Rare Beatles Audition Tape Heads To Auction, Veracity Remains Uncertain

beatles audition tape 2012

A rare Beatles audition tape rumored to be the one that prompted the music exec who predicted the band to have no future to reject the opportunity to sign them is set to go to auction, and starting bids for the newly unearthed bit of Beatlemania will begin at $30,000.

The Beatles audition tape has long been a known artifact in Beatles history, but one that is not entirely confirmed to inhabit a storied space of Beatles lore. The demo was recorded in January, 1962, predating even the replacement of Pete Best with Ringo Starr as drummer.

Now a famous bit of music apocrypha, the Beatles audition tape is said to have inspired one unlucky label exec to dismiss the band and tell Beatles manager Brian Epstein that “guitar groups are on their way out,” adding that the Fab Four “[had] no future in show business.” Whoops.

But the New York Times points out that the tape itself is not one lost to history in its content, as versions ranging in quality have been available to Beatles fans for years. But the paper points out that the Beatles’ audition tape — reportedly a first generation backup to the master copy — is not entirely verified to be what it appears to be:

“[The Beatles audition tape contains] 10 of the 15 songs that the Beatles are known to have played that day. The whereabouts of the recording for the last 50 years are not clear and even a cursory examination of what’s being auctioned raises questions about its authenticity … At the insistence of Epstein the band performed not only hard-charging up-tempo rockers like Chuck Berry’s ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ and ‘Money (That’s What I Want),’ the Barrett Strong hit, but also easy-going pop standards like ‘Besame Mucho’ and even ‘The Sheik of Araby.’”

Do you think that regardless of the Beatles audition tape’s veracity, it will sell for big bucks at auction?