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Record label rejected The Beatles' off these 1962 songs—now tape of the audition could sell for $90,000

The Beatles at Teddington TV Studios. Recording music and comedy sequences for ABC-TV's 'Big Night Out'. Sunday 23rd February 1964. George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
Mirrorpix | Mirrorpix | Getty Images

On New Year's Day in 1962, a then-unknown band called The Beatles performed 15 songs for British label Decca Records. The band believed the audition would land them a recording contract.

It did not.

There is some debate as to whether Decca Records rejected The Beatles or The Beatles rejected an offer from Decca to press their records only if the band paid for it themselves. Whatever the case, The Beatles' then manager Brian Epstein held on to a recording of the audition. 

The Beatles, of course, went on to get signed (their first big hit in America was with EMI Records in 1963) and became one of the most beloved and famous bands in history.

Now, Sotheby's London will auction the tape of the Decca audition online, estimating it will sell for 50,000 to 70,000 pounds, or about $65,000 to $90,000.

The demo includes songs like "Money," "The Sheik of the Araby," "September in the Rain," "Three Cool Cats" and "Like Dreamers Do," according to Sotheby's. ("Money" later appeared on the album "With The Beatles" in 1963.)

Courtesy of Sotheby's

On seven of the audition tracks Paul McCartney led vocals, and on four, John Lennon and George Harrison led together.

As Sotheby's tells it, Decca Records didn't take the band seriously at the audition. Sotheby's says the label told Epstein that "guitar bands are out," citing Epstein's book, "A Cellarful of Noise."

In addition to the recording, the auction will also include John Lennon's gold tone, wire-framed sunglasses, which are expected to sell for 6,000 to 8,000 pounds or about $8,000 to $10,000.

Courtesy of Sotheby's

The sunglasses were given to Lennon in 1966, according to Sotheby's. On one side, there is a screw missing, and there are some minor scratches on the lenses.

Other band memorabilia up for auction is Harrison's Jaguar Mark 1 steering wheel, his 1959 semi-acoustic guitar, clothing each band member wore and items found in The Beatles' homes.

The auction runs from Dec. 6 to Dec. 10.

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