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The Beatles’ first contract with manager Brian Epstein – marking the start of their transformation into world-conquering pop band – is going under the hammer.

Epstein signed up Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best – the band’s first drummer – on January 24 1962, just two months after he first heard them play. The paperwork, from “before any of the music that we know and love”, could fetch £300,000 at Sotheby’s. Later dubbed the “fifth Beatle”, Epstein had no experience of band management and was running a record shop when he took up the Liverpool band. Sotheby’s Books And Manuscripts specialist Gabriel Heaton described the contract as “an important piece of our cultural history” and a “transformative document”.

Epstein was determined to represent The Beatles after hearing them at The Cavern Club in Liverpool and became “hugely important” in their transformation, shaping the band. “He was just blown away by the passion, the energy, the charisma, the raw sexuality on stage,” Mr Heaton told the Press Association. “They had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them. “He stopped them eating on stage. He made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set. He ensured that they actually made it to gigs.” The document gave Epstein responsibility for finding the band work, managing their schedule, publicity and “all matters concerning clothes, make-up and the presentation and construction of the artists’ acts and also on all music to be performed”. But Epstein did not sign the contract, 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”.

A previous manager, Allan Williams, had advised Epstein “they’ll let you down” and “don’t touch them with a f*****g bargepole”. Epstein entered the band’s lives when they were in danger of losing momentum and they were “getting a bad reputation for turning up late, for generally being brash and loud”.

The contract states Epstein’s fee would be 10% rising to 15% if their earnings should exceed £120 a week, with McCartney negotiating the upper percentage down from 20%. Before getting the group signed up, Epstein did not know what a contract should look like.“He asked a record company contact to send a sample because he’d never managed a band before,” Mr Heaton said. “He said he was shocked by the terms, said that the sample contract had been drawn up by people ‘who knew more about a fast buck than does a slow doe’. He made sure this was a much fairer contract.”

The document, said to have been signed in Best mother’s front room, is one of two contracts drawn up between Epstein and The Beatles. Following Best’s departure from the band, a new contract was signed on October 1 1962 with Ringo Starr as drummer – and Epstein’s cut is higher. “It’s Brian Epstein who is asked by the others to do the deed on Pete and tell him he’s out,” Mr Heaton said.

The contract, from the collection of Epstein’s publisher Ernest Hecht, is being auctioned for the first time, in Sotheby’s English Literature Online sale which runs from July 1-9.



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New film ‘Yesterday’ by Danny Boyle forces viewers to imagine life without The Beatles. Yesterday, written by Richard Curtis, was shown in Liverpool last month ahead of its official release on 28 June.

Imagined life without the Fab Four? Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis are about to release their new movie ‘Yesterday’ which lets you do just that.
Yesterday, is a film in which struggling musician Jack finds he is the only person to remember the songs of John, Paul, George and Ringo, it was shown in the city in May, a month ahead of its official release date.
Parts of the new film were filmed in Liverpool, and the movie is released during the 30th anniversary year of Liverpool Film Office which last year alone brought 366 different film and TV projects to our city.
Written by Curtis and directed by Boyle, the movie follows Jack, played by Eastenders’ actor Himesh Patel, as he wakes from a freak accident to find no one else in the world remembers the songs made famous by The Beatles.
Starting from the house he shares with his parents, played by Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar, in Suffolk, Jack travels to Moscow, Los Angeles and then on a magical mystery tour to Liverpool as the world reacts to hearing the famous songs for the first time.

Ed Sheeran plays himself in the movie, changing the lyrics to one of the group’s most famous ballads to “hey dude”, and it also features a cameo from James Corden.
Downton Abbey actress Lily James plays Jack’s manager and best friend, while Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon stars as his money-obsessed manager.
The hometown of The Beatles is another of the film’s stars, with famous locations such as Penny Lane and Strawberry Field featured, as well as the city’s Pier Head, Lime Street train station and the Mersey Tunnel.
As Patel sings his way through much of the band’s extensive back catalogue, former Coronation Street actress Sarah Lancashire sums up the situation near the film’s end when she says: “A world without The Beatles is a world that’s infinitely worse.”

