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Friday, August 7, 1998 Published at 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK


Beatles songbook up for sale

An important item from a ground-breaking era

A notebook in which Paul McCartney drafted Beatles lyrics for 'Hey Jude' and 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' is set to take centre stage at a sale of rock'n'roll memorabilia.

[ image: Under the microscope... under the hammer]
Under the microscope... under the hammer
Described as one of the most important items to have come on the market, the spiral-bound book will be sold as part of a Sotheby's sale at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Sotheby's rock'n'roll specialist Stephen Maycock expected the "unique record" to fetch between £90,000 and £120,000.

"Lyrics are easily the most collectable items for all collectors," Mr Maycock said.

He added that the lyrics for The Beatles' 'Getting Better' set a new record at auction three years ago fetching £161,000.

Valuable scribbles

Filled with scribbles and brightly coloured ink, the notebook covers the Beatles' groundbreaking period between 1967-68. This was when they produced the albums "Sergeant Pepper" and "The Beatles" - more commonly known as the White Album.

It includes a design for the famous Sergeant Pepper drumskin - featured on the cover of the record - and a list of other requirements for the song, including "piano painted for John".

[ image: Lyrics and instructions fill the notebook]
Lyrics and instructions fill the notebook
The collection of notes was compiled by the band's road manager Mal Evans who was killed by Los Angeles police in 1976 after brandishing an imitation gun.

Mr Maycock said the notebook had come from an "anonymous vendor".

He said he was certain the item was authentic.

"Apart from the source who I know to be 100% genuine, I have seen various handwritings over the years.

"You can compare various manuscripts. It's quite clear that we know almost word for word who has written what in this book," he said.

Previous sales stopped

Lyrics collected by Mal Evans have been the subject of legal action in the past.

[ image: Sir Paul has previously prevented sales]
Sir Paul has previously prevented sales
His widow Lily tried to sell a set of original lyrics to 'With A Little Help From My Friends' in 1996.

However, Sir Paul McCartney went to the High Court to prevent them from being included in an auction.

He claimed that the lyrics were picked up by Mal Evans as part of his duties as a Beatles employee and were held on behalf of the Beatles.

Sir Paul also obtained an injunction to stop the sale of lyrics to Penny Lane in 1997.

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