Julian Lennon to auction NFT of Paul McCartney’s notes for Hey Jude

Paul McCartney’s original notes for Hey Jude are being sold, digitally at least, by one of John Lennon’s sons.

Julian Lennon has announced details of a Beatles memorabilia sale in which outfits, guitars and the song notes will be sold as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

Julian Lennon was five when, in 1968, his father left his mother, Cynthia, for Yoko Ono. McCartney went to see Julian at the Lennon family home in Surrey and came up with the tune and germ of the lyrics for Hey Jude in the car.

Originally titled Hey Jules, it was meant to comfort young Julian – take a sad song and make it better. “Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing,” McCartney once said. “I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces … I had the idea [for the song] by the time I got there.”

The song was an immediate hit, becoming that year’s top-selling single in the UK and the US. With its infectious four-minute “na, na-na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey Jude” refrain it remains, arguably, the Beatles’ biggest crowd pleaser.

The notes show McCartney structuring the song into four distinct sections. It starts with “voice and piano” and ends with ‘LONG SLOW FADE’.

Bidding for the notes starts at $30,000 (£22,267), with buyers told: “This NFT is a one of one edition of the physical item and does not include the physical item.” It does, however, come with an “exclusive audio narration” by Julian Lennon.

Other objects being sold as NFTs are three Gibson guitars and two John Lennon outfits: the Afghan coat he wore in the film Magical Mystery Tour and at the launch party for the album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and a black cape he wore in the film Help!

Julian Lennon hoped the sale would be “a unique way to continue Dad’s legacy.” He told Variety: “I’ve been collecting these personal items for about 30 years, and I was getting a bit fed up with them being locked away in a vault, where I’ve had to keep them because I didn’t want them to get damaged.”

Part of the proceeds from the auction, taking place on 7 February, will go to Julian Lennon’s philanthropic White Feather Foundation.

The idea of NFTs is that buyers become the owner of a unique digital item, rather than the unique physical item.

The global market for them appears to be booming, last month estimated at $22bn (£16.5bn). The most valuable NFT sale of 2021 was The First 5000 Days, a digital collage by Beeple, the name used by the American digital artist Mike Winkelmann, that was auctioned for $69.4m in March.

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