In May of 1966, George Harrison penned a letter to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew, revealing that after careful deliberation, monetary issues prevented the Beatles from recording at Stax in Memphis with Producer Jim Stewart.
"We would all like it a lot," Harrison wrote in the recently released letter, "but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word 'Beatles,' and so it fell through!" Rumors surrounding the Stax Sessions have previously dispersed but were always put to rest upon discussing security issues. The only producer the four-piece Liverpool band ever worked with was George Martin, so the contemplation over Jim Stewart leaves fans a bit surprised.
Drew traveled with the Beatles during their 1964 and 1965 world tour, becoming closer with the band members, Recordmecca reports. Harrison opened his letter by thanking Drew from sending him records by Mrs. Miller and Edwin Starr. Los Angeles rock memorabilia merchandiser Jeff Gold acquired the letter from Drew's widow in 2013 after his passing and recently put it up for sale for around $20,000.
"When I read the Stax part I was like, 'What the hell is this?'" says Gold. "I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about this stuff, and I knew it was a major revelation."
The letter written on May 7, 1966 was penned during the Beatles' recording stages of Revolver, notes Rolling Stone. "The album we are making now should be out around October," Harrison wrote. "But I hear Capitol will make an intermediate album with unused tracks from Rubber Soul, a few old singles and about two or three of the new tracks we have just cut...Well I am off to the studio any minute, as soon as John and Ringo arrive." The intermediate album was later known as Yesterday and Today.
"The general assessment is that Capitol did pretty much whatever they wanted with Beatles records," Gold says. "To see that George had a very specific understanding of what Yesterday and Today was going to be before it came out was kind of a revelation too. It surprised me."
Gold believes the letter of a large asking price will sell expediently. "It's just so special," he says. "More people collect the Beatles than anyone else. Bob Dylan is right up there, as are The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. It depends on what you find, but the Beatles are the most widely-collected artist."