The Beatles: An important handwritten set list by Paul McCartney, 1960

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Lot 45
The Beatles: An important handwritten set list by Paul McCartney, 1960

US$ 150,000 - 250,000
£ 110,000 - 190,000

Music

28 Oct 2021, 11:00 PDT

Los Angeles

The Beatles: An important handwritten set list by Paul McCartney, 1960
A piece of paper inscribed in black ballpoint pen by Paul McCartney with a set list and song ideas for the Beatles' residency at the Grosvenor Ballroom, Liscard, Wallasey, 1960, the list titled GROSVENOR, the first list of songs numbered 1 through 13 comprising "Hallelujah" / "That's Alright Mama" / "Stuck On You" / "Tutti Frutti" / "Long Tall Sally" / "What Did I Say?" / "Red Sails in the Sunset" / "Whole Lotta Shakin'" / "Mean Woman Blues" / "I don't care if the sun don't shine" / "Honey Don't / Clarabella" / "Little Queenie," with additional songs added in pencil, "Oh my soul" / "Lucille" / "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," with another list below annotated "POSSIBLES?" comprising "Rip it up" / "Fabulous" / "Lotta Lovin'" / "Kansas City" / "Jenny Jenny," another list titled "WITH JOHN" comprising "Cathy's Clown" / "One after 909" / "Words of love" / "I'll never let you go" / "I wonder if I care as much" / "Sure to fall," and a final song noted "FOR JOHN TO TRY" with annotation, Alright OK you win," some songs with asterisks and annotated, "ones which aren't done every week," additionally inscribed with an aide-memoire, "words / strings / plec."
9.5 x 8.25 in.

Footnotes

  • This set list, and that in the following lot, is one of only eight Beatles set lists written by a band member known to be in existence. Six further Beatles set lists are known to exist but they are in the hands of either Road Manager Neil Aspinall or Roadie Mal Evans. In fact, this manuscript represents much more than merely a set list used for reference during a performance; McCartney lists an extensive number of tracks played by the band consistently during this early period, including ideas of songs "For John To Try." As Mark Lewisohn notes in his book All These Years, Volume One: Tune In, this piece of paper from "early summer 1960" represents "the earliest known surviving proof of the Beatles' early repertoire..."

    The set list is titled Grosvenor referring to the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, Wallasey, just across the River Mersey from the band's hometown of Liverpool. The Beatles played a series of gigs at the Grosvenor throughout June and July, 1960, billed as The Silver Beetles, including the first of many appearances with Gerry and the Pacemakers. Paul McCartney recalls their time at the Grosvenor in The Anthology: "The Grosvenor Ballroom in Wallasey was one of the worst places ... I remember one night a rumble had started before I realized what was happening. I ran to the stage to save my Elpico amp, my pride and joy at the time. There were fists flying everywhere. One Ted grabbed me and said, 'Don't move son, or you're bloody dead!' I was scared for my life, but I had to get that amp."

    The tracks listed on this document show the band's fascination with, and influence of, American Musicians. Featuring heavily are Elvis Presley ["That's Alright Mama," "Stuck On You," "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" and "I'll Never Let You Go"]; Little Richard ["Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up," "Kansas City," "Jenny Jenny," and "Oh My Soul"]; and Ray Charles ["Hallelujah (I Love Her So)," "What Did I Say?" and "Mean Woman Blues"]. Such was the infancy of the band and their songwriting repertoire at this time that only one Lennon-McCartney original composition is listed: "The One After 909." This track was penned by Lennon and McCartney very soon after their first meeting at the Woolton Garden Fete in the Summer of 1957. The band cut a version of it during their recording session for "From Me To You" on March 5, 1963 but it was unreleased until 1994. The sessions for Let It Be saw them revisit the song. The Beatles were clearly still adding to their repertoire at the time of McCartney writing this list, with the inclusion of "Cathy's Clown," the single from the Everly Brothers, recently released in April, 1960, just weeks before the band's first appearance at the Grosvenor.

    Between the Silver Beetles' Grosvenor show in late July and their return to the venue in December, Pete Best had joined the band, they had played two seasons in Hamburg and adopted the name The Beatles. They were truly becoming a band and this set list bears witness to a young, unknown band playing local gigs who, unbeknown to them, were on the cusp of global fame and recognition. The following three years saw The Beatles go from playing covers in local venues to performing their own songs to millions of fans all over the world and changing the face of popular music as we knew it. This document is an extraordinary relic of those innocent days before Beatlemania took over the world.

    Literature:
    LEWISOHN, Mark The Complete Beatles Chronicle, London: Octopus Books, 1992
    LEWISOHN, Mark All These Years, Volume One: Tune In, London: Little, Brown, 2016
    THE BEATLES Anthology, London: Chronicle Books, 2000
    MACDONALD, Ian Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records And The Sixties, London: Pimlico Books, 1994
    Exhibited:
    Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles!, The New York Library for the Performing Arts; The Grammy Museum and other locations, Traveling Exhibition, 2014-2018
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