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Beatles' "Bigger Than Jesus" Press Conference Heads to Auction

May 12, 2010 10:03 AM ET

A 14-minute reel-to-reel tape featuring a 1966 Beatles press conference will hit the block this June at a Los Angeles auction house. The Q&A session, which went down August 17th, 1966 at Toronto's King Edward Hotel, is the stuff of Fab Four lore: John Lennon is asked about his controversial statement that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and Lennon and McCartney joke about how long they expect the quartet to remain a band. The tape, which is the only known recording of the press conference, is estimated to sell for about $20,000, Reuters reports.

"We're obviously not gonna go around holding hands forever," Lennon told reporters when asked how long the Beatles would stick together, as McCartney added, "... it would be a bit, you know, embarrassing at [age] 35." The Vietnam War and the generation gap were also discussed by the Beatles during the press conference, which was heavily covered at the time however no audio or visual records were ever available. The tape was made by a young Beatles fan who previously attempted to sell the recording in the '60s, when there was no interest. The reels sat in a drawer for 40 years, and now they'll find a new owner on June 13th at Bonhams & Butterfields.

As Rolling Stone previously reported, another much-desired Fab Four item will also go to auction this June, at a slightly higher price: John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to Sgt. Pepper's "A Day in the Life" are expected to sell for between $500,000 and $700,000 at Sotheby's on June 18th.

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