Introducing the film at s special screening in May, Liverpool’s deputy mayor Wendy Simon said: “The film does celebrate the musical legacy of The Beatles which is really important for us as a city.
“The Beatles bring hundreds of thousands of people to this city year in and year out.”
She added: “Last year was our busiest year yet for film and TV production and we’re delighted Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis decided to shoot on location here in our city, proving once again Liverpool has established itself as a world class destination for film.”






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With only a week to go until this year’s Isle of Wight Festival, organisers have today announced a new immersive virtual reality experience dedicated to The Beatles. “Become The Beatles” will allow fans the opportunity to learn more about the Fab Four and witness Beatlemania through the eyes of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The festival has announced it is teaming up with The Beatles Story in Liverpool to premiere their VR experience dedicated to the band. Diane Glover, Marketing Manager at The Beatles Story, said: “We are very excited to be launching our new virtual reality experience at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival on the anniversary of The Beatles’ visit there in the summer of ’69.“What better way to celebrate this occasion by giving festival-goers the chance to virtually become one of The Beatles, playing to an audience of adoring fans on our award-winning attraction’s replica Cavern Stage.”

The experience will be available across the weekend and will be located in Strawberry Fields. The Isle of Wight Festival returns on 13 June until 16.


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Exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society Museum, is a visit impressively thorough traveling exhibit about the Fab Four’s early, touring years. The exhibit remains on display through Nov. 12 — featuring rare American tour memorabilia, TV and film clips, audio interviews with Beatles, their professional colleagues and their star-struck fans; there are even a couple of interactive opportunities to sit in for Ringo on drums and vocals.

Museum marketing manager Rachel Randles said music lovers of every age have been pouring through the door. The music and story of The Beatles just never seems to get old, she said.
“They are a powerful, multigenerational force,” Randles said. “We’ve been amazed to see a huge uptick in visitors since this exhibit opened.”
On a weekday afternoon, most exhibit visitors were sufficiently gray on top to cherish their own firsthand memories of Beatlemania, a disease that infected much of the world from 1964 to 1966.
“As they matured, so did I,” said Jill Hibbs, visiting from Oregon City, Ore.“I’m going to have to go back and listen again,” said Joan Smith of Portland, a married mom who couldn’t afford to buy records in those days — but who vividly remembers dancing with her children when The Beatles rocked her radio. “The Beatles are deep in my soul,” she said.

Some of the artifacts in this exhibit are large as life and instantly recognizable. A stage set of the band’s guitars and drums is arranged in proper iconic fashion, with George and John’s electric six-strings pointed this way, left-handed Paul’s violin bass pointed that way, Ringo’s shiny, miniature Ludwig drum kit behind. See the tan jacket (complete with sheriff’s star) that Paul wore at the record-setting Shea Stadium concert as well as at the Portland show, and the black jacket sported by Ringo while ambling across Abbey Road for that famous album cover. (The exhibit provides an Abbey Road backdrop for you to amble across too, while your bandmates snap photos.)

Other artifacts: many autograph cards, newspaper stories, concert programs and gold records are a few song lists that were hand-scrawled by different Beatles and affixed to the edges of their guitars for quick reference. (Also here, in Paul’s hand on Atlantic City hotel stationery, is a draft of lyrics for a real non-hit, “What You’re Doing”)
The exhibit even features a grab bag of artifacts from the Beatles’ own heroes and influences, including a guitar played by blues master B.B. King and, amazingly, the 1959 death certificate for Buddy Holly.

Look carefully for a couple of telling historical details. One concert-tour contract includes this rider: “The artists will not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience.” If you saw Ron Howard’s great Beatles-on-tour film, “Eight Days a Week,” you saw both Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney expressing outrage at the very idea of dividing fans by skin color.



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In 2014, John Lennon’s 1962 Gibson J160e guitar, once thought lost, was discovered in San Diego at Marc Intravaia’s Sorrento Valley Sanctuary Art and Music Studio. The following year, it went up for one of the most publicized auctions in Beatles history. However, “Once the story broke on Reuters, there was quite a few awful comments about my friend [John McCaw, the guitar’s owner] from people not knowing the whole story,” Intravaia told the Reader at the time. “He bought it in 1969 from a friend and never knew what he had until he brought it to me last August.”

