On May 7th, 1966, George Harrison wrote a letter to Atlanta DJ Paul Drew that details the Beatles’ consideration to record at Stax in Memphis with producer Jim Stewart. It also reveals that the plan fell through because of financial issues.
“We would all like it a lot,” the Beatle’s handwritten note says, “but too many people get insane with money ideas at the mention of the word ‘Beatles,’ and so it fell through!”
Previous speculation said that the Beatles pulled out of the Stax sessions because of security issues. It was also previously unknown that they contemplated working with Jim Steward instead of George Martin, who was the only producer they’d ever worked with.
Harrison’s letter was put up for sale recently by a Los Angeles rock collectibles dealer, Jeff Gold. Gold received the letter from Drew’s widow in 2013, just after his passing. “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.”
Drew was a notable radio DJ and program director, who travelled with the band on their world tour in 1964 and 1965.
The letter is selling for $20,000, and Jeff Gold thinks it’ll sell quickly. “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.”