Two very rare unreleased Beatles acetates being auctioned in December by Bonhams in London could attract high prices because of the possibility even collectors haven’t heard them, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Detective” and Beatles history expert Jim Berkenstadt told Beatles Examiner.
The two tracks are a 1963 demo recording of “What Goes On” and a 1966 demo of “Granny Smith,” which later became “Love You To,” a track on the “Revolver” album. The auction, titled “Entertainment Memorabilia,” takes place Dec. 12.
The 1963 demo of “What Goes On” predates the 1965 version with a vocal by Ringo Starr and later released on “Rubber Soul.” The disc is labeled “Demo Disc: Dick James Music Ltd.” The same auction lot also includes a German pressing of the single by The Beatles and Tony Sheridan of “My Bonnie”/”The Saints” (Polydor NH 24673).
Berkenstadt believes “What Goes On” was only partially completed, and was likely taken home by George Harrison to finish a guitar part for the song. The track was due to be recorded during a marathon recording session on March 5, 1963, according to Mark Lewisohn’s “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions.” At that session, the Beatles recorded “From Me To You” and “Thank You Little Girl” (later called “Thank You Girl”).
But because of time constraints, the group had to choose between doing “One After 909” and “What Goes On.” They chose “One After 909,” though the 1963 version wasn’t released until “The Beatles Anthology,” though it appeared on bootlegs before that.
“What Goes On” was held until Nov. 4, 1965. At that point, the then-old Lennon-McCartney song was given to Ringo Starr to sing and it was recorded in one take. Doug Sulpy’s “Complete Beatles Audio Guide” lists no 1963 demo version of the song has circulated among collectors on bootleg.
Also being included is a demo disc for “Granny Smith,” which later became “Love You To” on “Revolver.” The disc, a single-sided 45 rpm 7-inch EMI disc has handwritten recording details and engineer Tony Clark’s initials and is dated 2-5-66 (May 2). The Beatles began work on this track on April 11, according to Lewisohn. It was called “Granny Smith” early on before it became “Love You To” on “Revolver.”
A few alternative takes of “Love You To” have surfaced on bootleg, Berkenstadt says, but without hearing this version of the song, it’s again hard to know if this one has circulated. Also, Doug Sulpy’s “Complete Beatles’ Audio Guide” lists no versions of “Granny Smith” have been bootlegged.
He says that given the fact that the songs were used by George Harrison while he was with The Beatles, he says he expects that the final bids will come in somewhat higher than the estimates listed by Bonham’s.
More importantly, though, he says “it seems a shame that the extended family of George Harrison did not first consider offering these recordings to Olivia Harrison in order to keep them in the family.” If so,” he says, “these rare recordings may likely end up in the hands of a private collector.”
In addition, the auction will also include a test pressing of the George Harrison album “Extra Texture,” with song titles penned in red by Harrison. It’s described as a 1975 double-sided 12-inch American pressing with white labels inscribed with recording details and track listing by Harrison in red ballpoint and black felt-tip pen. This disc has a Dark Horse Records stamp. Also include is an acetate of Harrison’s experimental album “Electronic Music.”
Other items in the sale include a pair of George’s Beatles boots and a leather jacket worn during his days in Hamburg and at the Cavern Club.
Berkenstadt recently served as historical consultant on Martin Scorsese’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” film. His latest book, “The Beatle Who Vanished,” about the life of temporary Beatles’ drummer Jimmie Nicol, will be released in early 2013.
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