BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  Entertainment: Music
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 29 April, 2002, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Sir Paul stops Hey Jude lyrics auction
The Beatles
Hey Jude was The Beatles' biggest-selling single
Sir Paul McCartney has blocked the sale at auction of handwritten lyrics to Hey Jude, saying they disappeared from his home.

The lyrics had been estimated to fetch up to 80,000 in a pop memorabilia sale at Christie's in London on Tuesday.

But a High Court judge on Monday ordered the lyrics should be withdrawn from sale because of a dispute over ownership.

The piece of paper was offered for sale by Frenchman Florrent Tessier, who bought them from a market stall in Portobello Road in 1971 while on holiday in the UK.

The song was one of the Beatles' most successful and enduring hits.

Two of the handwritten lines differ from the final version of the song, and the last few lines are missing.

Hey Jude lyrics
The lyrics differ from the final version
Mr Tessier said he did not know it was genuine until he took the document - which he had kept at home - to Christie's for valuation six years ago.

But Sir Paul's lawyer, Richard Meade, told the court Mr Tessier must have known it was genuine at the time of buying it.

Emotional value

He said Mr Tessier would have realised the value of the document when he bought it for around 10, representing 10% of his total budget for his holiday at the time in the UK.

Mr Meade told Mr Justice Laddie that Sir Paul had written the song for John Lennon's son Julian, to help him get over his parents divorce and therefore had great emotional value.

Paul McCartney
Sir Paul wrote the lyrics between 1967-68
Sir Paul believes the lyrics must have gone missing during one of a series of break-ins at his home in St John's Wood or had been taken by someone working for him.

But Richard Morgan, acting on behalf of Christie's, asked why, if it had such sentimental value, did he not report the loss the police.

Deep pockets

He also suggested that if it had such great personal value then Sir Paul should bid for it himself at auction in case he later loses the right to keep it.

Mr Justice Laddie dismissed this, saying: "Sir Paul would be made to bid at auction for something he thinks is his property.

"Everybody knows he has a deep pocket and the price will go up and up.

"He may have to keep on bidding, against the risk that his claim to be the owner of the document may not resolve in his favour at trial."

John Lennon
Sir Paul wrote the song for Lennon's son Julian
The document will remain at Christie's in South Kensington until its fate is decided either by agreement or trial.

Christie's has already indicated it will not get involved in any action over ownership.

Mr Justice Laddie halted the sale because the lyrics could end up going abroad if sold in auction, making a future decision about ownership much harder.

He expressed his wishes that both sides could reach an agreement without more court action.

See also:

13 Sep 98 | Entertainment
Sgt Pepper steals Geri's limelight
30 Nov 01 | Music
The Beatles' musical footprints
30 Dec 99 | Music
The Beatles' separate paths
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Music stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Music stories