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Rejected Beatles Demo Tape Up for Auction

Bidding to start at $29,000 for 10-song 1962 audition

The Beatles in Sweden
Keystone/Getty Images
November 23, 2012 1:20 PM ET

The Beatles audition tape that was famously rejected by Decca will be put up for auction in London next week, Reuters reports. Recorded on New Year's Day, 1962 at Decca's North London studios, the 10-song demo features drummer Pete Best, who would later be replaced by Ringo Starr.

The band, listed as the Silver Beatles on the tape, played up to 15 tracks during the session, but only 10 were chosen to record. They had traveled from Liverpool to London the night before and got lost on the way, but they still made it for the session, which was paid for by manager Brian Epstein. Decca A&R representative Dick Rowe infamously turned down the Beatles, saying, "Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein." Instead he signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, who also auditioned that day; later, Rowe did make a big signing with the Rolling Stones.

Though bootleg versions of the performances exist, the back-up master tape to be sold is unique. "The most important thing about this is the quality," said Ted Owen of the Fame Bureau, an auction house focusing on pop memorabilia. "This quality we have never heard."

Bidding for the tape will start between $29,000 and $32,000. Because the Beatles own the copyright, a commercial release is highly unlikely.

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