Music News

Court battle over rare 1962 Beatles demo to begin Tuesday in California

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A court battle over a rare Beatles demo recorded during the band’s first-ever sessions at London’s Abbey Road Studios is expected to get under way in a California court on Tuesday, U.K. newspaper The Sun reports.

The recording was discovered in the estate of late Beatles studio engineer Geoff Emerick, who died of a heart attack in 2018 at age 72. It featured The Beatles, with original drummer Pete Best, playing various early songs, including “Love Me Do.”

Emerick, who was an assistant engineer at the session, had revealed that he’d been told to discard the recording because the quality was poor, but he secretly held onto it instead. Now, Universal Music Group, which acquired the group’s old label EMI in 2012, is claiming ownership of the demo and is taking Geoff’s family to court.

Emerick’s family, meanwhile, maintain that they are entitled to keep the recording because of finder’s law.

“It’s an amazing find,” a source tell The Sun of the tape, which was recorded on June 6, 1962. “It’s been estimated at 5 million pounds [about $6.3 million] but could be worth much more.”

The June 1962 session was the only time The Beatles recorded with Best at Abbey Road, which at the time was known as EMI Studios. Ringo Starr replaced Best in August of ’62.

By Matt Friedlander
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