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Originally published Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Beatles sue to block release of '62 bootleg

Lawyers for the Beatles sued Friday to prevent the distribution of unreleased recordings purportedly made during Ringo Starr's first performance...

The Associated Press

MIAMI — Lawyers for the Beatles sued Friday to prevent the distribution of unreleased recordings purportedly made during Ringo Starr's first performance with the group in 1962.

The dispute between Apple Corps, the London company formed by the Beatles that helps guard their legacy, and Fuego Entertainment, of Miami Lakes, stems from recordings the Fab Four apparently made during a performance at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany.

Eight unreleased tracks are said to be among the recordings, including Paul McCartney singing Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" and McCartney and John Lennon singing "Ask Me Why."

Apple Corps claims the songs were taped without the consent of the band and that Fuego and sister companies Echo-Fuego Music Group and Echo-Vista have no right to distribute them.

"This appears to us to be a garden-variety bootleg recording," said Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for Apple Corps.

But a Fuego Entertainment official said the recordings were legally made.

"Don't claim that these were just bootlegged," Fuego President Hugo Cancio said. "It's not like today, that you just go in with a phone or a BlackBerry and you record."

The lawsuit contends that the recordings are of poor quality and that circulating them "dilutes and tarnishes the extraordinarily valuable image associated with the Beatles."

Cancio said he had not been served with a copy of the lawsuit, but the filing demanding at least $15 million in damages was not expected.

"I'm surprised because up to a few weeks ago, we were in good-faith conversations with Apple," he said.

Also named in the lawsuit is Jeffrey Collins, a partner of Cancio who obtained the recordings. It is unclear how Collins obtained the recordings.

Cancio intended to release the songs as "Jammin' with The Beatles and Friends, Star Club, Hamburg, 1962."

"The world deserves to hear these tracks," he said.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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