The Beatles’ first contract with manager Brian Epstein is expected to sell for about £300,000 at auction.
Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and their first drummer Pete Best signed the document on 24 January 1962, before achieving worldwide fame.
“[Epstein] stopped them eating on stage,” Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at the Sotheby’s auction house, said.
“He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set.”
The document, said to have been signed by the band in the front room of Best’s mother’s house, was the first of two contracts drawn up between Epstein and The Beatles.
It gave Epstein responsibility for finding the band work, and managing their schedule and publicity.
He was also to oversee “all matters concerning clothes, make-up and the presentation and construction of the artists’ acts and also on all music to be performed”.
Mr Heaton said: “He was just blown away by the passion, the energy, the charisma, the raw sexuality on stage.
“They had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them.”
The band’s previous manager, Allan Williams, had warned Epstein “they’ll let you down”.
- The Liverpool-born manager was in charge of the record section of his family’s shop, North End Music Stores, when he first saw The Beatles at the city’s Cavern Club
- After signing the band, he changed their image from leather jackets and jeans to suit and ties
- Epstein managed other Merseyside acts, including Cilla Black, and Gerry and The Pacemakers
- He died in 1967, aged 32, following a drug overdose – the inquest ruled it as an accidental death
However, Epstein did not sign the contract himself, saying “even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100% faith in myself to help The Beatles adequately”.
“I wanted to free The Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off,” he said.
The contract outlines that Epstein’s fee would be 10%, rising to 15% if their earnings should exceed £120 a week – McCartney had negotiated the maximum limit down from 20%.
Following Best’s departure from the band, another contract was signed on 1 October 1962 with Ringo Starr as drummer – and Epstein’s cut at a higher percentage.
The original contract, from the collection of Epstein’s publisher Ernest Hecht, is being auctioned for the first time next month.
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THE BEATLES Beatle Talk (1978 Japanese-only vinyl LP, featuring a recording of the band's press conference in Vancouver, Canada in August 1964 and an extract from an inteview given in Seattle, Washington in 1966, housed in a pasted picture sleeve including illustrated 8-page booklet with transcriptions of both recordings in English and Japanese. The sleeve displays minimal wear and the vinyl looks barely played PK-18001)
- The Beatles - Rarities - Japanese - vinyl LP - £35.00, $47.60, €39.20 (New Item) (arrived 02-Mar-2021 12:42)on March 2, 2021 at 2:10 pm
THE BEATLES Rarities (1980 Japanese 15-track LP, housed in a gatefold picture sleeve which has the famous 'Butcher sleeve' photograph inside, with a fold-out illustrated lyric insert. The sleeve displays just light wear whilst the vinyl looks barely played EAS-81325)
- The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night - Promo Stickered - Japanese - vinyl LP - Promo - £54.99, $74.79, €61.59 (New Item) (arrived 02-Mar-2021 11:41)on March 2, 2021 at 2:10 pm
THE BEATLES A Hard Day's Night (2003 Japanese promo sample issue of the exclusive Strictly Limited Edition 13-track Direct Metal Mastered issue of the 1964 mono vinyl LP, picture sleeve complete with Japanese/English text lyric insert & retro obi-strip. This example has a promo sticker attached to the back of the sleeve, and one of the labels, this also remains in a fantastic 'near as new' condition! TOJP-60133)
- The Beatles - Help! [Stereo] - Promo Stickered - Japanese - vinyl LP - Promo - £54.99, $74.79, €61.59 (New Item) (arrived 02-Mar-2021 11:47)on March 2, 2021 at 2:10 pm
THE BEATLES Help! [Stereo] (2004 Japanese promo sample issue of the exclusive Strictly Limited Edition 14-track digitally remastered vinyl LP, released as part of the Direct Metal Mastered Vinyl Reissue Series, presented in superb picture sleeve complete with Japanese/English text lyric insert + retro Odeon style blue obi-strip. This example has a promo sticker attached to the back of the sleeve, and one of the labels, this also remains in a fantastic 'near as new' condition! TOJP-60135)
- The Beatles - Live! At The Star Club In Hamburg, Germany; 1962 - Sealed - Japanese - 2-LP vinyl set - Promo - £125.00, $170.00, €140.00 (New Item) (arrived 02-Mar-2021 11:55)on March 2, 2021 at 2:10 pm
THE BEATLES Live! At The Star Club In Hamburg, Germany; 1962 (1985 Japanese promo sample issue of the limited edition 32-track double LP. recorded during the band's residency at the Star Club in Hamburg; blue & gold individually numbered gatefold picture sleeve with a promo sticker attached to the back, complete with lyric insert, bonus 7" and red obi-strip. This example remains factory sealed from new, therefore is in an unplayed condition ULS-1918~19)