TIME The Beatles

This Piece Of Beatles Memorabilia Goes On Sale Next Week

Beatles In Hamburg
K & K Ulf Kruger OHG—Redferns The Beatles posed in Hamburg, Germany during their residency at The Star Club in May 1962.

This may be the ultimate Beatles' fan piece.

Fab Four fans get your auction paddles ready because a pretty amazing piece of Beatles memorabilia is going to be for sale soon: the first recording contract the Liverpool rock group ever signed.

The contract is from 1961, and the recording session resulted in the song “My Bonnie,” which was not a hit and was released on a German record label, reports the Associated Press.The six-page contract is up for auction from Heritage Auctions, and is expected to go for around $150,000. A number of other Beatles pieces are also up for auction.

The Beatles’ years in Hamburg are some of the most famous of the band’s early lore — this is when the band wore leather jackets and ate chicken on stage, before the mop tops and collarless suits they’d become famous for appeared.

This recording session was with original drummer Pete Best, who was later ousted for Ringo Starr.

TIME Music

Keith Richards Says Sgt. Pepper’s Is ‘Rubbish’

Festival D'ete De Quebec
C Flanigan—WireImage/Getty Imagse Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones performs during the Festival D'ete De Quebec on July 15, 2015 in Quebec City, Canada.

Rolling Stone magazine has called it the best album of all time

The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards says The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, named the best rock & roll album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, is “a mishmash of rubbish.”

Richards commented on the Grammy-winning album in an interview with Esquire, “[T]he 
Beatles sounded great when they were the Beatles. But there’s not a lot of roots in that music. I think they got carried away. Why not? If you’re the Beatles in the ’60s, you just get carried away—you forget what it is you wanted to do.” Because apparently no band’s sound should evolve over time.

He compared it to his own band’s album released in the same year: “Some people think [Sgt. Pepper’s is] a genius album, but I think it’s a mishmash of rubbish, kind of like Satanic Majesties—’Oh, if you can make a load of sh**, so can we.'” Okay, then.

TIME Music

The Beatles Probably ‘Forgot’ Dozens of Unrecorded Songs

Roskilde Festival 2015 - Day 8
Yuliya Christensen—Redferns/Getty Images Paul McCartney performs at Roskilde Festival on July 4, 2015 in Roskilde, Denmark.

"We didn’t have tape recorders"

The Beatles have one of the most impressive catalogues in music history, but fans probably missed out on “dozens” more songs that the band “forgot” before they could record them.

Paul McCartney said in a recent interview that he and John Lennon did not have recording devices when they first started writing music, explaining, “we would write a song and just have to remember it. And there was always the risk that we’d just forget it. If the next morning you couldn’t remember it—it was gone. There must have been dozens lost this way.”

McCartney said today things are very different since songwriters can record their ideas on their phone. Still, he said the technological limitation may have improved their music: “You had to write songs that were memorable, because you had to remember them or they were lost!”

All this begs the question, why didn’t anyone give the lads a pencil and some paper?

[The Guardian]

TIME Music

Paul McCartney: John Lennon Was ‘Martyred,’ His Reputation is ‘Revisionism’

Paul McCartney performs live at the Budokan on April 28, 2015 in Tokyo.
Ken Ishii—Getty Images Paul McCartney performs live at the Budokan on April 28, 2015 in Tokyo.

The former Beatle opens up about his late bandmate

In a new interview with the U.K. edition of Esquire magazine, Paul McCartney has opened up on the subject of John Lennon, the Beatles bandmate whose posthumous reputation McCartney seems to find frustrating.

Describing his reaction to Lennon’s assassination in 1980, McCartney said, in part:

Yeah, John was the witty one, sure. John did a lot of great work, yeah. And post-Beatles he did more great work, but he also did a lot of not-great work. Now the fact that he’s now martyred has elevated him to a James Dean, and beyond. So whilst I didn’t mind that–I agreed with it–I understood that now there was going to be revisionism. It was going to be: John was the one.”

