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.
Explore eil.com… the world’s best online store for rare, collectable and out of print Vinyl Records, CDs & Music memorabilia since 1987.
EIL.COM Favourite Music Update Rare CDs, CD Singles, Rare Records, Vinyl Records, Albums and Music
- The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour EP - 1st - solid - UK - 7" vinyl - £100.00, $141.00, €116.00 (New Item) (arrived 11-May-2021 14:42)on May 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
THE BEATLES Magical Mystery Tour EP (Rare 1967 UK first press 6-track mono 7" double EP with solid centre 'Sold In UK' labels, complete with the front laminated gatefold picture booklet with blue lyric sheets & internal flipbacks & plain whitedie-cut inners with the original 'wavy top' design. The packaging shows minimal age wear & the vinyl is Excellent with merely the odd faint paper hairline not affecting play MMT1)
- The Beatles - Free As A Bird - UK - 7" vinyl - £25.00, $35.25, €29.00 (New Item) (arrived 06-May-2021 16:35)on May 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
THE BEATLES Free As A Bird (1995 UK limited edition injection moulded 7" vinyl single, also including Christmas Time [Is Here Again]. Both the glossy picture sleeve and vinyl remain in near 'as new' condition R6422)
- The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour - 1988 - UK - vinyl LP - £25.00, $35.25, €29.00 (New Item) (arrived 04-May-2021 16:47)on May 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
THE BEATLES Magical Mystery Tour (1988 UK issue of the 1967 11-track vinyl LP, barcoded gatefold sleeve with twenty four page full colour picture booklet. The sleeve shows minor shelfwear & the vinyl remains near 'as new' with few signs of play PCTC255)
- The Beatles - Revolver - DMM - UK - vinyl LP - £30.00, $42.30, €34.80 (New Item) (arrived 04-May-2021 16:49)on May 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
THE BEATLES Revolver (1988 UK Direct Metal Mastered stereo issue of the classic 1966 14-track vinyl LP, barcoded picture sleeve. The sleeve shows minimal shelfwear & the vinyl remains near 'as new' with few signs of play PCS7009)
- The Beatles - Help! - All Rights - UK - vinyl LP - £20.00, $28.20, €23.20 (New Item) (arrived 05-May-2021 09:35)on May 11, 2021 at 6:11 pm
THE BEATLES Help! (1981 UK stereo issue of the 1965 14-track LP on the two EMI boxed logo label with 'All Rights' perimeter text, glossy non barcoded picture sleeve. The sleeve shows minimal wear & the vinyl looks barely played PCS3071)