============================================================================= "The Beatles Anthology" The History and current Status of The Beatles' version of their story. (c) Copyright 1995 by Ed Chen (email@example.com) and saki (firstname.lastname@example.org) Editorial comments courtesy Allan Kozinn (email@example.com) The authors retain all copyright rights to this file -- It may be freely distributed in its entirety provided that this copyright notice is not removed. Selling of this text, including incorporation into any commercial documents without the express written consent of either of the authors is strictly forbidden by law. =============================================================================
Last Update: November 1, 1995.
The project began at some unspecified time in the early 1970's as "The Long and Winding Road," a film chronicling the story of the Beatles. Despite a reasonably finished rough cut of the film by Neil Aspinall (which supposedly heavily influenced the parody version "The Rutles"), personal and professional problems kept the project unreleased.
In the interim, some of the same footage from "L&WR" was located and used by other producers in projects such as "The Compleat Beatles (1981)," one of the most complete versions of the Fabs' history on film or video.
However, much additional footage remained, and Neil Aspinall (through Allan Kozinn reports that there was "much rarer footage" which had yet to see the light of day.
After the final settlement of the lawsuits between the remaining band members in 1989, the general concept of a filmography was one of the first projects to be revived.
To accompany the film; Paul, George and Ringo went into the studio together. The original intent was to record some incidental music for the project. When they decided to go beyond that limited scope, they agreed that they needed some Lennon "input" to truly make this a Beatles project. Yoko Ono agreed, and the day after Lennon's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she provided the band with a tape containing Lennon demos in various stages of completion. Using these demos as inspiration, the Beatles built upon Lennon's preexisting melodies and lyrics, adding harmonies, full instrumentation, and in at least one case ("Free as a Bird") additional verses.
After discussion, they eventually chose to complete three: "Free As A Bird" "Real Love" and one other Those songs were scheduled for completion by the three in February '94, February '95, and Fall '95 (respectively) with Jeff Lynne producing. George Martin was not invited to participate in the production of the new tracks because of questions concerning his hearing. Martin is still involved, adding his historical input and production knowledge to the archival material for the audio "Anthology."
Although the third track was widely reported to be "Grow Old With Me," in an interview with NYT columist Allan Kozinn, Paul McCartney claimed the third song was a previously unheard Lennon demo (of which McCartney sang a verse to Kozinn), and that there was still a strong possibility that the tune would not be finished.
To preserve the "vintage" sound of the tapes, George Martin insisted on a late-1960's / early-1970's analogue mixing board rather than modern digital equipment. This and other "Anthology" facts are revealed in an interview with Martin in the October issue of the British industry magazine "Studio Sound," and extended upon in the current issue of "EQ."
On the video front, hundreds-to-thousands of hours of footage have been viewed in preparation of the project. After one of the first screenings of the (edited) material for the Beatles, George Harrison commented to a radio reporter on the first two hours with the statement that "At the end of it, Pete Best hadn't even joined the band yet."
The final project will consist of six hours of commercial airtime (five hours of program content) to be aired around the world (in the States on ABC-TV) beginning in November 1995, according to a network affiliate.
Additional footage will be incorporated into ten hours of video, intended for sale in mid-1996 as individual and late-1996 as collective video histories. The producers of the project have been adamant to state that the videos will not simply be "an expanded version of the television series," according to Apple Spokesman Derek Taylor.
In addition to archival material, the Beatles, George Martin, Neil Aspinall, and Derek Taylor have all steadily been filming interviews, which will be liberally sprinkled throughout the project. As perhaps a subtle commentary, one of the locations where interviews were performed was Portmeiron, a small, architecturally interesting community perhaps best known as the site of the television series "The Prisoner."
The series was aired in the US on ABC as three two-hour specials, November 19,22, and 23. It is airing in Britain on ITV, also beginning November 19, but the rate of an hour a week from then until Christmas Eve.
As compensation for the extra wait, ITV's version of Anthology runs 25-30 minutes longer than the one screened on US television, with most of that time spent on more complete song sequences.
Capitol arranged for a satellite broadcast of "Free As a Bird" to be done the night of November 19. This allowed radio airplay to begin almost immediately, and may have been partially responsible for the illustrious sales start "Anthology I" had it's first week out.
In 1996, separate and collective videos will be available in an expanded format, and will be on sale at video stores in the U.S. and the UK.
