An unknown drummer may have missed out on a chance to join The Beatles before their Hamburg tour, a newly discovered letter written by Paul McCartney suggests. A newly discovered letter found folded in a book at a Liverpool yard sale has shed new light on the Beatles’ early days, revealing that Paul McCartney offered an audition to a mystery drummer in 1960, just a few days just before a tour to Hamburg that would help propel them to world-wide fame.
The band, lacking a drummer, consisted of McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe at the time. McCartney, who was then playing guitar in the band while the late Stuart Sutcliffe handled bass guitar, offered the drummer an audition with the caveat that if he joins the band he must be ready to travel almost immediately to Hamburg.
Dated August 12, the note was a reply to a job advert that appeared in the Liverpool Echo on August 8 that simply read Drummer – Young – Free. Unfortunately, no name appeared on the advert, and Sir Paul’s response begins politely with Dear Sir. He then writes: In reply to your advertisement in Echo, Wed. night, we would like to offer you an audition for the position of drummer in the group. ‘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, Slater St. [ROYAL 65’64] and ask for either a member of the ‘BEATLES’ Alan Williams [sic], or else leave a message, stating when you will be available. ‘Yours sincerely, Paul McCartney of THE BEATLES.
What happened next remains a mystery.
Christie’s spokeswoman Leonie Pitts said the auction house’s Beatles experts are certain that the letter was not an early feeler to Starr, who was a successful drummer with a rival Liverpool band, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, before he joined the Beatles. She said auctioneers had not contacted McCartney to ask if he knew anything about the drummer who had placed the ad.
The letter, from an anonymous seller, is being auctioned at Christie’s South Kensington office on November 15 and is expected to fetch around £9,000 ($14,000).