Beatles Breakup Document Expected to Sell for $500,000
The document that released the Beatles from their recording obligations as a band has been put up for auction with an expected sale price of up to $500,000.
The auction is live on Gotta Have Rock and Roll through June 30. At the time of writing, one bid of $100,000 has been placed. The documented is ultimately estimated to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000.
Dated Dec. 29, 1974, after a delay in securing John Lennon’s signature, the contract made the Beatles' split official five years after it actually took place. It’s signed by all four members – twice by Lennon and George Harrison, acting as Apple Corps directors – and includes five clauses over two pages of text.
Confirming the “dissolution of the partnership,” the authenticated letter granted Lennon, Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr the freedom to pursue their solo careers solely and individually, while requiring unanimous approval for all matters regarding the Beatles’ finances.
Of course, the 1974 dissolution letter was merely a formality. The Beatles had effectively ceased to exist in 1969, after Lennon walked out of a meeting and told his bandmates, “I want a divorce.” The news became public in April 1970 when McCartney circulated promotional materials for his debut solo album, including a short Q&A in which he announced he was leaving the group and did not foresee a revival of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership.
"The friendship was still there. They were brothers. There was no animosity," Lennon's assistant and paramour May Pang told The New York Times in 2008. "And even though they all felt they had to break up to get to the next level of their musical careers, John had started this band that changed the world. It changed pop culture. It changed how we live and how we dress. And he knew that. So, when he sat down to sign, he knew that this was it. His was the last signature. As he had started the group, he was the one to end it."