UK & World News

  • 23 November 2012, 15:55

Rejected Beatles Demo Goes Under The Hammer

The rejected Beatles demo tape at the centre of what has been called the biggest mistake in music history goes under the hammer next week.

The record label Decca famously rejected the Fab Four on the basis of the New Year's Day 1961 recording, only for them to become the world's top act within a couple of years.

Decca's A&R (artists and repertoire) man Dick Rowe passed over the Liverpool group and signed The Tremeloes instead. The Beatles went on to sign for EMI and became world stars.

Bootleg copies of the demo exist but few have heard the original "pristine" master tape, containing 10 cover versions.

It is being auctioned in London on Tuesday by the Fame Bureau, with an asking price of 30,000. It does not, however, come with the rights to the tracks.

"Apple, the company set up by The Beatles, holds the copyright to their voices and if anyone tried to release the material without their permission they would certainly be sued," said Fame Bureau managing director Ted Owen, The Times reports.

"This has never officially been released. It is unique and the sound quality is crystal clear. We have spoken to various experts and this is the best quality recording of this session there is."

Bassist Paul McCartney, lead guitarist George Harrison, rhythm guitarist John Lennon and drummer Pete Best - later sacked and replaced by Ringo Starr - appear on the demo tape, recorded at the Decca studios in West Hampstead, north London.

It is marked as the Silver Beatles - the group's early name - and comes with a hand-written track list and a black-and-white image of the band, wearing leather jackets and posing with their instruments.

The tracks include Money (That's What I Want), Take Good Care Of My Baby and Till There Was You.

The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein held onto the tape and later gave it to an executive associated with EMI. That person auctioned it privately in 2002 but it has now resurfaced.

Though Rowe rejected The Beatles, he went on to sign The Rolling Stones.

Meanwhile, the black leather jacket worn by Harrison on stage during the early Sixties in Hamburg and Liverpool is being auctioned by Bonhams on December 12.

It is expected to fetch between 90,000 and 120,000.

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