Hand-Written 1960’s Beatles Setlist Up For Auction

Two of only eight setlists that remain from the Beatles’ short-lived career will be up for auction by Bonham’s on October 28. Each of the highly-coveted, handwritten artifacts is estimated between $150,000 and $250,000.

The earlier of the two dates back to 1960—a concert at Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, England. Paul McCartney jotted down a list of mostly covers, including Little Richard’s “Lucille,” “Long Tall Sally,” and “Tutti Frutti,” alongside Elvis Presley’s “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” and “Stuck On You.” Other covers such as Carl Perkins’s “Honey Don’t” and Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie” filled the spaces, leaving room for just a few originals. The Beatles song “One After 909,” made the list—though it would not be released until the Beatles’ 1970 album, Let It Be.

“At this point, the Beatles were about to become a band in the truest sense,” Bonham’s Senior Specialist of Popular Culture Howard Kramer told Rolling Stone. “When these gigs took place, Pete Best had yet to join the band and the first Hamburg engagement was about two months out. Pretty soon, there was no looking back.”

A handwritten setlist by Paul McCartney, 1960 | Courtesy of Bonham’s via Rolling Stone

The second setlist is from just a few years later in April of 1963. Also penned by McCartney, the 10-track list is just one of two sets the band performed at Luton, England’s Majestic Ballroom. Like the first list, this one also includes Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally,” as well as some other covers like Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” and Arthur Alexander’s “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues.”

But, compared to their 1960 show, the 1963 set sees the band filling into their long-desired role as beloved pop performers with more originals like “I Saw Her Standing There,” “From Me to You,” and “Thank You Girl.”

A handwritten setlist by Paul McCartney, 1963 | Courtesy of Bonham’s via Rolling Stone

The shape-shifting band only performed for 3 more years after this second setlist was written. The Beatles retired from the road in 1966, and the vast majority of their 1,000-plus shows were performed before they reached global acclaim.

That scarcity is what makes these setlists so interesting. “The Beatles’ career was relatively brief and there’s very few tangible, physical items directly used by the band that become available to the public,” Kramer says. “The Beatles are still the most collectible music group, and these two documents reveal their inner workings.”

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