Get Your Beatles Buttons Here!Seltaeb was set up in 1963 by Nicky Byrne to look after the Beatles merchandising. The name Seltaeb was derived from spelling “Beatles” backwards.

Brian Epstein needed to find someone who could manage the overwhelming volume of merchandising requests on behalf of The Beatles. Epstein’s lawyer, David Jacobs, suggested Nicky Byrne. Byrne asked for, and received, a whopping 90% of the cut, which left only 10% for The Beatles, Brian Epstein and NEMS to split. Jacob’s told Epstein: “10% is better than nothing”.

Brian would later regret agreeing to such a lopsided deal. He was initially unaware of the potential merchandising market that existed, particularly in America, and subsequently lost The Beatles an estimated $100,000,000 in possible earnings. Epstein later renegotiated a more reasonable commission of 49% in August 1964.

Brian worried that if The Beatles discovered the truth about Seltaeb they wouldn’t renew their contracts with him – which were due to expire in the Autumn of 1967. He decided he could not tell them about the original bad deal that potentially lost them many millions of dollars, so he never told them. His troubles with Seltaeb would remain with him until his death on August 27, 1967.

Klaus Voormann with the Beatles Revolver album and his Grammy awardThe cover illustration for the Revolver album was created by artist and bassist Klaus Voormann. German-born Voormann was a friend of the Beatles, dating back to their early days when they played at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany. In 1966, Voormann was asked by John Lennon to design the album sleeve for Revolver. Klaus came up with a “scrapbook collage” for the cover. The band and their manager, Brian Epstein, loved the result. Voormann was paid £40 for the design. He would later receive a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts for this work.

Over 20 years later, Voormann would design the cover art for George Harrison’s 1988 single, “When We Was Fab”. This design included the image of Harrison from the Revolver cover along with an updated drawing in the same style.

In 1995, Voormann designed the covers for The Beatles Anthology albums for Apple Records. He, and fellow artist Alfons Kiefer, painted the covers.

Klaus was the bassist for the British band Manfred Mann, and later a session player and record producer. He occasionally played bass with some of the ex-Beatles’, either for studio recordings or live performances, and was a member of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band.

Billy Preston played the organ on the song “Let It Be” and the Fender Rhodes electric piano on “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” during the recording of the Let It Be album and film (earlier called Get Back). George Harrison brought Preston in to temporarily ease some of the tension in the studio during the tumultuous sessions. Also, the Beatles intended to record the tracks “live”, with no overdubbing, so it helped to have a fifth musician playing keyboards. At one point during the sessions, John Lennon suggested that Billy could join the band as the “Fifth Beatle”, but Paul McCartney nixed the idea saying that it was bad enough with four.

The “Get Back”/”Don’t Let Me Down” single was credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston”. This was the only time an outsider was given this type of credit on an official Beatles-sanctioned release. Tony Sheridan had shared credit on some Hamburg-era recordings, but these were unsanctioned reissues on which the Beatles were primarily the backing group.

Preston also played Hammond organ on the tracks “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Something” that appeared on the Abbey Road album.

The Beatles first met Billy Preston in 1962 when he was part of Little Richard’s touring band. Manager Brian Epstein had organized a Liverpool show in which the Beatles opened for.

Pete Best in the Cavern drumming for The BeatlesPete Best was the original drummer of The Beatles. He became a member of the band on August 12, 1960, just one day before they were to leave for Hamburg, Germany to play a series of shows there.

Two years later, on August 16, 1962, he was dismissed from the group but was never given a satisfactory explanation why. The only reason manager Brian Epstein gave was, “The lads don’t want you in the group anymore”. Although there were probably a few reasons why the lads were wanting to replace him, Pete’s fate was sealed when producer George Martin indicated that he wanted to use a session drummer instead of Best for their studio recordings. The other three Beatles asked Epstein to fire him and replace him with Ringo Starr, who had occasionally sat in with the band when Pete was unavailable.

— Here’s a few quotes from the Beatles about Best’s firing:

“We were always going to dump him when we found a decent drummer.” – John Lennon

“We were cowards when we sacked him.” – John Lennon

“I was quite responsible for stirring things up. I conspired to get Ringo in for good; I talked to Paul and John until they came round to the idea.” – George Harrison

“We weren’t very good at telling Pete (Best) he had to go.” – George Harrison

“I never felt sorry for Pete Best. I was not involved.” – Ringo Starr

“I felt I was a much better drummer than he was.” – Ringo Starr

“It was a strictly professional decision. If he wasn’t up to the mark… then there was no other choice.” – Paul McCartney

“I do feel sorry for him, because of what he could have been on to.”- Paul McCartney

Related post: Who was the original bass player of The Beatles?
Related article on BeatlesLane.com: Whatever happened to former Beatle Pete Best?