On Jan. 1, 1962, four musicians made the trek from Liverpool to London to meet with executives from Decca Records. Brian Epstein, a music columnist turned band manager, had hoped that his new, unsigned act would walk away with a record deal.
He was wrong.
Instead, the Silver Beatles, who later dropped the ‘Silver,’ went home with a newly cut demo and a warning that “guitar groups were on their way out.”
Hailed by the world over as being one of the worst business decisions in history, the original audition tape is being now being auctioned by a London-based firm with a starting bid of around $29,000.
John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and original drummer Pete Best performed 15 songs at the Decca session—10 of which are on the tape to be auctioned on November 27.
While plenty of bootlegs of this early session exist, Ted Owen of the Fame Bureau told Reuters that the quality of the recording will drive the sale.
“The most important thing about this is the quality,” he said. “There are bootlegs out there—horrible bootlegs—some are at the wrong speed, others are crackily and taken from a cassette off an acetate [disc].”
The songs on the tape include “Money (That’s What I want),” “Like Dreamers Do,” “Take Good Care of my Baby,” “Three Cool Cats,” and several others by American artists. The tapes come with a handwritten track list and a photograph of the fab four, which would have been used as the record sleeve.
Making the tape even more of a prize is the fact that it may have been used by Epstein to help the group eventually get signed with EMI.