The Beatles’ first contract with manager Brian Epstein sells at auction for £275k

A piece of Fab Four history

The first contract that tied The Beatles to their legendary manager Brian Epstein has sold at auction for a staggering £275,000.

In January 1962, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and original Fab Four drummer Pete Best signed their first management contract with Brian Epstein, which promised a fee of 10%, rising to 15% if their income exceeded £120 a week. The rise was originally set at 20 percent, before McCartney managed to successfully wangle it down.

All four were under 21 at the time, which meant they had to secure their parents’ permission to sign the contract. Now, the document has gone under the hammer to raise money for the Ernest Hecht Charitable Foundation.

Epstein first discovered the band during a performance at the now legendary Cavern Club in November 1961 and freed them from a German recording deal and a contract with Polydor, before signing them to EMI’s Parlophone.

They then signed a second contract in October 1962, permitting Best to take a higher percentage of their earnings after Best was replaced with drummer Ringo Starr.

Sotheby’s specialist Gabriel Heaton said: “Epstein was just blown away by the passion, the energy, the charisma, the raw sexuality on stage,” he said.

“The Beatles had the stage energy but he instilled a sense of professionalism in them. Epstein stopped them eating on stage, made sure they played the songs properly and coherently, and he got them bowing at the end of a set.”

Meanwhile, Stella McCartney unveiled a new Beatles fashion collection earlier this week.