By Daniel Finkelstein, Chief Leader Writer of The Times
I think I have identified the rarest and most valuable record ever made. Although I don't know where it is.
Hey Jude is considered the first record on the Beatles' Apple label. It was thought that it had no catalogue number because The Beatles decided to have no Apple 1. Then Those Were the Days by Mary Hopkins became Apple 2.
In his unmissably good Beatles book Magical Mystery Tours (a new edition of which is out shortly), Beatles friend Tony Bramwell tells a different story.
Apple's Ron Kass was excited that Maureen Starkey, Ringo's wife, was having her 22nd birthday in August 1968.
So excited that he called up his friend Sammy Cahn in Hollywood and had him rewrite the lyrics to The Lady Is a Tramp so that it related to Maureen and Ringo.
Not only did Cahn do it, but Frank Sinatra then agreed to sing it. It was recorded in the Capitol Studios in Hollywood and then air-couriered to London.
Meanwhile the first Apple label was run-off reading The Lady is a Tramp by Frank Sinatra. And it was pressed at the EMI factory as Apple 1.
There was a big party and the record was played. As Bramwell records:
It was quite something. Then Ron ordered the master stampers crushed. The tape was cut up and destroyed.
Ringo gave the one and only copy in the world to Maureen, and she's dead now.
Surely this record, wherever it now is, is the rarest and most valuable disc in existence. It must be, mustn't it?
But you can hear it here: Maureen Is A Champ (Frank Sinatra)
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