The drum kit that contributed a cheerful backbeat to a version of the Beatles‘ “Love Me Do” will be auctioned off on Thursday in California by Nate D. Sanders Auctions, according to Reuters. Bidding for the kit will begin at $150,000.
“This is a piece of rock history,” auction house manager Michael Kirk told Reuters. “There is only one drum kit that was there that day that this first track was laid down – the track that launched the Beatles.”
Though the Fab Four used this Ludwig set to record “Love Me Do” with producer George Martin, Ringo Starr did not play on it – that honor went to Andy White. The Beatles had already hired Starr, but they had not had the chance to audition him yet, so Martin’s assistant, Ron Richards, asked White to handle the drums. Starr played tambourine.
“Love Me Do” was the first single by the Beatles to hit No. 1 in the U.S. White also drummed on the “Love Me Do” B-Side, “P.S. I Love You.”
According to a statement from Nate D. Sanders Auctions, three different versions of “Love Me Do” were recorded at EMI in 1962. But the rendition with White scaled the charts in the U.S. In a 2012 interview with the BBC, he suggested that his contribution stood out. “From the drum sound I can tell that I was on [‘Love Me Do’] because it was a vastly different sound to Ringo’s drum set at that time,” he noted. “Each drummer gets an individual sound, first of all by the way they tune the drums and then by the way they play the drums.” Ringo later purchased his own Ludwig kit.