Beatles merchandise was everywhere in the 1960s. Fans could buy pins, record holders, wigs, magnetic hair decorating sets and even hair pieces from the Fab Four. The band’s debut recording is one of the most treasured albums around, but a rare Beatles record (or at least one associated with the Fab Four) wins out, and we may never see the unique item again. in its kind.
Frank Sinatra’s song for Ringo Starr’s wife might be the rarest Beatles record
The Beatles soared to the top in England before their popularity exploded in the United States in 1964. The older artists were not ready to leave the scene, however.
Multi-talented singer and actor Kenny Lynch called Paul McCartney and John Lennon idiots. What was the offence? They just couldn’t figure out how to end a song. He must have realized they were the wave of the future as he became the first musician to cover a Beatles song soon after. How dangerous were the Liverpudlians to the old guard? Even Frank Sinatra hoped to see them fail.
Old Blue Eyes was sure the Beatles would die a showbiz death when they arrived in New York in 1964. He was wrong. Instead, they quickly conquered the United States with the help of Ed Sullivan.
Even Sinatra had to admit that no one was bigger than the Beatles in the late 1960s. So the crooner obliged when Ringo Starr asked him (via backchannels) to record a song for his wife, Maureen, for her 22nd birthday in 1968. He reworked the lyrics to “The Lady Is a Tramp” (e.g. – “She married Ringo / And she could have had Paul / That’s why the lady is a champion”) and delivered check-in in time for his birthday.
Sinatra’s song for Maureen Starkey was unique, and perhaps the rarest Beatles record that we might never see again.
As 150 previews of the Beatles author Craig Brown noted that the master recording of “Maureen Is a Champ” was destroyed. A copy has never existed and its whereabouts are unknown.
As a huge Sinatra fan, Ringo’s wife could have kept the unique item, but she died in 1994. If she still owned the only copy, it could have gone to her husband at the time (she and Ringo divorced in 1975). Or his children. Or in storage. It could have been stolen or lost at some point and she was too embarrassed to admit it. Very few people know what it looks like or sounds like. It is not unreasonable to think that it could have been neglected and abandoned. Given the delicate nature of vinyl records, it could have broken or the grooves worn out, rendering it virtually unplayable.
Until someone can prove the record no longer exists, we have to assume that Sinatra’s song for Starkey is out there somewhere, making it the rarest of the few Beatles memorabilia pieces. Still, other Fab Four collectibles are closing in.
Other rare Beatles collectibles that come close to Sinatra’s song
Sinatra has warmed up enough with the Beatles to perform a unique song for Ringo’s wife. He also called George Harrison’s “Something” one of the greatest love songs of all time, and covered that tune and “Yesterday” later in his career. The customized and reworked “The Lady Is a Tramp” is perhaps the rarest Beatles item, but others come close.
The auction house selling the copy of John’s album Yesterday and todaya provisional North American exit between rubber core And Revolver, valued it at more than $100,000. This copy contained the so-called butcher blanket – the Beatles dressed in white robes covered in raw meat and dismembered dolls. This was the only copy signed by John, but others exist. It doesn’t quite approach the truly unique status of Sinatra’s song for Mo Starkey.
Ringo himself had an even more valuable Beatles collectible. His copy of the first white album rolling off the assembly line when sold for almost $800,000, by NME.
Sinatra singing a unique song for Ringo’s wife might be the rarest Beatles record. Other unique Fab Four collectibles sold for over six figures, but these were found and auctioned off. No one knows where the Chairman of the Board tune for Maureen Starkey ended up, making it something of a holy grail for Beatles fanatics.
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