The contract that launched the Beatles up for sale for £500,000

The Beatles at a recording session in London.
The Beatles at a recording session in London.
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IT was the contact that launched the career of the world’s biggest band.

Now the only management contract signed by the final Beatles line-up could fetch up to half a million pounds when it goes on sale for the first time.

The contract, signed by John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with manager Brian Epstein, will be up for grabs at Sotherby’s Rock and Pop sale on September 29. It was signed by the five on October 1 1962, just four days before the release of first single Love Me Do.

Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s specialist in books and manuscripts, said: “Without this contract, and the relationship it represents, it seems inconceivable that the Beatles could have achieved all that they did: it took more than inspired musicianship and song-writing to remake popular music.

“The presentation, direction, and internal harmony of the Beatles all owed a huge amount to Brian Epstein. He was, as Paul McCartney has acknowledged, the Fifth Beatle.”

Prior to this contract, the band, which then included Pete Best as drummer instead of Ringo Starr, had signed a contract with Epstein. But following Best’s replacement with Starr, they then drafted the new contract.

It reveals several quirks - including that Epstein was only appointed manager for five years. He would receive 10 per cent commission on their earnings up to £400 a week, 20 per cent between £400 and £800, and 25 per cent for anything more than that which they earned.

They also added a clause that stated members of the band could be kicked out “should two or more of them desire to remove one or more of the other Artists.”