The Beatles’ First Recording Contract Fetches More Than $90,000 at Auction
The first record contract the Beatles ever signed has been sold. An unnamed buyer reportedly paid $93,750 for the six pieces of paper, which were signed in 1961 by the fledgling group.
According to Billboard, Heritage Auctions was charged with the task of selling off the estate of German Beatles collector Uwe Blaschke, and this contract was the prized possession. It commits the Beatles to back Tony Sheridan, another British act plying his trade in Hamburg, for a recording session that resulted in Sheridan's rock n' roll version of the traditional Scottish folk tune, "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."
“This is perhaps the most historically important Beatles document to ever appear at an auction,” Heritage’s Dean Harmeyer said when news of the auction was made public last month. “Without this contract, which directly led to their involvement with Brian Epstein, the Beatles may have never been able achieve their later success as a recording group. And at the time it was a momentous career milestone — they’d finally secured an actual recording deal, something they had only dreamed of before ‘My Bonnie.’”
The group were paid about $20 each for the work, however, it wound up paying extremely large dividends in the long run. Beatles lore says that one day in late-1961, a customer came into NEMS music store in Liverpool asking for the single, which was only available in Germany. The manager, Brian Epstein, was unaware of its existence and went to the Cavern Club to check out the band. Two months later, Epstein became their manager and helped turn them into international rock stars.
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