Paul McCartney‘s handwritten lyrics for the Beatles‘ 1968 chart-topper “Hey Jude” have sold at auction to an anonymous buyer for $910,000 (€830,000), despite a pre-auction estimate of $160,000.
Described as a plain sheet 13 by 8 inches, with handwritten lyrics in black felt pen and used in studio for recording. The lines in the lyrics are numbered from 1 through 4, with notations in between such as “BREAK” and at the end “Ending. Fading.” McCartney used the lyrics during the recording at Trident Studios, London, in July 1968 and later gifted them to a studio engineer.
Paul McCartney has previously explained that the inspiration for “Hey Jude” was none other than John Lennon’s then-five-year-old son, Julian Lennon: “I was driving out to John’s house after John and Cynthia had got divorced and I was just going out to say hello to Cynthia and Julian. And I started coming up with these words. In my own mind I was kind of talking to Julian: ‘Hey Jules don’t take it bad, take a sad song and make it better’ — y’know, it will be alright. So, I kind of got the first of the idea on the way out there with this ‘Hey Jules’ as I thought it was going to be called, It seemed a little bit of a mouthful so I changed it to Jude.”
The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” is the band’s biggest single, and topped the charts for nine-straight weeks. The non-album single was The Beatles’ first release on their Apple record label and a highly successful debut. It went on to be nominated for the GRAMMY Awards of 1969 in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
The sale, via Julien’s Auctions on April 10th, fell on the 50th anniversary of McCartney’s announcement he had left the Beatles.
Among the big selling “Fab Four” items were Ringo Starr‘s bass drum head used during the group’s first North American tour in 1964 — which snagged $200,000 (€182,000), and a sketch of John Lennon‘s declaring “BAGISM” which was used during one of his and Yoko Ono‘s famed 1969 “Bed-ins” — which sold for $93,750 (€85,000). A script page for the Beatles’ 1967 “Hello Goodbye” promo film featuring ideas from the group and longtime roadie Mal Evans brought in $83,000 (€75,000).