Capitol records and ABC are clearly planning for Anthology to be the major event of this Christmas. Beyond the $20 million the network paid to Apple for rights to "Anthology," they have earmarked an additional $30 million for promotion and advertising. As part of the agreement, ABC was given exclusive rights to the first airing of "Free As A Bird" on November 19,1995. It will be available for sale as part of the first double CD set to accompany the "Anthology" project, on November 21.
ABC is charging advertisers roughly $300,000 per 30-second commercial, and the current rumor (from Forbes magazine) is that all spots for all three nights have been sold.
Meanwhile, Capitol has hired Steve Chamberlain away from Turner Entertainment to handle the musical end of "Anthology" promotion. Apple plans are for this project to have new releases over a 15-month period of time, and sell product through this and next Christmas. According to "Beatlefan" magazine, Chamberlain has promised a "massive reintroduction of the Beatles." This "reintroduction" will include heavy promotion on MTV and VH1 to attract "that younger demographic." This campaign has begun with ads featuring selected "Anthology" images on MTV with the tagline urging kids to "See What messed up your parents."
MTV and its sister station VH-1 have slotted "Free As A Bird" to air beginning the week of November 27. Expect the video to show up more frequently on the latter, as they (VH-1) showed more interest in the revival, devoting time to an "Anthology" preview, as well as turning over regular programming (eg: "4 on the Floor") to Beatles-related topics.
The other slogan widely seen in all advertising for "Anthology" is "You haven't heard everything yet."
The first round of promotional material, included posters, banners, flyers, buttons and other such ephemera, send to stores in large enough quantities for every fan to get at least something. Lithographs and limited edition merchandise (eg: afghans) was also supplied to stores to push "midnight madness" sales at midnight on the twentieth.
The first CD set will be made available on November 21, a Tuesday, two days after the "FaaB" world premiere. The need for confidentiality on "FaaB" forces "Anthology I" to break with tradition in several ways. Discs are usually shipped to retailers the previous week, and put on sale on Tuesday. Captiol's original plan was to use a US overnight courier to ship upwards of 2 million CD's and cassettes to CEMA (Capitol's distribution wing) outlets immediately after the Sunday airing of "FaaB", and Billboard and CEMA report that sales will begin on Tuesday. However, the San Francisco CEMA representative reports that plan has been altered because of the impending "logistical nightmare." It is now expected that the discs will go to CEMA outlets on Saturday, but that armed security will protect all product before it is delivered to retailers after the Sunday night premiere of "FaaB."
Long-time Beatle friend Klaus Voorman is the artist chosen to do the cover for the first "Anthology" CD's.
The cover for the first "Anthology" CD-set has been released, and published in places such as the LA Times and USA Today. The cover consists of a collage of photos and follows the previously announced plan that the three covers placed side by side will create a single "meta" cover. The complete image is seen briefly in the "Free As A Bird" video.
"Beatlefan/Extra" reports that the CD artwork will be replicated on the front covers of the videos, but divided into eight parts. The spines of the videos will join to create yet another illustration, this time of the band on the Ed Sullivan show.
In addition to the CD, singles from the project are planned, each likely to include 2-3 songs unique to the CD-single format. Capitol reports an edited version (3-4 minutes) of "Christmastime is Here Again," and alternates of "This Boy" and "I Saw Her Standing There" will be on the CD single.
The Molyneaux home recording from the afternoon Lennon met McCartney has reportedly been nixed from the first set as impossible to bring up to anywhere near acceptable sound quality, according to New York Times music writer Allan Kozinn.
This tape, made on July 6, 1957, captures Lennon and the Quarry Men singing Elvis Presley and Lonnie Donegan covers. When asked, Apple spokesman Derek Taylor did not even know what had become of the tape. However, it is known the tape is still in the archives, and some restoration work has been done to it. Allan Kozinn heard a cleaned up version of the tape, and found the sound quality appalling.
"The Beatles Monthly" quote McCartney describing Harrison's heretofore unreleased "You'll Know What to Do" with "It's not the greatest thing George ever wrote, but it's an undiscovered nugget. If you find a little Egyptian pot, it doesn't have to be the greatest Egyptian pot. The fact that it is Egyptian is enough."
The London Observer reports that the collection will also be available as a nine-record LP set.
The second and third volumes of "Anthology" CD's are expected in January 1996, and "late spring" of 1996 respectively. No track listings are known, but it is thought set two will cover the years 1965-67, and set three 1968-70.
