Paul McCartney’s “Hey Jude” Lyrics Sell For $910,000

The winning bid was significantly more than the estimate

Paul and Linda McCartney
Paul and Linda McCartney in 1974.
I, Corwin/Creative Commons

What would you pay for Paul McCartney’s hand-written lyrics for “Hey Jude”? For one Beatles fan, the answer was close to a million dollars. It’s now been 50 years since The Beatles broke up — and that anniversary prompted Julien’s Auctions to hold a high-profile auction of a number of Beatles-related items.

Among the items up for bid were the hand-written lyrics for “Hey Jude” which McCartney had used when recording the song. The website for Julien’s Auctions estimated that they would sell for between $160,000 and $180,000. As it turns out, they sold for quite a bit more.

Writing at Rolling Stone, Daniel Kreps has more details on the auction, including comments from the auction house and descriptions of some of the other items made available — including the stage on which the band performed for the first time, at a show where they were billed as “the Silver Beats.”

Two years ago, Rob Sheffield — also writing at Rolling Stonemade the case for why “Hey Jude” is particularly emblematic of the Fab Four.

… it’s a song born from conflict. Nobody knew they were falling apart — in fact, “Hey Jude” was released four days after Ringo officially quit the band, walking out on the White Album sessions. Paul wrote it during John’s divorce, to cheer up his mate’s five-year-old son. As Julian Lennon recalled, “He was just trying to console me and Mum.” The world has been taking consolation from “Hey Jude” ever since.

The Rolling Stone report on the auction doesn’t have any details on the buyer of the lyrics. We can conclude from the circumstances of the sale, however, that they’re likely someone who enjoys the music of The Beatles and has a bit of money to spend.

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