The Beatles’ first contract with Brian Epstein is set to go on sale at auction.
The agreement between the band and their manager was signed on January 24, 1962, 14 months before they released their debut album, ‘Please Please Me’.
The contract, signed by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and original drummer Pete Best, is expected to fetch around £300,000. It is thought to have been signed in the living room at Best’s mother’s house and is the first of two contracts between the group and Epstein. A second one was signed on October 1, 1962, after Best was replaced by Ringo Starr.
Epstein did not sign the document because he “wanted to free The Beatles of their obligations if I felt they would be better off.” “Even though I knew I would keep the contract in every clause, I had not 100 percent faith in myself to help The Beatles,” he is quoted as saying.
The contract set out Epstein’s fee as 10 percent of the band’s earnings, which would rise to 15 percent if those earnings went over £120 a week. It also agreed that the manager would be responsible for finding work for the band, managing their schedule and 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.”
Gabriel Heaton, a specialist at auction house Sotheby’s, told the BBC: “[Epstein] 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 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 contract, which is from the collection of Epstein’s publisher Ernest Hecht, will be auctioned for the first time next month.
Earlier this month (June 1), “lost” footage from The Beatles’ only Top Of The Pops appearance was discovered and shown at a screening in Birmingham. Fan David Chandler used a wind-up camera to record the band’s performance of ‘Paperback Writer’ when it aired and was compelled to try and find it after hearing about the discovery of a short 11-second clip of the appearance in Mexico last month. The footage lasts for 92 seconds and has been donated to Kaleidoscope, an organisation who specialise in locating missing TV footage.