Beatlefan/Extra! reports a tentative track list for the second set, although no source is given for this information.
Real Love (new original tune)
Yes It Is
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby (Shea)
She's a Woman (Shea)
I'm Looking Through You
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Within You Without You
Yesterday, take I (confirmed by McCartney on "Oobu Joobu")
And Your Bird Can Sing ("easygoing")
If You've Got Troubles (unreleased L/M song, Starr singing lead)
Granny Smith (early "Love You To" demo)
Twelve Bar Original
That Means a Lot
Magical Mystery Tour (film version)
Strawberry Fields Forever (excerpts of:)
-- Lennon demo
-- take 1
-- take 7
-- "a bit of the (Cranberry Sauce) drum track"
I'm Only Sleeping (alternate, take unknown)
Getting Better (alternate, take unknown)
I've Got a Feeling (alternate, take unknown)
Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds (alternate, take unknown)
Think For Yourself (alternate, take unknown)
A Day in the Life (created, Lennon demo + McCartney's "oh shit" middle)
Yellow Submarine ("Lands End to John o'Groats spoken intro + remixed version)
And tentatively for the third disc:
Esher Demos (possibly as many as 6-7 tracks)
Can You Take Me Back
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (acoustic)
Helter Skelter (possibly the whole, but more likely an edit of the long version)
Across the Universe
Goodbye (McCartney Demo)
Yer Blues (alternate, take unknown, not "Rock 'n Roll Circus" version)
Both the audio CD's and the videos will be released in a boxed set as well as individually. The Box set may include additional material not on the single CD's. Capitol executive VP Bruce Kirkland is quoted in "Beatlefan" as saying that this (possible bonus tracks) is "not a strategic commercial decision," but is instead only about "the Beatles telling their own story." He did indicate that it is possible the CD boxed set may be "something altogether different," and "a totally separate work." (from the individual CD's)
Capitol is considering taking a hint from bootleggers by including "unique items" in the audio and video box sets, possibly reproductions of vintage paper memorabilia (ie: softback books or magazines), a CEMA source has revealed.
Of the ancillary side, the following items have also been announced to go along with the video and CD's, according to Capitol Records:
Finally, in the "the-more-things-change, the-more-they-stay-the-same" department, expect the three former Beatles not to appear together in any publicity. Harrison has expressed a desire to do no publicity at all for the project, and indeed has agreed to interviews with reporters only via fax.
Neil Aspinall is quoted as saying "There is no need for appearances by myself or the former Beatles. Publicity (for the project) will 'just happen.'"
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Beatles rocked and rolled the competition Sunday in the first installment of ``The Beatles Anthology.'' Airing on the network that renamed itself A-Beatles-C for the event, ``Anthology'' averaged an 18.6 rating, 28 share for the two-hour period, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research figures released by ABC Monday. The network estimated more than 47 million viewers tuned in for the broadcast. In these overnight figures, which measure slightly more than half the nation's TV homes, NBC scored a 12.3 rating, 18 share for part one of its miniseries ``Dead By Sunset,'' going head-to-head with the Beatles. CBS averaged a 10.5 rating and 15 share for its TV film, ``Remember Me.'' ABC won the night overall with a 15.7 rating, 23 share. Overnight ratings measure 33 major markets, representing 53 million TV homes. That means each overnight ratings point represents 530,000 TV homes. Share is the percentage of TV sets in use at any one time that are tuned to a particular broadcast. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= NEW YORK (AP) -- Yeah, yeah, yeah -- the Fab Four still know how to sell records. The Beatles' ``Anthology I'' sold 450,000 copies in its first day of release Tuesday, the most single-day sales ever for an album, Capitol Records spokesman Paul Freundlich said. It includes the first new Beatles song in 25 years, ``Free As A Bird,'' creating by adding new tracks to a tape John Lennon made before his death. The double CD could break the one-week sales mark set by Pearl Jam in 1993, when the Seattle rockers sold 950,000 copies of ``Vs.'' in its first week of release. