After an intense bidding battle that lasted almost 6 minutes in Sotheby’s New York Fine Books & Manuscripts sale, John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for ‘A Day In The Life’ finally sold to a round of applause to a private American collector on the telephone for $1,202,500, almost double the presale high estimate (est. $500,000-700,000).
Bidding rapidly became a contest between two of the telephone bidders who competed tenaciously to acquire the celebrated Beatles’ song-writer and musician’s autograph lyrics for ‘A Day In The Life’ – the final track of the legendary 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which spent 27 weeks at the top of the UK’s charts and 15 weeks at number one on the American Billboard 200. The revolutionary album that marked the Beatles transformation from pop icons to artists.
Commenting on its sale, David Redden, International Chairman Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts Department, said: “The outstanding price achieved for these handwritten lyrics is testament to the iconic status of the Beatles, John Lennon and especially this song. We are thrilled that these renowned lyrics were so well-received today.”
The double-sided sheet of paper in Lennon’s hand is complete with cross-outs, corrections, reworkings, and chronicles the evolution of one of the most famous pop masterpieces from conception to the lyrics presumably used in the recording studio.
From the first time it was aired on 1 June 1967, A Day In The Life was recognised as one of the towering achievements of popular music, that elevated not only the Beatles to a new level but allowed pop music to take its place as one of the 20th century’s defining artistic movements.