John McCaw bought the mildly beat-up Gibson acoustic from a friend for $175, in a transaction at the Blue Guitar shop, then located in Old Town. “John joined my Tuesday night Potluck Players instructional jam group in 2009,” says Intravaia, “and would bring along his now vintage Gibson from time to time, and we would take turns strumming this instrument while noting its fantastic action – string height and playability – and pretty tone.”

At one of the guitar workshops in April 2014, McCaw spotted a stack of guitar magazines. “Sitting on top was an edition of Guitar Aficionado with George Harrison’s son Dhani on the cover and given to me by group member Peter. Featured inside was a collection of George’s iconic Beatles guitars and it piqued John’s interest, so he asked if he could borrow it. If the magazine had been underneath another magazine we might not have discovered the historical guitar.” McCaw noted Harrison’s guitar was only four serial numbers away from his Gibson, and concluded they were probably made on the same day in 1962. “Nothing more was thought or said about this, and he would continue to bring it to the Tuesday night gathering every so often.”

Four months later, in late August 2014, Intravaia says “[John McCaw] came into my office with his old Gibson and had a very serious look on his face. I asked him what he wanted to work on and he said he didn’t want a lesson. He told me he had a hunch and a few questions regarding his guitar and asked if I could help him investigate.”

Research had revealed that John and George bought identical Gibson J160e acoustic/electric guitars in September 1962 at a Liverpool music store called Rushworth’s. Within a couple of days of the purchases, the Beatles were at London’s EMI studios recording “P.S. I Love You,” followed by “Love Me Do.” Lennon probably used his Gibson on multiple recordings between 1962 and 1963, including their first two albums, Please Please Me and With the Beatles. It’s believed the guitar was used while writing songs such as “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Please, Please, Me,” “All My Loving,” “From Me to You,” “This Boy,” and more, and the guitar was also part of their touring gear.

“He [McCaw] had read that at some point between September 1962 and December 1963, they swapped instruments for reasons unknown,” says Intravaia, “and that John’s guitar went missing after a series of December 1963 Christmas shows in London at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park.””John then brought out the picture of the George Harrison guitar from the magazine and pointed out some obvious wear behind the sound hole. John M’s guitar had those same scratches, but much more pronounced, and he also said that in many pictures he noticed that John had strummed behind the sound hole, and since John had played both guitars for a year he might have put those marks on his guitar.”

Intravaia found video of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” from November 1963. “I propped John’s guitar up to my desk next to the computer and hit play.” He immediately noted several remarkable similarities between the guitar Lennon was playing and McCaw’s guitar.

“The first 28 seconds don’t reveal much, just long shots which aren’t helpful at all. Then at 29 seconds, the camera goes in for a close-up, and that’s when we started seeing similarities. At 30 seconds, I note that the studio lights are showing one particular one inch fishhook scratch at around 11 o’clock on the guitar. We stopped the video and I pointed out that his guitar has that same peculiar scratch.””We continued the video and also noted the dark triangle marks above and behind the sound hole, as well as another light colored mark below and behind the sound hole. John pointed out scratches above the soundhole on both his guitar, John Lennon’s guitar, and the magazine photo of George’s guitar. John M.’s instrument had those same marks.”

“I headed into my friend Eve Selis’ next door studio office where she teaches voice and Eve’s husband Tom Gulotta happened to be there. Tom works for David Peck’s music video archive company Reelin’ in the Years, and they have access to tons of high definition videos that aren’t available to the public.” Gulotta picks up the story in an online post. “He brought me in, and I recognized the YouTube video as coming from the Reelin’ in the Years archive. I also thought the scratches seemed to match, so I took some photos and, the next day at work, I asked RITY president David Peck about the footage and he found the master tape for me.””I put it up on my machine and went to the version of ‘This Boy’ from the same TV broadcast [as ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’] which was not on YouTube. It starts with an extreme closeup on John’s tortoise shell pick guard. I captured a still image and compared it to the picture I had taken the night before. It was a very solid match. No two tortoise shell pick guards are identical, kinda like fingerprints, so that provided hard evidence. I was completely convinced. I sent the still image to Marc and his daughter, Sierra Thernes, and created a side-by-side comparison shot which made it very plain. This was the same pick guard.”