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= LONDON (AP) -- Multiple time signatures, modulating keys, a melancholy lyric, over three minutes play-time and a ukulele? Who do these guys think they are -- the Beatles? Well, yes. The Fab Four are back with a song that they might have dismissed as uneven in their heyday, but is inventive enough to remind you why they are still missed. ``Free as a Bird'' was composed at the piano by John Lennon at his New York apartment and recorded on a portable cassette machine sometime between 1975 and 1980. ``It's not as great as `Strawberry Fields,''' said longtime Beatles producer George Martin. ``But it's much better than some other Number Ones they had.'' In early 1994, Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, gave the tape to Paul McCartney, who joined with the other surviving Beatles, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, to lay down a complex overlay of tracks. The song opens the new double-disk ``The Beatles Anthology I,'' which otherwise is confined to seldom-heard outtakes from the Beatles archives. A lot of the material has long been available. Other tracks have strictly historical relevance: A cut of the group's first single, ``Love Me Do,'' with original drummer Pete Best, amply demonstrates that his inability to keep the beat, not his refusal to comb his hair forward, is why Starr replaced him. Critics charged the survivors with greed for reviving material they once rejected. But the Beatles' old publicist, Derek Taylor said money was not an issue and the material's value lay in its historical importance, ``like Winston Churchill's papers.'' The new song is less than a revelation: In 1977, when Ono believes the tape was recorded, Lennon was in an acknowledged dry period. It shows in the uninventive, almost whiny melody. Jeff Lynne, founder of Electric Light Orchestra and the man who used digitalization to enhance the crude original recording, commended the song's ``depth.'' Certainly, ``Free as a Bird'' recalls the group's later, more thoughtful years. The phrase subversively matches a cliche of optimism to an eerie, half-tone melody, establishing an unsettling tenor similar to the 1967 classic, ``Strawberry Fields Forever.'' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= NEW YORK (AP) -- After waiting 25 years for some new Beatles music, rabid fans weren't about to miss the first opportunity to buy it. They rushed to music stores around the country Tuesday to buy ``Beatles Anthology I,'' which contains ``Free As a Bird,'' the Fab Four's first new song since they split up in 1970. ``The world is going to come to a stop,'' said Tim Devin, general manager of a Tower Records store in New York City. ``For nostalgia they'll come out for it, for curiosity, just for the love of the music.'' At a Chicago Tower Records, 250 people were in the store when the Beatles record went on sale at midnight. Stores in some cities started selling the album Monday afternoon. ``There's a new Bruce Springsteen record, too, but 99 percent of the people are here because of the Beatles,'' Tower Record sales manager Joe Kvidera said in Chicago. In New Orleans' French Quarter, Tower Records stayed open an hour past its usual midnight closing to meet demand. ``We had people waiting 30 minutes before it went on sale and it picked up dramatically just before midnight, when there were maybe 30 or 40 people waiting,'' clerk Monica Romero said. Radio stations, even all-news stations, played ``Free As a Bird'' incessantly Monday after its debut on ABC-TV the night before. On the basis of overnight ratings, ABC estimated 47 million people watched Sunday night's documentary. The Beatles' first appearance on the ``Ed Sullivan Show'' in 1964 drew 73 million viewers. ``Free As a Bird'' is a midtempo ballad that was originally recorded on a home cassette player in 1977 by the late John Lennon. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr added their voices, instruments and new lyrics. With Harrison's slide guitar and production by Jeff Lynne, its sound owes as much to the Traveling Wilburys as the Beatles. The composition is reminiscent of Lennon's 1970 solo song ``Love,'' and Harrison's Beatles elegy, ``All Those Years Ago.'' ``A lot of Beatles fans have called to say how emotional it is to listen to it,'' said Andre Gardner, program director at New York City's WXRK-FM. ``Even if they're not Beatles fans, they're calling to say it's a great song.'' Others disagreed. Charles Rosenay, publisher of the Beatles fan magazine Good Day Sunshine, said he had hoped for something infectious and bouncy. ``It wasn't a mop-tops song and it was probably naive to think that's what it would be,'' said Rosenay, of New Haven, Conn. Geoffrey Giuliano, author of several Beatles books, said the song was only a fragment of an idea that Lennon probably would never have wanted released. ``I feel betrayed by the Beatles. I think it was a horrible idea,'' he said. The song opens the new double album, which otherwise is confined to seldom-heard outtakes from the Beatles archives. Some 31,000 boxes of the album were distributed across the country Monday from the United Parcel Service center at Louisville, Ky., under tight security. A convoy of trucks carrying the compact discs from the Capitol Records factory in Jacksonville, Ill., had been tracked by satellite and radio as it crossed Indiana on Sunday. The record company had an exclusive deal with ABC-TV to air the song first and went to great lengths to prevent leaks. A Beatles spokesman said he knew of no security breaches. But security apparently broke down Monday, at least in Albuquerque, N.M., and Atlanta. ``Our corporate office in Minneapolis told us we could release a day early,'' said Kathy Salavar, a store manager at the Target department store in Albuquerque. With the cash registers at Target ringing well before midnight, the Media Play record store next door followed suit. Media Play in suburban Atlanta also started selling the anthology in the afternoon. Shoppers called the Music Disc store in Denver steadily on Monday to reserve their copies, clerk Karen Aamodt said. ``Nobody is asking how much it costs,'' she said. ``The record business needs this. We haven't had a strong, super-duper hit for a long while.'' