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Paul McCartney's handwritten "Hey Jude" lyrics sell for $910,000

Paul McCartney speaks to 60 Minutes
Paul McCartney speaks to 60 Minutes 14:18

On the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' breakup, the lyrics to one of the bands most popular songs, "Hey Jude," sold for $910,000 at a New York auction. It was the highest-selling item in the annual Beatlemania auction. 

The lyrics, handwritten by lead vocalist and bassist Paul McCartney, sold for nine times its original estimate on Friday, according to Julien's Auctions. The messy lyric sheet was used when the band recorded the 1968 hit at London's Trident Studios and later gifted to a studio engineer. 

"It's obviously a very iconic song that everyone's familiar with," Julien's Auctions music specialist Jason Watkins told Reuters. "These handwritten lyrics were used in the studio as a guide when they were recording it."

SOLD for $910,000! Handwritten lyrics to the 1968 Beatles hit “Hey Jude” written by Paul McCartney in black felt pen and...

Posted by Julien's Auctions on Friday, April 10, 2020

McCartney wrote the song, originally titled, "Hey Jules," for John Lennon's son Julian to comfort him during the divorce of his parents. It was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 1969 GRAMMY Awards.

The lyrics were just one of more than 250 items of Beatles memorabilia on sale to mark the 50th anniversary of the band's historic breakup, including guitars and other instruments, rare vinyl and other autographed items. Another top item, a bass drumhead with the band's logo from its 1964 North American tour sold for $200,000 and John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "BAGISM" drawing sold for $93,750. 

The original stage from the concert venue Lathom Hall in Seaforth, Liverpool, England, where The Beatles had their first advertised gig sold for $25,000. 

The auction was set to take place at the Hard Rock Cafe New York City but was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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