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The Beatles, Britain's top rock band, relax in London over tea in 1963. The group from left: John Lennon, Paul McCartney; George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The group is sporting similar thatch haircuts with bangs to the edge of their eyebrows. No other information available with photo. (AP Photo)

The Beatles' first manager, Allan Williams, died at the age of 86


Allan Williams, the man credited with discovering The Beatles, died Friday night at the age of 86.

Williams, who was a fixture of the Liverpool music scene, gave the young pop group a place to practice and helped them get some of the early gigs that launched them into stardom. 

His passing was confirmed by The Jacaranda, a club he opened in 1958 and the site of some of The Beatles' early performances. 

"Today is one of the saddest days in our history," the club said on its Facebook page. 

"His legacy has allowed us to remain at the heart of the Liverpool music scene for almost 60 years and his memory will live on through every band that plays our famous stage," the post continued. 

The Jacaranda served as a training ground for many other up-and-coming bands. 

Because he believed in their potential, Williams let the Beatles practice at his club in exchange for them decorating the club's basement. When Williams first discoverd them, the band was only playing covers of American rock 'n' roll hits.

In 1960, Williams even drove the band to Hamburg to perform a series of nightclub shows, which helped improve their live skills. 

The Beatles eventually fell out with Williams, who was described as their first manager, and moved on to be managed by Brian Epstein. 

Martin King of The Beatles Story museum said Williams played a significant role in the band's development. 

"His involvement in the Beatles’ early years in Liverpool and onto Hamburg helped shape the band in to what we see and know today," King said in a statement

King also noted that Williams received the Citizen of Honour award from the City of Liverpool earlier in 2016. 

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