Lennon handwritten lyrics fetch $1.2 million at auction

By Goldmine Staff and
The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics to the final song on the classic Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” were purchased June 18 by an American collector for $1.2 million.

The winning bid for “A Day in the Life” was placed by phone at Sotheby’s auction house, which declined to identify the collector further. The price exceeded the pre-sale estimate of between $500,000 and $800,000. The double-sided sheet of paper features Lennon’s edits and corrections in his own handwriting — in black felt marker and blue ballpoint pen, with a few annotations in red ink.

Rolling Stone magazine listed “A Day in the Life” at No. 26 in its compilation of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and “Sgt. Pepper” won four Grammy awards in 1968.

The lyrics, which begin with “I read the news today, oh boy,” stirred controversy when the Beatles released the album in 1967. The song was banned by the BBC because it twice features the line, “I’d love to turn you on,” which was interpreted as supporting illegal drug use. The song also was left off copies of “Sgt. Pepper’s” sold in several Asian countries for the same reason.

The album’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was alleged to have glorified the use of the hallucinogenic LSD, a claim that band members denied. In addition, “A Day in the Life” features the lyric “he blew his mind out in a car,” which Beatles aficionados claim is a reference to the accidental death of Tara Browne, the Guinness heir and close friend of both Lennon and Paul McCartney.

The lyrics appear on both sides of the single sheet. One side has Lennon’s original first draft, written in a hurried cursive script. The other side is written almost entirely in capital letters and incorporates the corrections from the first draft and adds the words, “I’d love to turn you on.”

Sotheby’s said the lyrics were consigned by a private collector. The price came close to the $1.25 million paid in 2005 for The Beatles’ lyrics “All You Need is Love,” which sold to an anonymous bidder at the British auction house CooperOwen.
•••••
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The combination of cultural icons Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger satisfied bidders at Brunk Auctions.
Warhol’s 43-7/8-inch by 27-7/8-inch screen print of Jagger, full face overlaid with gray and green, signed by both the artist and the subject, opened at $18,000, and bidding worked up to $26,450, including a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
•••••
LOS ANGELES — A Jim Morrison-signed copy of “The New Creatures” together with “The Lords/Notes on Vision,” sold for more than double its pre-auction estimate of $2,000 to $2,500 at Bonhams & Butterfields Entertainment Memorabilia Auction held June 13. The final price, including buyer’s premium, was $5,795.

A stage-used Grateful Dead mandala that was made for an appearance at the Winterland Ballroom in 1974 sold for $5,490. Other lots of interest (and sale prices, including buyer’s premium) were:
• A Michael Jackson black wool fedora from the 1990s signed “All My Love Michael Jackson,” in silver ink, on the underside of the brim. ($1,830)
• A Jerry Garcia-signed artist’s proof limited-edition print of “Carousel” ($1,586)
• A Roux eyebrow-tinting kit used on Elvis Presley’s eyebrows during the filming of his 1977 TV special “Elvis in Concert” ($1,200)
• A blue corduroy autograph album featuring signatures of entertainers acquired from 1970 to 1976, including George Harrison, Ricky Nelson and Sammy Davis Jr. ($1,098)
• A never-before-seen reel of Super 8 film footage of Elvis from 1962 ($610)
• A third-state mono Beatles Butcher Cover album (no vinyl grade) ($580)
• An Elvis Presley signed color snapshot from 1968 ($366)
• A Michael Jackson original master test proof recording of the “Thriller” single ($732)
• A collection of autographs from 1983, including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Bill Wyman ($275)
• A set of over-sized 33-1/3 RPM records (16 inches in diameter) Judy Garland “air trailers” used for radio advertising purposes in 1940-1941 ($580)

Leave a Reply