Making Music with Ken Mansfield the Manager Behind The Beatles
Ken Mansfield went from playing in a band to managing some of the top performers in the industry including, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, James Taylor, Dolly Parton, Don Ho and David Cassidy. He was also the former U.S. Manager of Apple Records, a label founded by The Beatles. Mansfield would help popularize the Outlaw movement in country music by producing Waylon Jennings’ number one album. We interviewed Ken Mansfield two years ago and talked about how he got his start and how having everything taken from him was key to his spiritual journey.
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” Psalm 33:1-3
Mansfield reflected on what it was like getting his start managing The Beatles and being the U.S. Manager of Apple Records.
“When I was in college it was during the Kingston Trio folk era and it was just an explosion of brand new music. It was easy in fraternities to start up a folk band because it was really loose and fun. We started a group in my fraternity in college and started playing for beer and pizza, and then we were playing clubs, and then concerts. My band was discovered by an agency from Beverly Hills and then they started managing us. During the course of this, I met a lot of people at Capitol Records. I had already graduated. One day, one of them came to me and asked, ‘Have you ever thought about going into the record business?’ It seemed too good to be true to have your occupation be the music business. I said, ‘Yeah.’ He sponsored me for an interview with Capitol Records. I got the job at Capitol and within the first few months there the job had me working with The Beatles on their tour. We just hit it off. I was a young guy in my twenties with a suntan, a Cadillac convertible, a house up in Hollywood Hills, everything that they had grown up reading about in Liverpool. In a way they were just as fascinated with me as I was with them. I represented California to them. We worked together on that tour in 1965. They came back in 1966 and we worked together again. When they decided to set up Apple Records-America was the whole complete ball of was where you needed to have a successful record company-they sent for me to help set it up and run it for them in America. It started as a business relationship, but we hit it off personally and it just became a natural thing. Everyone else they worked with, the board of EMI [British music company] or the Chairman of Capitol Records, wore suits, had grey hair and were in their sixties. Then there was me. I was a young executive in my twenties and I think they felt more comfortable with me.”
The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground. Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:6-7
Mansfield opened up to us about what it was like being at the top of the industry and having everything stripped away.
“It fostered my spiritual journey. In all honesty, if I would have stayed as successful as I was, I would have never turned to God. I was doing fine on my own. I praise Him everyday for taking everything away and the circumstances I went through. It was what brought me to my knees and brought me to Him. Actually, being in ministry is much more exciting and fulfilling than anything I ever did in the entertainment industry. When I spoke at the Rock Church in San Diego, a girl came up at one of the altar calls and she was weeping. She said, ‘I’m from Connecticut. I don’t care about church. I came to San Diego to have a great vacation. The guy that was sitting next to me [on the airplane], all he would talk about was how he was going to go the Rock Church and see this guy from The Beatles.’ So she said when she got here that she decided to check it out because it sounded cool. She came to Christ at that service. You find me something more exciting than that! It was so gorgeous.”
Purse God. Each of us has dreams, passions and ambitions. God wants us to seek Him and His Kingdom first. He will reveal His will to us through His Holy Spirit in His timing. Remember to be obedient as He guides and directs you. If you are having trouble, pray and ask God to give you His perspective on the situation.
Share your faith with those around you. Whether it is someone on the plane, an executive, or a famous musician, God puts each of us in circles of influence. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the words and actions to share. It might be inviting someone to an outreach event at church, offering to pray for a co-worker, or sharing your testimony with a friend over coffee. Share your faith in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to God!
Change your view on loss. Ask God for His perspective on your trial or challenge. Take time this week to read through examples in the Bible of others who went through something similar as you. Look at how they turned to God and how they responded to the situation. While it may be difficult, ask a friend or your small group to pray for you.
To read our entire interview with Ken Mansfield click here.