The Rock & Roll Pop Culture Winter Auction 2023
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/16/2023
An exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire the most sought-after type of Beatles memorabilia – handwritten lyrics – some examples achieving over a million dollars at auction. In this case it is Paul McCartney’s early handwritten lyrics for the infamous “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”

Released on the Beatles' final album Abbey Road, “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” was recorded July 9-11 and August 6, 1969, though its genesis was in the winter of 1965-66, and was being worked on in the studio in January 1969. The song has a vaudevillian nature despite its depressing subject matter, being a story about medical student Maxwell Edison, who uses his silver hammer to murder his girlfriend, then his teacher, and finally the judge during his murder trial.

In his 2021 book Lyrics, Paul writes extensively about how the song was developed and what was going through his mind. He was particularly pleased to rhyme the nonsense word “pataphysical” with “quizzical.” McCartney notes that Maxwell is a serial killer and “his hammer isn’t an ordinary household hammer but, as I envision it, one that doctors use to hit your knee. Not made of rubber, though. Silver.” He continues, “So there we were, recording a song like ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and knowing we would never have the opportunity to perform it. That possibility was over. It had been knocked on the head like one of Maxwell’s victims. Bang bang.”

Lyrics for Beatles compositions hand-written by Paul McCartney rarely surface on the market, in part because he tended to keep them. Handwritten lyrics show the artist at work. Frank Caiazzo, the foremost Beatles handwriting expert, has noted that “handwritten lyrics, in any form, are the absolute best piece [of Beatles handwriting] you can have.” Andy Linehan, curator of popular music recordings at the British Library, said: “Handwritten drafts of song lyrics have a special quality – they show that initial spark of creativity.” Music professor Gary Kendall instructs, “It is the only hard evidence we have of how The Beatles’ creative process took place. We never think about how that song did not exist at one point. Somebody actually had to put pen to paper.”

The lyrics measure approximately 11.625 x 8.25 inches on Apple Corp letterhead. There is tape residue on the back and it is somewhat visible on the front without interfering with the handwriting.

This particular set of lyrics were used in the iconic “Get Back” studio recordings which were featured in the iconic documentary. Paul McCartney and Mal Evans lyrics sheets can be seen being used during the studio sessions.

Provenance: Christie’s 2006 catalog stating the lyrics are from the collection of McCartney biographer Barry Miles.

Authentication: Frank Caiazzo Letter of Authenticity, a James Spence Authentication (JSA) Letter of Authenticity, a Roger Epperson (REAL) Letter of Authenticity and a Gotta Have Rock and Roll Certificate of Authenticity.
The Beatles Paul McCartney Handwritten Lyrics to “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” Used in Iconic “Get Back” Sessions (Caiazzo, JSA & REAL)
This lot has a Reserve Price that has not been met.
Current Bidding (Reserve Not Met)
Minimum Bid: $300,000
Final Bid:
Estimate: $500,000 - $750,000
Number of Bids:5
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