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Newly Discovered 1960 Letter from Paul McCartney Offers Beatles Audition to Mystery Drummer

Recently, someone opened an old book he picked up at a yard sale in Liverpool, England.

In it was a folded letter handwritten by a young Paul McCartney, offering an audition to a now-unknown drummer in 1960, just days before the Beatles left for a two-month gig in Hamburg, Germany.

The letter, which will be auctioned November 15 by Christie's in London, surprises Beatles scholars because it was written two years before the band dumped Pete Best -- and his patented "atomic beat" -- in favor of Ringo Starr.

The letter, which McCartney wrote on August 12, 1960, offers an audition to a drummer who had advertised his availability in the Liverpool Echo four days earlier. The unsigned ad said, "Drummer_Young_Free."

"Expenses paid 18 pounds per week (approx) for two months," McCartney writes, after starting the letter with "Dear Sir." "If interested ring Jacaranda club." The letter is signed, "Yours sincerely, Paul McCartney of the BEATLES."

No one knows if the mystery drummer even showed up for the audition.

CBS News reports that Christie's spokeswoman Leonie Pitts said the auction house's Beatles experts are certain that the letter was not an early feeler to Starr, who was already well known in Liverpool as a member of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes.

She added that auctioneers had not contacted McCartney to ask if he knew anything about the drummer who had placed the ad.

"We think he's on his honeymoon," she said.

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Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.