McCartney also expressed regret that a plan to alternate the Beatles’ songwriting credits between “Lennon/McCartney” and “McCartney/Lennon” did not come to pass, specifically citing the song “Yesterday,” written by McCartney solely.

“I said, ‘Could we have “By Paul McCartney and John Lennon,” wouldn’t that be a good idea?’ […] Particularly on that particular song, because the original artwork had ‘Yesterday’ by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and a photo of John above it. And I went, ‘Argh! Come on, lads!’ Anyway they wouldn’t do it.”

Read the full interview at Esquire‘s site.

TIME Icons

See Photos of the Beatles on the Brink of Beatlemania

On the anniversary of the release of “A Hard Days Night,” a look back at the early days of the Beatles’ American invasion

When the Beatles landed in the U.S. for the first time, on February 7, 1964, American teens went wild. The editors of LIFE Magazine, taking notice of the phenomenon, quickly assigned photographers to cover the band’s first American tour and television appearances.

A week into the tour, Bob Gomel was dispatched to photograph the “Fab Four” in Miami Beach, where they were scheduled to perform for a second night on The Ed Sullivan Show at the Deauville Hotel. But when the time came to photograph the band, the hotel was swarming with so many fans that a shoot would have been nearly impossible.

The shoot was moved to the private residence of Paul Pollak, a hotel owner, and his wife Jerri Pollak, a former big band recording artist. Away from the spotlight and overwhelming hoards of fans, Gomel was able to capture candid moments of the young lads relaxing and goofing around in the family pool and on the beach.

In the book Memories of John Lennon, edited by Yoko Ono, Gomel recalls the shoot:

After changing into matching bathing suits, four pale, skinny guys entered the pool. I asked them to just have fun. Ringo started a splash fight. John did a few cannonballs off the diving board. That captured moment became my favorite photograph. It hangs in my gallery today.

The Pollaks’ daughter Linda, who was 15 years old at the time, later wrote about what it was like to witness four of the most famous musicians in the world splashing around in her parents’ pool. “The photographers asked my three brothers and me to get into the pool first, so they could focus,” she wrote in the Chicago Tribune in 1989. “Then the Beatles tiptoed in to take our positions … They started splashing and goofing around, except John. He got out of the pool and sat in the back with his wife, Cynthia, just watching. Even then he wasn’t much for publicity.”

The photos, which never made it to the pages of LIFE — the editors instead ran a different swimming pool photo by LIFE staffer John Loengard — capture the youthful exuberance of four young men as their careers were taking off and Beatlemania was taking hold. Long before the rifts that would lead to their breakup in 1970 and before fame took its toll, Gomel documented the rare moments of playful bliss of a band soaring rapidly to the top.

See more photos by Bob Gomel at the Monroe Gallery.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Books

The Business Whiz Behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones

Northern Songs Deal
C. Maher/Daily Express—Hulton Archive/Getty Images Allen Klein, left, with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, April 29, 1969. Klein was representing Lennon in negotiations over control of shares in the Beatles' Northern Songs company.

Sarah Begley is a culture and breaking news reporter for TIME.

A new biography examines Allen Klein's life and career, including how he wooed John Lennon and spurned Paul McCartney, and made a hit out of 'Bittersweet Symphony'

The Beatles may have had reputations as laid-back peaceniks, but their former manager Allen Klein was known as a pitbull.

Klein made a name for himself in showbiz by auditing music labels’ financial records to make sure his clients weren’t getting shortchanged, and he usually retrieved funds for them in the process. It made him more than a few allies on the talent side, if not on the business side. His career took off in 1963 when Sam Cooke asked Klein to be his manager, and after acquiring the Rolling Stones as clients, he set his sights on the Beatles.

