Auction 128 highlights
Welcome to Sale 128.
In this sale we are pitching generation against generation with the ultimate ‘Battle of the Bands.’
In the red corner we have the Liverpudlian Beatles’ who conquered the U.S. in 1964 to claim perennial favouritism as the greatest band of all time. And in the blue corner we have ‘Nirvana’ the grunge band from Seattle whose ‘Nevermind’ album released in 1991 established them as the champions of a new generation.
And it is interesting that both shared a common history with Australia.
In 1963 it was a prescient promoter in the form of Ken Brodziak who inked a deal with Brian Epstein the manager of the Beatles to tour the band in Australia just before their meteoric rise to international fandom. It was said that Epstein could easily have broken the contract, but he was a man of his word and so the Beatles arrived in Australia to honour a modest deal that had them staying in a pokey hotel rooms while playing to enormous crowds. You can still picture in your mind’s eye Paul McCartney waving to the crowds below from the small balcony of the Chevron Hotel adjunct which still stands today in Sydney’s King’s Cross today long after the main hotel was demolished.
And almost the same thing happened in 1991 when a group of enterprising promoters Ken West, Vivian Lees and Stephen Pavlovic got on the phone to Kurt Cobain and Chris Novoselic to convince them to tour Australia just on the cusp of the release of their ground-breaking ‘Nevermind’ album which is credited with rejuvenating the waning rock genre.
In this Sale we have a signed Beatles Fan Photo which was once the property of a waiter at Brisbane’s Lennon Hotel. This enterprising gentleman approached each Beatle at different times to sign his photo which is attested to by the different coloured pens used. This is a huge plus as it is now well known that the scenes of Paul’s granddad signing for the band in a back room in ‘a Hard Day’s Night’ was actually based on fact, and it was the tour manager Neil Aspinall who often stood in to sign for John and Paul when they couldn’t be bothered or were otherwise indisposed.
Also, in the sale is a 1991 signed Flyer announcing the 1992 Australian tour of Nirvana. This appears to be a record company promotional item which was probably a prize in a radio competition at the time. ‘Kurt’ is signed ‘Kurdt while the ‘Chris’ signature is also right, as from 1992 on he was known to sign as ‘Krist.’ Cheekily one of the signatories has drawn in a pee-line from the baby.
Perhaps it is a sign of the times but the starting bid on the Beatles photograph is half the starting bid on the Nirvana Flyer – but only the passage of further time will tell who the real winner is in the ‘Battle of the Bands’ or whether a new challenger will emerge.