Entertainment & Arts

Beatles drummer audition letter to go under hammer

Paul McCartney letter from 1960
Image caption The letter was written two years before Ringo Starr joined the group

A handwritten letter from Sir Paul McCartney inviting a mystery drummer to audition for the Beatles is to go under the hammer in London next month.

The 1960 letter offers the audition on condition the drummer be available for a two-month trip to Hamburg, Germany.

Pete Best was the group's drummer at the time, who was replaced by Ringo Starr two years later.

Christie's said the letter was expected to fetch up to £9,000 ($14,000) at the auction on 15 November.

Dated 12 August 1960, the letter was discovered inside a book by an anonymous collector at a car boot sale in Bootle, Liverpool.

Sir Paul wrote it in response to a notice in the Liverpool Echo from the drummer advertising their availability.

"We would like to offer you an audition for the position of drummer in the group," the musician wrote.

"You will, however, need to be free soon for a trip to Hamburg (expenses paid £18 per week (approx) for 2 months).

"If interested ring Jacaranda club and ask for a member of The Beatles."

Three days later, on 15 August, The Beatles travelled as a five-piece along with Stuart Sutcliffe to Germany for their gigs.

The identity of the drummer is not known, nor if the proposed audition ever took place.

Christie's said its Beatles experts are certain the letter was not an early feeler to Starr, who was a drummer with a rival Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, before he joined the Fab Four.

The letter has surprised Beatles historians, as it was not previously known the band were looking for a replacement drummer at that time.

Neil Roberts, director of popular culture at Christie's, said: "My initial reaction was one of disbelief.

"But on seeing the item and being able to research the significance of the date and its content as well as conferring with renowned Beatles historians, it has turned out to be much more significant than mere words on paper."

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