Ringo’s audio diary of 1966

Ringo’s audio diary of 1966

Ringo’s audio diaries of 1966.

A series of compact cassette tapes with recordings Ringo made during the Beatles’ 1966 tour is going under the hammer at Omega Auctions.

Audio cassettes was a novelty at the time, and Ringo probably enjoyed the small format tapes, even though the portable cassette player and recorder may have been heavy to carry around on tour. The Beatles’ press officer Tony Barrow had also acquired a portable Philips cassette player, with which, at Paul’s request, he recorded the historic final Beatles concert in Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

It was in August 1963 that Philips introduced its first compact cassette recorder at the Radio Exhibition in Berlin, Germany.

Omega Auctions suggest that the suitcase Ringo is seen carrying on this airport photo is holding his cassette player.

Among the recordings is a demo of Ringo’s composition, “Don’t Pass Me By”, and Brian Epstein discussing how to import valuable goods from Japan to the UK without paying high taxes.

Another recording is from the group’s first trip to India where they experimented with traditional instruments. There’s approximately 248 minutes of recordings across the three cassette tapes.

Here is a sample of Ringo’s audio verité recordings.

Omega Auctions manager Dan Muscatelli-Hampson said: “These tapes are truly a remarkable discovery.

“Hours of previously unheard material from such a pivotal period will be of huge interest to Beatles experts, fans and collectors and the fact that they were made by Ringo himself, and contain such intimate scenes with the band from the tour, is just incredible.”

He said the tapes include the band “simply messing around and having a laugh during what was a famously difficult tour”.

“Not only do we have Ringo figuring out ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ at the piano, we also may well have the Fab Four experimenting with Indian classical instruments for the first time as well as simply messing around and having a laugh during what was a famously difficult tour. They have to be heard to be believed”.

The tapes had not been previously published, with Omega Auctions adding that the original owner of this content had only recently investigated them, after buying them several years ago.

This lot, comprising two Philips C-90 cassette tapes and one Philips C-60, two with handwritten labels (very likely in the hand of Ringo Starr) ‘INDIA’ and ‘MAHARESHI’ the third with a sticker affixed bearing handwritten label ‘MANILLA (sic) INDIA’, and CD-R transfers of the contents will be sold in the Omega Auctions’ Beatles Collection sale on March 26, 2024.

All three cassettes contain recordings made by Ringo Starr, likely on a personal tape recorder, of various events throughout (mostly) 1966. All recordings have very likely never before been published.

At one point Ringo describes the tapes as ‘a talking record of our trip to Germany and Japan’.

Across the three tapes, which contain hours of candid conversations with The Beatles, Brian Epstein and others within the inner circle during that period, a small selection of ‘highlights’ includes:

– Brian Epstein discussing how to avoid paying tax/import/export charges when leaving Japan.

– Numerous humorous interludes with Ringo recording his thoughts on the tours – often in an array of voices.

– Band discussions of the set list for the Japan tour.

– Recordings from the Budokan concerts (segments of “If I Needed Someone” and “Day Tripper”) possibly from stage or close to stage itself, seemingly more likely from the band listening back to the recordings, whilst still in Japan. Also John asking Brian Epstein what he thought of the show.

– Recordings from Manila inc thoughts on the hotel “pretty crappy”.

– Extensive recordings from July 1966 whilst in India including the group experimenting with Indian musical instruments.

– Extensive recordings of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – possibly recorded later than ‘66- approx 38 minutes worth.

– Recordings of Ringo solo with piano performing “Don’t Pass Me By”, an early version without full lyrics.

– Recordings of Ringo at piano performing two likely unreleased demos – one with refrain ‘have you seen the tulips grow’ and one seemingly a version of “I Bought A Picasso”.

Provenance: purchased by the vendor as part of a collection of Beatles memorabilia. By repute – the original owner had been an acquaintance of Ringo Starr during the 1960s.

Let’s all hope that the recordings will some day be available for us fans to listen to, and not just for the lucky winner of the auction lot and friends.

Link to auction.


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