Police in England and the Netherlands say that raids they conducted Friday may have unearthed lost original Beatles recordings. Five men were arrested, two in London and three south of Amsterdam, where the more than 500 tapes were found.
“We’re currently investigating whether they really are the originals, but it appears to be so,” Robert Meulenbroek, spokesperson for the public prosecutor in Amsterdam, told press.
The tapes are thought to contain material from the legendary 1969 “Get Back” sessions, an album the Beatles abandoned. Phil Spector later reconstructed material from hundreds of hours of sessions and added overdubs to produce the Beatles’ 1970 swan song, Let It Be.
Police claim the tapes were stolen in the Seventies, but, if so, not many people even knew they were missing. Paul Freundlich, spokesperson for former Beatle Paul McCartney called the discovery “fascinating,” but did not know the likelihood of the tapes being authentic. “There have been things found [in the past] though,” he added.
If the tapes are real, it would be a case of life imitating art, as “The Beatles Album No One Will Ever Hear,” a fiction piece in the September 17, 1970 edition of Rolling Stone, dramatized three men’s stealing of a lost Beatles album from these same sessions called Hot As Sun.
According to Meulenbroek, the authentication process could take awhile. “There are about 500 tapes, so there’s quite a bit to research,” he said.