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= LONDON (Reuter) - Beatlemania returned to British record stores Tuesday as fans eagerly snatched up the first album by the world's most famous pop group in 25 years. Music critics gave a mixed reception to the album, which is headed by a new song from their murdered founder John Lennon, his voice echoing from beyond the grave on ``Free As A Bird.'' But nostalgia brought out hundreds of fans who queued in London and Liverpool, the Beatles' home town, for stores to open at midnight when the album was released. ``The world is ready for another bout of Beatlemania,'' said a spokesman for London's giant HMV music store. In the first few hours HMV sold almost 1,000 copies of the anthology album that includes studio music, live recordings, television sessions and two Lennon originals. ``Up till now (the British band) Oasis was the fastest-selling of the Nineties. The Beatles might match that. Not bad going for a 30-year-old band,'' said HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo. The Virgin megastore in London sold 350 copies in the first 30 minutes of trading. ``This is amazing for a band as old as the Beatles,'' said a spokeswoman. ``Free as a Bird,'' an unfinished home demo recorded by Lennon in New York before he was gunned down in 1980, was given to the three surviving Beatles by his widow, Yoko Ono. Coming together in the studio for the first time since their acrimonious breakup in 1970, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr added backing track and support vocals. Pop impresario Jonathan King was scathing, telling The Times: ``It is total rubbish. It sounds like a very bad demo tape made by elderly session musicians struggling to earn a crust.'' The Independent newspaper, mocking the worldwide hype, ran a cartoon showing the surviving ``Threetles'' singing ``All You Need is Greed'' as Lennon, dressed as an angel, cringed behind a speaker. Paul Lester of the influential pop magazine Melody Maker said: ``It is a little macabre, this voice from the grave.'' ``But the fact is that the Beatles still have a sinister hold on the British public,'' he said. Bookmakers made the Lennon song odds-on favorite to be number one at Christmas and give the Beatles their 18th chart-topper after a gap of a quarter of a century. Pop stations gave the song saturation cover and disc jockey Paul Gambaccini was unstinting in his praise: ``Any new Beatles song is better than No Beatles song. I am delighted.'' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= BUCHAREST, Romania (Reuter) - Some royalities from the Beatles new song ``Free as a Bird'' will be donated to fund a Romanian AIDS charity set up by their wives and pop star Elton John, the wife of Beatle George Harrison said Tuesday. ``They (Beatles) have donated a percentage, a very large amount of money, of their royalties for the project,'' Olivia Harrison told Reuters. She declined to say what percentage of the royalties surviving Beatles Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr would give from the single, included on the new album ``Anthology,'' their first recording since the band broke up in 1970. Harrison was in Bucharest as part of her work with ``Romanian Angel Appeal,'' a charity set up in 1990 by her, Ringo's wife Barbara Bach Starkey, Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono. wife of lyricist John Lennon who was murdered in New York in 1980. Elton John is the only non-Beatle founder of the appeal. ``We spent some $4 million over the past five years in many projects,'' Olivia Harrison said. Like many foreigners, the Beatles's wives were moved by harrowing scenes of Romanian orphanages after the 1989 revolution which toppled communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) had been a taboo subject in Romania and revolution lifted the lid on a sorry tale of thousands of children infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which causes the disease, mostly from contaminated blood, poor hygeine and bad medical practice. Ninety-percent of Romania's AIDS cases are children. The first case was reported in 1985 and Romania now tops the list in Europe with the highest rate of juvenile AIDS with 3,279 cases reported of a total of 3,601 cases of full-blown AIDS. The Romanian Angel Appeal has concentrated on renovating the squalid buildings housing AIDS children and disabled children. ``We have done a lot of renovation and paid salaries for many of the nursing staff in two clinics -- in Bucharest's Colentina hospital and in the Constanta hospital,'' Olivia said. Constanta has the worst child AIDs rate in