“No one wanted or needed to manage the Beatles as much as Allen did,” Fred Goodman writes in his biography Allen Klein: The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll, out now. Though the manager was always looking for a creative new way to make a buck, Goodman writes, “he would have managed the Beatles for nothing. Klein saw handling them as final and irrefutable proof that he was the best.”

To do it, Klein took a divide-and-conquer approach. The Beatles’ finances were in terrible shape after the death of their longtime manager Brian Epstein in 1967 and the poor management of a company they started. Klein saw his opening. He invited John Lennon and Yoko Ono to dinner in his penthouse suite at a London hotel, serving “a carefully researched and prepared vegetarian meal—exactly the macrobiotic dishes John and Yoko preferred.” If Lennon had reservations, he was quickly won over by Klein’s pitch. He got the feeling that the manager “was cut from a different cloth than the others he’d met—the same plain, coarse, ordinary cloth that Lennon flew for a flag.” An understanding was reached, and Klein’s firm, ABKCO, was in business with the Beatles.

George Harrison and Ringo Starr warmed to Klein as well, impressed by his successes, but Paul McCartney was not on board—and Klein did little to win him over. One time, McCartney called for Klein while the manager was in a meeting with the Beatles’ company, Apple, and Klein told the receptionist to say he’d call back later. The receptionist came back to say McCartney was insistent: “Klein would talk to him now—or never. The Beatle clearly knew he was being snubbed in front of a roomful of his employees. Klein shrugged. ‘I can’t talk to him now.’

“Paul McCartney kept his word. He never spoke to Allen Klein again.”

Not long after that, the Beatles were no more, and the Rolling Stones, feeling snubbed by Klein giving so much of his attention to their rivals, took their business elsewhere. But Klein kept making money off the Stones in particular—though a series of negotiations, he ended up owning the rights to some of their music, and profited not only from compilation albums, but also from a later song that sampled from Stones music: The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Klein drove a hard bargain with the song’s label, saying it could release the song as long as his company could purchase the rights to be its sole publisher. They agreed, and he paid them $1,000.

The song of course became a huge hit, and “ABKCO actively exploited the composition,” Goodman writes, “licensing it to be used in commercials around the world for various products, including Nike shoes and Opel automobiles. When the band decided the song was being overexposed and overused, they declined to license the original recording for any more commercials. As the publisher, ABKCO instead commissioned its own recording for commercial use.”

The move was typical Klein: a cunning gesture whose outcome he could see far clearer than his opposing party. That was how Klein ran his business, more or less, until his death at 77 in 2009.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Music

Watch Paul McCartney Perform ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ With Dave Grohl in London

McCartney also performed cult track "Temporary Secretary" live for the first time ever

Beatles legend Paul McCartney had two big surprises in store for fans at his London gig Saturday night.

During the concert at London’s O2 Arena, Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl made an appearance onstage and the pair performed the Beatles classic “I Saw Her Standing There,” reports Rolling Stone.

The duo first performed the song at the 2009 Grammy Awards with Grohl on drums. They’ve also collaborated on a Grammy Award–winning track for Grohl’s documentary Sound City, called “Cut Me Some Slack.”

But the biggest surprise of the night was when McCartney performed “Temporary Secretary” from his album McCartney II for the first time ever.

The track, which Rolling Stone dubbed “one of 12 weirdest Paul McCartney songs,” had never been played live since its release 35 years ago.

[Rolling Stone]

TIME Music

Hip-Hop Was the Biggest Revolution in American Music and That’s Backed By a Study of 17,000 Songs

Photo of Public Enemy Jan. 1, 1991
Ebet Roberts—Redferns/Getty Images Photo of Public Enemy , on Jan. 1, 1991

Forget the British invasion of the 1960s or the synth-pop of the 1980s

The explosion of hip-hop onto the music scene in the 1990s was the biggest musical revolution in American pop history.

That’s according to a team of scientists who, for the first time, have analyzed the evolution of Western pop music, spanning from 1960 to 2010, and published their findings in the Royal Society Open Journal.

