“Neil Aspinall, who has died aged 66, was the Beatles’ original road manager and went on to run the group’s business empire for 40 years; he became their chief confidant and, although not the only contender for the title of the fifth Beatle, perhaps deserved the accolade more than most,” The Telegraph reports.

“A notoriously reclusive accountant, Aspinall made a rare public appearance last year in the course of a lengthy legal dispute involving Apple Corps, the Beatles’ business organisation, which he joined during its chaotic launch in the late 1960s,” The Telegraph reports.

“But a matter of weeks after settling the row with the Apple computer firm over the use of a trademark, Aspinall abruptly resigned as chief executive, reportedly frustrated that the band’s musical legacy was being compromised in the quest for profits,” The Telegraph reports.

“One of his last tasks as their eminence grise had been to remaster the group’s back catalogue for legal downloading on the internet. Aspinall’s involvement with the Beatles dated from 1960 when the group’s original drummer, Pete Best, asked him to become their driver,” The Telegraph reports.

“Although he protested when Best (his best friend) was replaced by Ringo Starr, he remained with the band,” The Telegraph reports.

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