This led to Intravaia contacting the official Beatles gear expert Andy Babiuk on August 22, 2014, in a message reproduced here with permission:

“Hi Andy, this is a shot in the dark, but a friend of mine owns a Gibson 160E that he bought in 1969 from a friend in San Diego. He brought it to me last night after reading an article about George’s guitars in a magazine and noticed the serial numbers are only a few apart. John’s Serial number was 73157. George’s serial number was 73161. After looking at a few videos we couldn’t help but notice the remarkable similarities. Watch the I Want to Hold Your Hand video from 1963. You’ll notice the light reflecting off of some scratches in photo 3 that appear to be the same. The way John strummed behind the bridge and left those deep marks are the same. Might not be the one but it’s been fun speculating.”

The next day, Babiuk replied “Hi Marc, what is the serial number of this guitar. Do you have better photos of the face of the guitar and fingerboard? Thanks!” That led to a phone call that ended with both men feeling elated, but cautious.“He [Andy Babiuk] made it very clear that this might be a forgery and that he needed better pictures of the wood grain, because, in his words, ‘the wood grain is the DNA of the guitar,’” says Intravaia. With Babiuk holding all the original records and receipts for Lennon and Harrison’s Rushworth’s guitar purchases, his would be the definitive word on whether this was or wasn’t John Lennon’s long-lost Gibson.”John brought the guitar over to my house and my daughter Sierra started shooting. We searched for the best light, and our neighbors must have wondered why we were laying this old scratched up guitar on a towel in the driveway while fussing over camera angles. Sierra took over a hundred pictures of the instrument, and I sent the best pictures to Andy and waited for a response.”

Intravaia was delighted when “I received a call from Andy confirming that it was John Lennon’s guitar.” Julien’s Auction House in Beverly Hills agreed to auction the Gibson over the first weekend of November 2015. The company’s owner, Darren Julien, called it “one of biggest finds in music history,” stating in the press release that its sale may exceed the $965,000 earned in 2013 for an electric guitar owned by Bob Dylan.Before the auction, the guitar went on its own tour of sorts, appearing that summer at the Grammy Awards Beatlemania Exhibition at LBJ Library in Austin TX from mid-through-late June, and at the Grammy Museum in LA, where it remained on display from July 2 through September 7.

In advance of the impending auction, a few locals had the opportunity to play the Lennon guitar: Marc DeCerbo (Four Eyes), Christopher Leyva (Falling Doves), and Bart Mendoza (the Shambles). “I can honestly say it was one of my life’s high points,” says Mendoza. After strumming a Lennon/McCartney tune, “Bad to Me,” he says, “What brought the whole thing sort of full circle for me was that I played one of my own songs on it, ‘You Still Take My Breath Away.’ It’s been almost five decades since the Beatles influence hit me, and to be able to play one of my own tunes on one of the instruments that changed the world, it’s an unbelievable feeling that I will always carry with me.”Leyva recalls of the distinctive wear marks, “I saw every scar, every cut, the frustration and his heavy hand strumming. Almost like a brute learning to play the guitar, just like I used to. I could almost see John playing with Paul, swapping it back and forth, being played upside down. Even Ringo giving it a crack, trying to jam to Ray Charles on the radio.”Allowed to record a few original bars on his cell phone, Leyva says, “It really did something for me, man. I connected to the 18-year-old version of myself, learning the guitar and writing the first song. And, just when I got started, the man said, ‘Your time’s up.’”Intravaia says a few other lucky locals got to handle it as well. “Before the guitar was sent to the Grammy Museum’s curators on June 1, we brought it to my wife’s 4th grade classroom at Carmel Del Mar Elementary to share. We felt it was important for the children to have a personal experience with the guitar and explained that, in the future, people will only be able to see it in a museum.”

In addition, “John brought the guitar to Berkley Sound recording studio, where my group Berkley Hart Selis Twang recorded our four-part harmony version of ‘Norwegian Wood’ with it.” The guitar sold at auction for 2.41 million dollars.