The Beatles For Sale: The Beatles’ first recording contract was sold at auction in New York for $75,000.
It was released under the band name Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, but caught the attention of Brian Epstein, who became the band’s manager.
The six-page contract allowed the Beatles to record as Tony Sheridan’s backup band under the name The Beat Brothers. They recorded an album and the single “My Bonnie.”
The album also captured the first Beatles original recorded song, the instrumental “Cry for a Shadow,” written by John Lennon and George Harrison. The song was in the style of the band The Shadows.
The Beatles signed the contract during their early days in Hamburg, Germany in order to record with Tony Sheridan.
The Beatles contract was signed in 1961 by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and then-drummer Peter Best.
The Beatles contract is expected to fetch about $150,000 when it goes to auction in New York next month.
The contract is written in German. It is part of a collection of Beatles memorabilia assembled by the late German record producer Uwe Blaschke. The Blaschke collection includes photos, documents and autographs in the early 1960s.
Uwe Blaschke, a German graphic designer and Beatles historian, died in 2010.
The contract was called “perhaps the most historically important Beatles document to ever appear at auction” by Dean Harmeyer, consignment director at Heritage Auctions.
“Without this contract, which directly led to their involvement with (manager) Brian Epstein, the Beatles may have never been able achieve their later success as a recording group. And at the time it was a momentous career milestone – they’d finally secured an actual recording deal, something they had only dreamed of before ‘My Bonnie’,” Harmeyer said in a statement.
The “My Bonnie” contract is expected to sell for $150,000.
The Beatles were paid about $80 for the session,
The Beatles bassist at the time was Stuart Sutcliffe, but Paul McCartney played bass on the record. The single “My Bonnie” was released by Polydor records. The record caught the eye of NEMS head Brian Epstein, who took time from running record stores to become the Beatles’ manager.