Sotheby’s Rock & Pop exhibition, which contains a variety of items from the Beatles, Bob Dylan and Cream, will be auctioned off in London on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The collection will include the Fab Four’s first recording contract with manager Brian Epstein, a document signed by John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Epstein, Rolling Stone reported.
“The October 1st, 1962 managerial contract is expected to sell for between $467,000 and $780,000 when it hits the auction block.”
Although the Beatles signed their first contract in January of 1962, Epstein never actually put ink to paper. Since the band’s first drummer Pete Best left the band and Ringo Starr joined in August of the same year, followed by the Beatles getting a record deal with EMI, Epstein and the group drew up the first official five-year contract in October, sealing their relationship.
The document happens to be the only management contract that was ever signed by all four members of the Beatles and Epstein, and was penned just four days before the band dropped its first single, “Love Me Do,” The Daily Mirror reported. Dr. Gabriel Heaton, a director who specializes in books and manuscripts for Sotheby’s told the Mirror the contract represents what was probably the most pivotal moment in the Beatles’ career.
“Without this contract, and the relationship it represents, it seems inconceivable that the Beatles could have achieved all that they did: It took more than inspired musicianship and song-writing to remake popular music.”
Heaton goes on to remind readers of the integral role of manager Brian Epstein, who passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 1967. He was involved in every aspect of the Beatles and how they developed as a band – including their look and their sound – both as a group and individually.
“The presentation, direction, and internal harmony of the Beatles all owed a huge amount to Brian Epstein. He was, as Paul McCartney has acknowledged, the Fifth Beatle.”
According to the terms of the contract that is coming up for auction later this month, Epstein received 10 percent commission on the Beatles’ earnings – up to around $600 a week – after which it jumped to 20 percent on earnings between roughly $600 and $1,200 – only to be capped at 25 percent on anything the band earned above and beyond that.
Sotheby’s Rock & Pop exhibition is also offering bidders access to original signed copies of the Please Please Me and Meet the Beatles LPs, as well as a rare numbered copy of The White Album, Eric Clapton’s 2009 signature Fender Stratocaster and a typed copy of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” that is complete with Bob Dylan’s own handwritten notes.
[Photo by Michael Webb / Stringer / Getty Images]