Staff at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) were stunned when a plastic bag left at their local fundraising store included a super-rare demo cut of The Beatles first ever single, "Love Me Do"
They say charity begins at home, but for an anonymous resident of sleepy Midhurst in West Sussex, England, it started with their record collection. Or, to be more precise, their decision to donate 25 of their old records to a nearby charity.
Bearing the words “Demonstration Record” and “Not For Sale’,” the seven-inch vinyl carries a subtle misspelling of Paul McCartney’s name, so that the songwriting credits read “Lennon–McArtney’.”
It is just one of just 250 demos printed by Parlophone Records in 1962 for British radio airplay and is thought to be worth in excess of $20,000.
“We get all sorts of unique and wonderful high-value donations sent to our eBay shop — we sell over 5,000 items every week but this is a real one-off!,” says Andrew Ostcliffe from the British Heart Foundation, who is handling the sale of the donated item on the BHFs eBay site.
“It was a total shock to see such a rare, collectible item that was not for resale had been donated, which is why we want to see it reach its full potential value,” he adds.
“We’re incredibly excited to see how much money the record raises for the charity — especially as every penny goes towards funding our vital heart research.”
The “Love Me Do” single isn’t the only piece of Beatles memorabilia to recently appear. After decades of unavailability, the Beatles’ 1970 documentary film Let It Be is getting a long-awaited reissue, alongside a yet-to-be-titled Beatles documentary from Academy Award-winning director Sir Peter Jackson.
“The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”
“Love Me Do” was first released in the U.K. on October 5, 1962 and peaked at Number 17 on the national charts. By the time the Fab Four landed at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport on Feb. 7, 1964, however, Beatlemania was in full swing and the song claimed the U.S. Number 1 spot on May 30, 1964.
It wasn’t The Beatles’ first U.S. No.1: that honor goes to “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which topped the Billboard chart in February 1964.
The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show shortly after, drawing an estimated audience of 73 million U.S. viewers.