Europe. As many as 1,262 children and 104 adults registered with AIDS have died so far in Romania. Up to 90 percent of the juvenile AIDS cases have been among institutionalised children, the thousands of children abandoned in so-called orphanages most of whom have parents who leave them there to be cared for by the state. -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= NEW YORK (Reuter) - Time to sell that Beatles record stashed away in the attic? Or the poster from their last live show in England? The release of ``Free as a Bird,'' the John Lennon song that ''reunited'' the group for its first recording in 25 years, has reignited Beatlemania on both sides of the Atlantic. The recording, part of a new collection selling briskly at record stores in the United States and Britain, coincides with a new televised documentary. So now may be the time to cash in Fab Four momentos for top dollar. But don't bet the children's college education on that old Beatles lunch box. ``They're probably the most collectible'' of rock 'n roll bands, said Jim Henke, the chief curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. ``It was the impact they had not just on music but on popular culture. Somehow people want to go back and relive those years,'' Henke said. Many fans who grew up listening to the Beatles now earn enough to collect everything from their scribblings to their instruments to their bathroom sinks. ``A lot of this stuff stayed in the closet for a long time,'' said Lisa Sharken at Christie's auction house in New York. ``Now people are saying, 'Wow, this might be worth something'.'' The market for Beatles memorabilia is certainly well established. There are dozens of serious collectors and hundreds, if not thousands, with smaller collections. Public auctions have been held for several years in London, New York and other cities. The prices commanded can boggle the mind. The group's Rolls-Royce, painted in psychedelic colors, sold for nearly $2.3 million in 1985, almost 20 times the price it was expected to fetch, making it the most expensive single bit of Beatles history ever sold. At a Sotheby's auction in London in September, Paul McCartney's hand-written lyrics for the song ``Getting Better'' sold for about $249,000, a record for a Beatles song. But just because an item is Beatles-related does not guarantee a gold mine, or even that it's worth much money at all. At a New York auction in January, Ringo Starr's customized 1957 Chevrolet, listed for $40,000 to $50,000, was taken off the block when the bidding stopped at $16,000. The bathroom sink that Brooklyn plumber Louis Iacobelli had removed from John Lennon's New York home at the Dakota apartment building sold for $450. Bids were to open at $6,000. At Sotheby's September auction where the McCartney lyrics set a record, Lennon's sketchbook with portraits of teachers, pupils and a self-portrait failed to reach its presale estimated price of $120,000. It was not sold. ``It's unpredictable,'' said Rob Levine at Sotheby's. ''There are limits to what's high end and what's authentic.'' For example, many people have Beatles records with great sentimental but little monetary value, he and other experts said. But if the record jacket has one authentic signature -- or better yet the signatures of John, Paul, George and Ringo -- the item has a chance to command a high price. ``Anything where there's the personal touch, such as letters or lyrics,'' said Henke, the museum curator. Areas just coming into their own include Beatles posters, some mass-produced merchandise, and of course, instruments. Guitars, the emblem of rock 'n roll, usually command higher prices than keyboards or other instruments. Christie's and Sotheby's are each offering dozens of Beatles items at auctions scheduled for Nov. 29 and Dec. 16, respectively. Among Sotheby's offerings: McCartney's handwritten notes for the song ``Hey Jude,'' estimated to sell for $40,000 to $45,000; a poster from a 1966 concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park and an unused ticket from the show ($400 to $600), and Beatles dolls with bobbing heads ($800 to $1,000). At a separate sale in London on Dec. 11, Sotheby's will offer a 20-foot long Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman limousine once owned by Ringo Starr. The presale estimate is about $62,000. Christie's items include a Lennon draft of lyrics to ``She Said'' with a note on the back ($7,000 to $9,000); one of Lennon's bathrobes from the mid-1960s ($1,800 to $2,500), and an anniversary card from Paul to Linda with McCartney's ``Press to Play'' album ($700 to $1,000). Less expensive items include a Beatles toy ukulele ($300 to $500) and a Beatles gum machine ($600 to $800). While the market for pop memorabilia can be notoriously fickle, Beatles collectibles have been more stable than most others, the experts said. ``With a lot of this (Beatles) stuff, the value only increases,'' said Christie's Sharken. Especially compared to some other pop stars ``it's a fairly safe investment.'' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<ESC>
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