Lennon's scrawled lyrics may fetch £200,000
Aug 31 2005
By Sam Lister, Daily Post Staff
The John Lennon words that are worth a fortune.
A PHONE bill demanding £12.15 from John Lennon will set back one of his fans at least £200,000.
The letter asking him to pay the outstanding amount has become one of the most expensive items to go under the hammer at a London auction next month, because the former Beatle scrawled the lyrics of one of the band's classic tracks on the back.
The original working draft for I'm Only Sleeping contains numerous crossingsout and amendments as Lennon struggled to come up with just the right words for what was to become the third track on the groundbreaking 1966 album Revolver.
The 17 lines, mostly in blue pen, were written on the reverse of a final demand from the GPO for Lennon's pre-decimal car phone bill of 12 £3 shillings - the equivalent of £12.15 in today's money.
Jerry Goldman, director of The Beatles Story, said: "Hand-written lyrics, particularly by John Lennon, are always much sought after.
"The value seems quite high but the value of these items is always very unpredictable. It's a great find."
It is dated April 25, 1966, and shows he must have had one of the first car phones in Britain.
At the time of the Revolver album, which also featured classic tracks such as Taxman, Eleanor Rigby and Yellow Submarine, Lennon was living with first wife Cynthia, three-year-old son Julian and five cats in Wey-bridge, Surrey.
He later gave the draft lyrics for I'm Only Sleeping to a male friend, who refuses to be named, and he has now decided to offer them for sale at a Christie's pop memorabilia auction in London on September 28.
I'm Only Sleeping was Lennon's first song on the Revolver album, which shows the Beatles at the peak of their creativity.
The document shows Lennon was toying with two titles for the I'm Only Sleeping track. He has crossed out the opening line "Try to sleep again" and replaced it with "Got to get to sleep."
At the same sale the only existing recording of the Beatles concert at the Princess Theatre in Kowloon, Hong Kong, on June 9, 1964, prior to their Australasian tour, is expected to go for £40,000.
It was recorded by a free-lance journalist in the audience using a portable tape recorder.
A previously unheard and undocumented recording of an hour-long interview with Lennon and second wife Yoko Ono at the Bed-In For Peace in Montreal, Canada, on May 26, 1969, is estimated at £15,000 to £20,000.
The interview, by free-lance journalist Ken Seymour, was never aired and has been locked away in a trunk for 36 years.
A spokeswoman for Chris-tie's said: "There has been a lot of interest in the auction, particularly the phone bill.
"Beatles memorabilia is always a favourite."