Battle Over Early Beatles Demo Valued at $6 Million Goes to Court
A battle over ownership of an early Beatles demo recording is set to go to court this week.
Longtime sound engineer Geoff Emerick taped the band’s first-ever session at Abbey Road Studios on Jun. 6, 1962, before Ringo Starr was a member. The recording is said to include a performance of “Love Me Do.” When it was judged to be of insufficient quality, the EMI label ordered Emerick to destroy it — but instead he kept it until his death in 2018.
Now Universal Music Group, who took over EMI in 2012, want it returned, in the belief that it could be worth up to £5 million ($6.3 million), the Sun reported. “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 say the law does not apply.”
In 2017, Emerick told Variety how he became part of the Beatles’ story early on and remained a part of their studio team until their split. “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.