Ownership Battle For Early Beatles Demo Set For Trial

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Ownership battle for the early Beatles demo recording goes to court this week.

Longtime sound engineer Geoff Emerick taped the group’s first-ever session at Abbey Road Studios on Jun. 6, 1962, before Ringo Starr joined them and replaced Pete Best. The tape is assumed to include a performance of “Love Me Do.” When it was decided to be of lacking quality, the EMI label directed Emerick to destroy it, but instead, he stored it until his passing in 2018.

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Now Universal Music Group, who took over EMI in 2012, require it returned, in the faith that it could be worth up to £5 million ($6.3 million), the Sun published. “A legal showdown between his family and Universal over who should have the tape is expected to begin in California on Tuesday,” the paper said. “Mr. Emerick’s family argue they are entitled to keep it because of finder’s law. Universal says the law does not apply.”

In 2017, Emerick told Variety how he fitted in the Beatles’ tale early on and remained a portion of their studio unit until their separation. “I was dropped into the deep end of the pond,” he said. “I was mastering American records for the U.K. market one day, and the next day, when I was around 19, I was working on Revolver.” He added that he’d been “part of the most amazing process, observing songs in the process of creation” and described his work on “A Day in the Life” as one of his greatest achievements. “[T]he night we put the orchestra on it, the whole world went from black and white to color,” he said.

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