Sheet music, recording contracts, unseen photos and handwritten lyrics to go on sale
Rare archive material documenting the first 20 years of The Beach Boys‘ career will go up for auction in London next month.
The treasure trove was discovered in a storage facility in Florida in 2000, and is thought to be one of the biggest collections of music memorabilia to ever be put up for sale. It features manuscripts and sheet music for around 150 songs, recording contracts, previously unseen photographs and handwritten lyrics and letters.
There’s a reserve price of almost £7m, ensuring whoever buys the lot will have to spend a record-breaking amount for a single collection of this kind. It was discovered during a blind auction at a storage facility in Florida in 2000 and later sold to a private company as part of a larger sale after several years of prolonged legal disputes.
Alan Boyd, Beach Boys archivist and expert, said: “This historic collection, containing many of the Beach Boys’ own publishing documents along with assorted handwritten musical pieces, vintage legal papers, and various promotional and personal items from their early years, presents a priceless look into the inner workings of this legendary group.
“Historical artefacts like Brian Wilson and Mike Love’s signatures on the original songwriter agreements for their 1968 classic ‘Do It Again’, for example, or the original publisher’s lead sheet for ‘Help Me, Rhonda’, and even the Beach Boys’ own copy of the Library of Congress copyright certificate for ‘Good Vibrations’ – these take on a significance that the people who generated them could scarcely have dreamed of back in the early 1960s.”
The Beach Boys themselves confirmed knowledge of the sale, but have declined to comment further. They’re apparently unsure how so much archive material came to be in a remote storage unit, although it is believed to have been there since the early 1980s.
Ted Owen, the chief executive of Fame Bureau which is auctioning off the archive, said: “The finding of this huge archive is probably one of the great rescue stories in contemporary music history. This written record of The Beach Boys’ creativity represents the largest and most valuable collection of its kind ever to reach an auction room.”
The collection will be previewed in New York on April 15 and at the Hard Rock Café in London on April 18.