The team, from Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London, looked at 30-second snippets from about 17,000 songs from the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 over a 50-year period. The researchers studied trends in style and diversity as well as how harmony, chord changes and tonal quality changed over time.

“We can actually go beyond what music experts tell us, or what we know ourselves about them, by looking directly into the songs, measuring their makeup, and understanding how they have changed,” said lead author of the study Matthias Mauch.

Mauch’s team found that there were three distinct music revolutions: 1964, 1983 and 1991.

1964 was the start of “British invasion” when bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones flooded the American charts. But contrary to popular belief, these bands didn’t initiate the rock revolution, they were merely following existing trends.

The rise of new technologies — such as synthesizers, samplers and drum machines — in the 1980s ushered in a new style of music, personified in bands like Duran Duran or the Eurythmics.

But then hip-hop exploded into the mainstream in the 1990s, sparking the biggest music revolution in 50 years.

“The rise of rap and related genres appears, then, to be the single most important event that has shaped the musical structure of the American charts in the period that we studied,” Mauch said.

TIME Music

Cynthia Lennon, Former Wife of John Lennon, Dies at 75

Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.
AP Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Cynthia, sit in London Airport, England, before flying to the U.S. on Feb. 7, 1964.

She died of cancer in her home

Cynthia Lennon, the former wife of John Lennon and eyewitness to the early days of the Beatles, died in her home Wednesday at the age of 75.

Her death was confirmed by a publicist and on her son Julian Lennon’s Twitter page. She died in her home in Spain after a “short but brave battle with cancer,” according to a memorial page.

The Lennons met in art school before the Beatles got their start in Hamburg, and married in 1962 after Cynthia Lennon realized she was pregnant. Their marriage and subsequent birth of their son Julian was initially kept a secret, to avoid upsetting the growing Beatlemania, but Cynthia and Julian eventually got a front-row seat to the Beatles’ growing popularity in England and the U.S. The Lennons divorced in 1968, when John Lennon became involved with Yoko Ono.

Cynthia chronicled their marriage and her experience with the Beatles in two books, A Twist of Lennon (1978) and John (2010).

TIME Music

Lou Reed, Green Day, Joan Jett and More Join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015

Reading Festival 2013 - Day 1
Joseph Okpako—Redferns/Getty Images Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs on stage at the Reading Festival 2013 at Richfield Avenue on Aug. 23, 2013 in Reading, England.

Sorry, N.W.A., Chic, The Smiths and Sting. Maybe next year!

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced that its Class of 2015 will include Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and the late Lou Reed, whose band The Velvet Underground was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 by Patti Smith.

Other inductees for 2015 include first-time nominee Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble; “Lean on Me” singer Bill Withers, who hasn’t released new music in nearly three decades; The Paul Butterfield Blues Band; and Green Day, whose debut EP, 1,000 Hours, came out in 1989. They are entering the Rock Hall in their first year of eligibility.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is also honoring Ringo Starr this year; he will be given the Award For Musical Excellence. Starr — the former drummer for The Beatles who were inducted in 1988 — is the last of his bandmates to receive the honor. Also being inducted is 1950s R&B group the “5” Royales, who will receive the Early Influence Award.

Joan Jett has been eligible for the Rock Hall for years — and should have been inducted ages ago. Her nomination gained traction after she joined Nirvana on stage last year for a ferocious performance of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It has become tradition for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to end with a massive cross-genre jam session between the inductees — one can only hope that this year they wrap the ceremony with all the artists playing their hearts out to Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll.”

Congratulations to this year’s inductees, and better luck next year to nominees The Smiths, N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, The Spinners, The Marvellettes, Kraftwerk, Sting, War, and American disco outfit Chic, who have been nominated for the Rock Hall nine times since 2003. While many speculated that 2014 would be their year, thanks to the work of member Nile Rodgers with Daft Punk, the band has been overlooked yet again.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com