McCartney's call-up to the
Telegraph ~ October 22, 2011
This letter dates back to August 1960, at a time
when the fledgling Beatles had been invited to tour Hamburg. Days before
they were due to depart, the band's four members - McCartney, John Lennon,
George Harrison and Stuart Sutcliffe, the original bassist - were lacking
one thing: a drummer. In the newly-discovered letter, dated August
12, McCartney, then 18, wrote:
It is not known if an audition ever took place, or if the band simply ran
out of time. What is known is that in the days after the letter was sent,
the band auditioned Pete Best, a drummer who they had played with previously,
for the vacant position. On August 15, the five, including Best, travelled
In reply to your advertisement [sic]
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 65'44] 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."
The handwritten letter, which was discovered this year at the sale in
Bootle, Liverpool, is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at auction next
month. It is believed to be one of the earliest examples of the band calling
themselves The Beatles – they had previously been known as The Quarrymen.
The original members had seen Best play at the Casbah Club, the cafe
in the cellar of the house owned by Best's mother. It was widely believed
that Best was the only drummer they considered to take to Hamburg. But
the newly discovered letter suggests that they were still unsure of Best,
and desperately searching for an alternative drummer just days before their
departure for Germany. In 1962, as the band began to taste success, Best
was fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.