It was 1963 and the Beatles had just released their debut album, Please Please Me. To take a break, and before going back to the recording studio, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, all in their twenties, took a 12-day vacation. The last three went to Tenerife and the leader of the gang escaped to Barcelona. But he didn't do it alone. He had accepted the invitation made by Brian Epstein, the group's manager and who many consider the fifth beatle.
Various sources from the time claim that the real reason that led the artistic representative to bet on the Liverpool band was that he was in love with John Lennon. Epstein's chauffeur, Bryan Barrett, brought to light several of the music manager's notebooks in 2000. “Brian was sexually aroused by those traits that could be most threatening to him: vulgarity, insolence, callousness, and aggressiveness. That is why he was mesmerized by Lennon, whose behavior could not be more like that of a caged animal.
60 years have passed and that trip to Barcelona is still shrouded in a halo of mystery. Epstein's homosexuality together with the 12 days he spent with Lennon fueled rumors that they had a love affair.
In the book All we are saying , in which the journalist David Sheff addresses the interview he had with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, he includes the story of the protagonist: "I was on vacation with Brian Epstein in Spain, where rumors spread that he and I had an affair. Well, it was almost an affair, but not quite. It was never consumed. But it was a pretty intense relationship. It was my first experience with a homosexual that I knew he was homosexual. He had admitted it to me. We spent a holiday together because Cyn (Cynthia Powell, Lennon's first wife, Julian's mother) had just given birth, I went to Spain and there were a lot of funny anecdotes." They stayed at the Avenida Palace hotel and visited the Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Las Ramblas and the Barri Gòtic. And, of course, they enjoyed the Barcelona night partying in bars and clubs, where they danced, drank and flirted with girls and boys. Lennon confessed in that interview that he was fascinated by the idea of living closely the way in which Epstein "hunted" his boys.
Paul McCartney, in his autobiography Anthology, maintains that the reason why Lennon went to Barcelona with Epstein had nothing to do with sentimental issues. “John was very smart. Brian was gay and John saw an opportunity to impress Epstein, who was the head of the group. I think that's why he went on vacation with Brian. He wanted Brian to know who he should listen to."
Another person close to the Beatle, his close friend Pete Shotton, shared in the book John Lennon in my life, which was published three years after the musician's death, what John supposedly confessed to him when he returned from Barcelona. “Actually, Pete. Something did happen with him one night. Eppy wouldn't stop pestering me. Until one night I dropped my pants and said, 'For God's sake, Brian, do you want sex?' And he said to me, 'Actually, John, I don't do that kind of thing. That's not what I like to do. 'Well,' I said, 'what do you like to do, then?' And he said, 'I'd really like to touch you, John.' And so I let him caress me. And that was it. End of story".
Epstein died on August 27, 1967. The official version was an accidental death from mixing barbiturates and alcohol. In 1970 the Beatles broke up and 10 years later John Lennon was assassinated.