The fifth Beatle is an informal title that has been applied to people who were at one point a member of the Beatles or who had a strong association with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The "fifth Beatle" claims first appeared in the press immediately upon the band's rise to global fame in 1963–64. The members have offered their own beliefs of the "fifth Beatle":
- McCartney said on two occasions that "if anyone was the fifth Beatle", it was manager Brian Epstein (in a 1997 BBC interview) and producer George Martin (in a 2016 memorial post).
- Harrison stated at the Beatles' 1988 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that there were only two "fifth Beatles": Derek Taylor, the Beatles' public relations manager, and Neil Aspinall, their road manager-turned-business-executive.
The term originated in 1964 with the American disc jockey Murray the K, who pronounced himself the "fifth Beatle" due to the amount of promotion and coverage he afforded the band on his radio program. Others referred to as the "fifth Beatle" include their original drummer, Pete Best, bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and keyboardist Billy Preston.