Derek Plant found the original version of the White Album track ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ in a Ken Dodd record sleeve just as he was heading to take the box the landfill
A man was stunned to discover a £10,000 rare Beatles recording that was in a pile of “rubbish” while clearing out his dad’s house after he died.
Derek Plant found the original version of the White Album track “Happiness is a Warm Gun” in a Ken Dodd record sleeve which he was about to throw into the tip.
Dad Harry bought the record in a box of old records at a car boot fair 40 years ago and didn’t realise the 7ins acetate demo recording – which that differs significantly from the final version used on the 1968 album – was in the box.
When he died in 2009, Derek was left with the records but kept the box in his garage.
Derek put the box in his van to take to the landfill and spotted the rare record just in time when the acetate disc slipped out of the sleeve of a Ken Dodd and the Diddymen LP and fell onto his drive, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Derek, 50, then saw the red handwriting on the disc label that read “Happiness is a Warm Gun in Your Hand” and the word “Beatles”.
He realised it was the original recording of the song when he put it on his record player.
A tuba thought to have been played by Paul McCartney can be heard more clearly in the demo than on the final version of the album.
It also has John Lennon singing “I Need A Fix ‘Cause I’m Going Down” twice in a row rather than just once in the final commercial release.
Its title was also different as the words “…In Your Hand” were not included in the album track.
Further research revealed the acetate was one of two made at Abbey Road Studios at the request of Paul McCartney because he wanted his girlfriend Linda to hear the song.
Derek, a dad-of-two from Fleetwood, Lancs., has now put it up for sale at an auction and it is expected to sell for more than £10,000.
He said: “I’ve collected vinyl for years and I was clearing out my garage and decided to take a stack of records to charity.
“I had a box of poor condition records which I decided to take to landfill.
“As I threw the box into the van a Ken Dodd album fell onto the drive and as I picked it up this acetate fell from the sleeve.
I knew instantly what it was, having collected the Beatles for years. The album it fell from had been part of my late father’s collection and stored in my garage for years.
“He would have picked up the whole box at a boot sale or similar in the 1980s, I doubt very much he even knew the acetate was in there. I had no idea it was there.
“Had the album not fallen from the box the acetate would never have been found and buried in landfill.
“Someone said to me it’s a museum piece, a piece of Beatles history.”
Dan Hampson, of Omega Auctions of Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, said: “This is a massive find. It is a different version of a song that ended up on the White Album and it is a quite wonderful piece of Beatles history.
“We think that it is one of two such copies in existence.
“The record is in very good condition. There are some surface marks and scuffs but it plays without any problems and with no skips or jumps.”
Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn wrote about the acetate recordings in his book ‘The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions’.
He wrote: “A tuba that happened to be in the studio was overdubbed on this day, presumably played by Paul, although its presence is nearly indecipherable in the finished product.
“The enjoyable time they had performing these overdubs, understandably, were what caused John, George and Paul to all claim that this song was their favourite on the ‘White Album’.”
According to Mr Lewisohn, after the Beatles finished recording their sound engineers made two attempts to create a usable mono mix of the track.
These weren’t deemed good enough but acetates were created from one of these mixes for John, Paul, George and Ringo to listen to.
It was later decided that some of the overdubbed sounds needed tweaking and a decision was made to place the tuba lower in the mix.
The sale takes place on September 28.