Unearthed George Harrison letter discussing scrapped Beatles recording sessions sells for £13,000

The letter reveals the Beatles axed plans to record at Stax, without regular producer George Martin

A previously unseen George Harrison letter, which reveals that The Beatles scrapped plans to record at Stax Studio with producer Jim Stewart, has sold for $20,000 (£13,000).

The letter, written in 1966 to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew as The Beatles began work on ‘Revolver’, was obtained by a Los Angeles-based rock collectibles dealer, who has put it on sale for $20,000 (£13,000).

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Written on May 7, 1966, the letter (read here) reveals that The Beatles seriously considered breaking from regular producer and “fifth Beatle” George Martin to record with Jim Stewart at the famed Stax Studio in Memphis. “We would all like it a lot,” Harrison wrote, “but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word ‘Beatles,’ and so it fell through!”

Collectibles dealer Jeff Gold acquired the letter from Paul Drew’s widow, shortly after the influential DJ’s death in 2013. Gold told Rolling Stone: “When I read the Stax part I was like, ‘What the hell is this?'” says Gold. “I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this stuff, and I knew it was a major revelation.”

The letter also reveals Harrison’s awareness that their US label Capitol would release odds-and-ends album ‘Yesterday And Today’, previously thought to have been released without the band’s prior knowledge.

Meanwhile, George Harrison’s Maton Mastersound guitar recently sold for $485,000 (£308,000) at auction. The late Beatle played the instrument at nearly a dozen gigs in July and August 1963, including a hometown show in Liverpool.

According to Julien’s Auctions, the Maton guitar was loaned to Harrison by Barratts Music Store to use while his famous Country Gent was being repaired. It was later bought by Roy Barber, guitarist with Dave Berry and The Cruisers, who was informed of its previous owner. Barber played the instrument for several years until he retired it to storage where it stayed for two decades. Following Barber’s death, his widow auctioned the guitar at Sotheby’s in 2002.

This latest auction took place at New York’s Hard Rock Café, Rolling Stone reports. Other items to go under the hammer included a black sequined glove that belonged to Michael Jackson, the leotard and bra worn by Britney Spears in the video for ‘Overprotected’, and Elvis Presley’s marriage certificate to Priscilla Beaulieu and tour bus. But it was used guitar that sold for the highest bid.

The item didn’t, however, top the £390,653 fetched a year ago by Harrison’s black and white 1962 Rickenbacker 425. He bought that guitar in Mount Vernon, Illinois in 1963 and played it during performances that same year on shows Ready Steady Go! and Thank Your Lucky Stars. It was also used in the studio during the recording of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘This Boy’ in October 1963.