Handwritten Lyrics of Beatles Song Sell High at Auction

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. high-profile / haɪ ˈproʊ faɪl / (adj) – getting a lot of attention from the public

    Many celebrities frequent high-profile restaurants in New York.

  2. mark / mɑrk / (v) – to observe or remember something, usually a special event

    The publishing house reprinted the book series with new covers to mark its 20th anniversary.

  3. one of a kind / wʌn əv ə kaɪnd / (idiom) – special or unique

    The necklace is one of a kind; I’ve never seen anything else like it before.

  4. footage / ˈfʊt ɪdʒ / (n) – a video recording of a person, event, scene, etc.

    The footage of the first moon landing is being shown in the exhibit.

  5. memorabilia / ˌmɛm ər əˈbɪl i ə / (n) – items that are collected in honor of an event or person

    My sister’s room is full of memorabilia from her travels.


Read the text below.

The original handwritten lyrics of “Hey Jude,” a hit song by the phenomenal English band The Beatles, fetched almost a million dollars at an auction.

The sheet of paper with the lyrics scribbled by Paul McCartney himself was sold at a Beatles-themed auction put up by Julien’s Auctions. The high-profile California-based auction house hosted the event to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s breakup. The item was originally priced at $160,000, but it was sold for $910,000.

“Hey Jude,” which was written for John Lennon’s son Julian, instantly became a hit single when it was released in 1968. The Rolling Stone music charts list it as the eighth-best song of all time.

The band’s ex-bassist and co-vocalist wrote the song during a recording session. According to Julien’s Auctions president, Darren Julien, the lyrics sheet is one of a kind because there are rare photos and footage of McCartney using it while recording the song. The sheet was sold along with one of these photos.

The handwritten lyrics became the event’s topseller. Aside from this item, the auction also sold other Beatles memorabilia at high prices.

The next highest-selling item was Ringo Starr’s drum head, which was used during The Beatles’ first US tour in 1964. The drum head that featured the band’s iconic logo was estimated to be worth $50,000, but it sold for $200,000. The stage used in The Beatles’ debut in 1960 was also auctioned off at over $25,000.

Other items sold include a black-and-white photo with all the members’ autographs, John Lennon’s handwritten notes, and some of McCartney’s artwork.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the handwritten lyrics sold for an appropriate price, or was it too much? Why?
• Given the opportunity, would you buy memorabilia from a band or artist that you like? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What kind of items should not be sold at auctions (e.g. personal belongings, broken objects)? Discuss.
• Would you auction off any important item that you own? Why or why not?