suggestion of original drummer Pete Best, he became the Beatles’ driver and road manager. Aspinall, who was nicknamed “Nell” by John Lennon and jokingly called “Mr. X” by McCartney, traveled with the group on every tour, working out logistics and security during the height of Beatlemania.

Aspinall is one of the few people to have also attended nearly every recording session by the group and was the group’s closest friend and confidante. When the band started their company Apple during the spring of 1967, Aspinall’s role within the Beatles’ organization grew even larger.

By the time of Apple’s official launch the next year, Aspinall was overseeing many key operations. After Apple manager Allen Klein’s four-year tenure with the band ended in early 1973, Aspinall took over the group’s affairs and over the next 25 years sorted out the Beatles’ tremendous tangle of lawsuits — both with outside parties and within the band itself.

In 1971 Aspinall began assembling a documentary on the band, called The Long And Winding Road, which eventually grew in to the mammoth 1995 series The Beatles Anthology, which he executive produced. Aspinall was responsible for such recent Beatles successes as the Live At The BBC collection and the multi-platinum Beatles 1 album, and was a key player in settling the band’s longtime feud with Apple Computers earlier this year.

Aspinall is also tied into the Beatles’ extended circle by blood. Aspinall was a boarder of Pete Best’s family in the early ’60s, and had an affair with Best’s mother Mona, who was 20 years his senior. The relationship resulted in a son, Roag Best, who was born in July 1962. Upon Pete Best’s firing from the Beatles in August 1962, Aspinall was about to quit the group out of allegiance to the family, but Pete himself talked him into keeping the job. Aspinall and Mona Best were involved for several more years.

Aspinall married his wife Suzy Ornstein in 1968. They have four children. His son Roag Best currently drums with half-brother Pete Best in the Pete Best Band. 

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