Beatles Autographs

SA7.  "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Cover Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles For American Runaway, November 1, 1964

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SA7.  "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Cover Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles For American Runaway, November 1, 1964

She's not the runaway who inspired "She's Leaving Home", but 13-year-old Elizabeth Freedman garnered her own share of international publicity when, on October 17, 1964, she slipped away at dawn from her Newton, Massachusetts home and flew to London. Before her overseas adventures were over, she would have a fortuitous meeting with the Beatles and head back to America with two fully-signed Beatles LPs.
Elizabeth's love for the Beatles and the Animals prompted her to withdraw $400 from her bank account, secure a passport, obtain a smallpox vaccination and buy a one-way ticket to London. She left a note at home, saying she was going to see a movie and instead flew off to Britain. Despite her young age, no one questioned her along the way. Once she reached her destination, she immersed herself in the local music and club scene, attending shows by Tommy Steele, Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Petula Clark and Long John Baldry. Having recently attended a concert by the Animals in Boston (where she met Eric Burdon and another member), Elizabeth hoped to once again meet up with the group, which had just returned to England. It was also her intention to see the Beatles in concert, but that seemed unlikely to happen.
In the meantime, Boston police had traced Elizabeth as far as the city's Logan Airport, where it was discovered that she had flown to England. There the trail ended. Her widowed, British-born mother, Barbara Freedman, contacted the U.S. Embassy and Scotland Yard in desperation, asking for their assistance. Elizabeth's passport photo was sent from the authorities in Washington D.C. to Scotland Yard, but neither British nor American authorities were able to locate her. A glimmer of hope appeared when the Embassy soon notified Mrs. Freedman that they had traced Elizabeth to a London hotel, where she had stayed for two days after her arrival. Unfortunately, she had disappeared again.
Mrs. Freedman immediately flew to London to begin her own search, starting with the clubs and coffee bars in the West End.
Enter Beatles producer George Martin. When news of Elizabeth's plight hit the London papers, Martin made this public promise in print: “When this little girl is found I promise her I will see she meets The Beatles before she goes home”. The following day (October 30th), nearly two weeks after her disappearance, Elizabeth was located at a rooming house in the tough Brixton district in South London. The London papers had run a description of the missing girl and police had been tipped off by someone she had met in a club. Mother and daughter were immediately reunited. The pair stayed in London a few additional days and, while in England, visited the girl's grandmother, who lived in a town about 70 miles south.

George Martin’s promise was fulfilled on November 1st when Elizabeth was escorted into the Beatles' dressing room at the Astoria Theatre in Finsbury Park. A published account in the November 2nd Daily Express described the meeting. "So this is the little girl we've been reading about," Ringo quipped. "I don't think we've been to Boston," George said. Paul replied, "We have. That's where we had the tea party." The newspaper article reported that after she ate a hot dog with the Beatles, "Elizabeth saw the show, clutching two record albums the Beatles had signed." Four days later, Elizabeth and her mother returned to Boston where she was promptly grounded for a while.

It is a rare instance indeed when a Beatles signed piece comes with such ironclad provenance, but offered here is one of the two LPs that Elizabeth had autographed by the group during her backstage visit. This original British Parlophone Records mono pressing of A Hard Day's Night has been fully-signed by all four Beatles on the back cover in the same black ballpoint pen. John, Paul and Ringo have signed at the top above the liner notes and George has signed below his photo at the bottom. The signatures are large and legible. John and Paul have also added kisses ("XXX") following their signatures. The LP, which measures 12" x 12", has very light wear and discoloration on the back, but this has no bearing on the clarity of the signatures or the overall beauty of this piece which has remained solely in Elizabeth's possession for almost fifty years.

The LP is accompanied by copies of several newspaper article clippings (both British and America) chronicling Elizabeth's escapades, her mother's frantic search for her and eventually her face-to-face meeting with the boys. As a nice bonus, Elizabeth's Beatles concert ticket from the night of her meeting with them is included. Additionally, there are two black & white photos showing Elizabeth taken at the time of her amazing encounter with the Beatles in their dressing room. In one, John Lennon is seen holding the very A Hard Day’s Night album being offered here! He is pictured clutching the album in one hand and the pen The Beatles used to sign in the other. (Elizabeth recalls Lennon pointing the pen at the photographer and saying "bang, bang" as if he was shooting him.) On the same evening, Elizabeth also had all four Beatles sign a copy of the With The Beatles LP, but gave that album to a friend when she returned home.

Autographed Beatles LPs are among the rarest and most desired of all autographed Beatles pieces as they represent the music the band created. Certainly, A Hard Day's Night, the soundtrack album to their first feature film, is the LP that best exemplifies Beatlemania at its peak. In recognition of the great album that it is, Britain's Q magazine placed A Hard Day's Night at number five in its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". To date, fewer than a dozen A Hard Day’s Night covers signed by all four of The Beatles have materialized, making this an exceptionally rare title.

"They were very friendly, sweet, funny and unassuming," Elizabeth writes in the Letter of Provenance that accompanies the LP. "They were not at all stuck up or arrogant. I was so dazzled by them...". The girl who ran away from home to meet the Beatles still has her memories, but now you can own the well-preserved evidence of her meeting with the four most famous rock musicians of all time. Don't miss this opportunity to acquire an investment-grade artifact with a well-documented back-story that gives it an impeccable pedigree….. $60,000

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