LONDON — Flamboyant British nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow died Thursday after battling lung cancer. He was 77.

Publicist Matt Glass said Stringfellow died early in the morning.

Stringfellow got his start in the early 1960s booking bands including the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones in his clubs at a time when those bands were not yet world famous.

He later opened upscale "gentlemen's clubs" in several cities, including London, where "Stringfellows" has been in operation since 1980. He also branched out into New York, Los Angeles and Miami in the United States.

Stringfellow was a colorful personality known for his parties and general revelry. He kept his businesses going for six decades despite changing tastes and entertainment styles.

He liked to boast that he spotted the Beatles early and booked them for a pittance even though they had a number one hit by the time they performed at his club in 1963.

Stringfellow was born in the industrial city of Sheffield and was the son of a steelworker. He started working at 15 and had a job in a movie theater before a two-year-stint in the Royal Navy.

He was briefly in prison for selling stolen carpets before turning his focus to nightclubs, starting with the Black Cat Club in Sheffield.

He had largely removed himself from the public spotlight in recent years as he coped with cancer.

He is survived by his wife Bella, four children and four grandchildren.