Beatles Demo Dispute Heads to Court

A hearing that will decide the fate of a demo The Beatles recorded at their very first studio session at Abbey Road Studios is set to begin on Tuesday in L.A.

At stake is the ownership of the tape. Universal Music, which now owns EMI, the Fab Four’s label back in 1962, claims it should be theirs. Contesting their claim is the estate of the group’s late studio engineer Geoff Emerick, who hung on to tape despite having been asked by EMI after the session to dispose of it because it wasn’t very good.

The tape was made on June 6th, 1962, before Ringo Starr had even joined The Beatles. It includes an attempt at the song that would become their first single, “Love Me Do.” Emerick held on to it and his family inherited it following his death in 2018. They plan to auction the tape, which a source told the British tabloid The Sun is “an amazing find” that could be worth upwards of $6-million.

The family claim they own the tapes by virtue of Finder’s Law.