McCartney Times

Mal Evans

Mal Evans

Mal Evans

Malcolm Frederick “Mal” Evans
(27 May 1935 – 5 January 1976) was the road manager, assistant, and a friend of the Beatles.

In the early 1960s, Evans was employed as a telephone engineer, and also worked part-time as a bouncer at the Cavern Club. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, later hired Evans as the group’s assistant road manager, in tandem with Neil Aspinall. Peter Brown (one of Epstein’s staff) later wrote that Evans was “a kindly, but menacing-looking young man”. Evans contributed to recordings, and appeared in some of the films the group made. After The Beatles stopped touring in 1966, Evans carried on assisting them until their break-up in 1970. From 1969, Evans also found work as a record producer (most notably with Badfinger‘s top 10 hit “No Matter What“).

Evans was killed by police on 5 January 1976, at his home in Los Angeles. Officers were called when his girlfriend phoned the police and told them that Evans was confused and had a gun. The police mistook the air rifle Evans was holding for a rifle and shot him dead. 

On 11 August 1963, Evans began working for the Beatles in the combined role of roadie/bodyguard. Evans and Aspinall’s duties were to drive the van while on tour, and to set up and test the equipment. Mal’s telephone engineering experience was valuable in setting up and maintaining the electrical equipment. The Beatles were being driven back to Liverpool from London by Evans through heavy fog on 21 January 1963, when the windscreen was hit by a pebble and crazed over, so Evans had to break a large hole in it to see the road ahead. This was in winter, so the group had to lie one on top of the other in the back with a bottle of whisky and try to stay warm in the freezing temperatures; something McCartney later referred to as a “Beatle sandwich”.

Evans had many other duties: as well as acting as a bodyguard, he was sent to buy anything they needed, such as suits, boots, meals, or drinks. If Lennon said “Socks, Mal”, Evans would have to rush to a local store and buy pairs of cotton socks for him. In 1967, Evans wrote in his diaries that he “bought Ringo [Starr] some undies for his visit to the doctor”. Although Beatles’ memorabilia is in continuous demand, a full set of autographs by all four could be forgeries: Evans and Aspinall used to sign many of them when Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr were too busy.

The Beatles started their first European tour in January 1964, and Evans was allowed to take his wife and son with him, but was involved in a “big punch-up” with photographers in Paris while protecting them. Epstein’s associate, Alistair Taylor, once asked him why he was driving an Austin Princess limousine, rather than a Daimler, a Bentley, or a Rolls-Royce. Evans explained that The Beatles were forced to choose an Austin, because they had tested every car to see how wide the doors would open as they (literally) had to “dive into the car” to escape their fans.

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