Sunday - 26 October 2014

Elvis and The Beatles top charts again

02 April 2013Written by Ivan Macquisten

If ever there was a single record that could lay claim to truly starting the Rock and Roll era, it must be Elvis Presley’s first single ‘That’s all right (Mama)’, recorded in Memphis in July 5, 1954.

Producer Sam Phillips of Sun Records gave an acetate of the recording to his friend, the local radio station disc jockey Dewey Phillips (no relation) only two days later. What happened next helped create the Elvis legend. Such was the interest that Dewey reportedly had to play the song a total of 14 times during the show as the station phone rang off the hook.

Elvis was summoned to the studio for a live interview the same night, and 12 days later the single was released, with Blue Moon of Kentucky as the B side.

At Whyte's of Dublin on March 24, that very acetate, complete with the typewritten label famously misspelling Elvis's name as Pressley and adding his guitar and bass players, the session musicians Scotty and Bill, was offered with an estimate of €50,000-70,000.

Having passed from the Dewey Phillips collection via the Johnny Earle JEM Memorabilia holdings to the present Irish vendor via a 1998 rock and pop sale at Bonhams, the provenance was impeccable and it took €65,000 (£58,035).

The Beatles

Across the Irish Sea two days before on March 22,Omega Auctionsof Stockport in Cheshire offered what are thought to be the only set of backstage photographs from The Beatles' celebrated 1965 Shea Stadium concert. They were taken after the official photographer ran out of film.

The story goes that amateur photographer Marc Weinstein - who reportedly followed the sale via the-saleroom.com - managed to bluff his way backstage having forged his own pass. He sold the resulting 61 black and white photographs in 2006 and here saw them offered at an estimate of £15,000-20,000.

They sold to a UK collector in the room for £26,000 plus 18% buyer's premium.

Meanwhile the following lot comprised 63 colour Kodachrome 35mm slides of The Beatles taken during their first full tour of America in August 1964 taken by Dr Robert C "Bob" Beck (1925-2002).

Each slide was offered with its printed photograph and sold over the phone against a £10,000-15,000 estimate for £23,000 hammer to a South American collector from Washington DC, who is also the owner of John Lennon's Let It Be Oscar. Bearing in mind that, unusually, both lots were sold with copyright, these prices could yet prove to be bargains.

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