The document releasing the Beatles from their group recording obligations goes up for auction, with bids expected to surpass $300,000.
Gotta Have Rock and Roll, an auction house known for its rock and roll memorabilia, has placed “The Beatles Break-Up Contract” up for auction, releasing each band member from their group recording obligations and enabling them to pursue their solo careers.
The Apple Corps Limited Dissolution of Contract Signed by All Four Beatles, also known as “The Beatles Break-Up Contract,” is a two-page typed document signed by “Paul McCartney” and “R. Starkey,” and twice by “George Harrison” and “John Lennon,” dated December 29, 1974. The estimated value of the contract is between $300,000 and $500,000, making it one of the most significant pieces of Beatles memorabilia. The auction ends June 30.
Following a delay in securing John Lennon’s signature, the contract made the Beatles’ split official five years after it actually took place. The group effectively parted ways in 1969 after Lennon walked out of a meeting and told his bandmates, “I want a divorce.”
But even then, the news wasn’t public until April 1970 when Paul McCartney began circulating promotional materials for his debut solo album, including an announcement that he would be leaving the group.
The authenticated 1974 letter, while merely a formality, confirmed the “dissolution of the partnership” and granted Lennon, Harrison, McCartney, and Ringo Starr the freedom to pursue solo careers while requiring unanimous approval from all members for any matters regarding the Beatles’ finances.
“The break-up was fueled by grief over the death of longtime manager Brian Epstein and escalating tension with respect to collaboration and songwriting,” reads the lot description for the document. “John was growing increasingly experimental in his tastes, Paul was still fully committed to pop music, and George found that there wasn’t space for his newfound commitment to songwriting.”
The document was initially meant to be signed on December 19, 1974, at a meeting at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan — where the group had stayed during their first trip to the United States. Still, Lennon wouldn’t put pen to paper for another ten days while vacationing in Disney World.