A letter from The Beatles‘ manager is up for auction.
Brian Epstein signed up Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best – the band’s first drummer – in January 1962 after seeing a gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.But he fired Best some months later and replaced him with Ringo Starr.The letter was sent to Joe Flannery, a key figure in the Fab Four’s rise to fame.
Mr Flannery, who died last year aged 87, was the band’s booking manager between 1962 and 1963.
On 8 September 1962, Epstein wrote to tell him he had released Best from his contract. He had told the drummer three weeks earlier he had to leave the band.
Epstein wrote: “I read from the Mersey Beat [a Liverpool music publication] Pete Best has now joined The All Stars. I have sent, today, to him a certificate of release from his obligations under contract to myself.”
Epstein added that he sent “our sincere wishes for Pete’s and the group’s continued success”.
The letter was kept by Mr Flannery’s family and is now being sold by his nephew.
Best has previously spoken of how Epstein had told him at a meeting he was being sacked and replaced: “I went in happy as Larry. The last thing on my mind was that I was going to get kicked out of the Beatles,” he told a BBC documentary.
“He (Epstein) said ‘Pete, I don’t know how to tell you this – the boys want you out … It’s already been arranged that Ringo will join the band on Saturday.’
“That was the bombshell. To me, it was like disbelief … I’ll wake up in the morning and this will be all gone.”
The collection, going on sale at Omega Auctions on 27 October, also includes notes from Paul McCartney to Mr Flannery after the band broke up.
Auctioneer Paul Fairweather said: “From 1959 onwards, Joe was a close friend and associate of The Beatles and played a major part in guiding them to their meteoric rise to success in 1963.
“It is on record that they all felt bad when Pete was ousted so I am sure it was pleasing for them to see he had joined a new band.”
After playing in a number of groups, Best left the music industry to work as a civil servant for 20 years, before starting the Pete Best Band.
In 1995, he received a substantial payout from sales after The Beatles released Anthology 1, which featured early tracks with Best as drummer, including songs from their record label auditions.
A letter from Paul McCartney to Joe Flannery, part of a collection that will go under the hammer later this month.