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    Sale 5871

    Popular Culture: Rock & Pop

    1 July 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 189

    John Lennon

    Price Realised  

    John Lennon
    A rare set of John Lennon's early photocopied and annotated lyric
    sheets for his groundbreaking album Imagine, 1971
    the early copies of typed drafts showing variations to the released tracks and a few of Lennon's handwritten annotations, were given to journalist Ray Connolly when he visited John and Yoko at Tittenhurst Park in July, 1971; the ten lyric sheets, each a photocopy of a typed page comprise:
    - Imagine, twenty-three lines in four verses originally typed on Hassina's, 26 Christina Gardens, Arima, Trinidad... headed stationery, dated MARCH '71, LONDON, MADRID TRINIDAD, these incomplete lyrics lacking the first appearance of the four line chorus beginning You May Say I'm A Dreamer between the second and third verses of the released track;
    - Crippled Inside, twenty-one lines in four verses originally typed on blank paper, significantly on this page, the original typed song title One Thing You Can't Hide, has been crossed out by Lennon in black ballpoint pen and the new title CRIPPLED INSIDE inscribed in his hand; also in this version the third and fourth verses are in reverse order to those on the released track, and there are a couple of minor word variations, one in the 2nd verse and one in the 4th;
    - Jealous Guy, nineteen lines in three verses and a chorus originally typed on blank paper; these lyrics annotated by Lennon in black ballpoint pen with the numbers 1 and 2 beside their respective verses; and the words Solo and repeat by the second and third chorus demarcations; this version also shows one minor word variation to the released track in the 3rd verse;
    - It's So Hard, twenty lines in four verses originally typed on blank paper, these lyrics, annotated in Lennon's hand in black ballpoint pen with various revisions to the text as he thought about the song's wording; the original typed song title Sometimes I Feel Like Going Down, deleted by Lennon and annotated with a handwritten replacement It's so hard..; the first verse showing a number of variations and amendments: the fifth line with Lennon's handwritten amendment, replacing the word So of the repeated refrain But It's So Hard with the word really; also a variation to the released version is found in the third line which in this instance is: You got to give and in the released version is: You got to be somebody; John's additional handwritten amendments to the typed text are found in the second verse where the last word of the third line You Got To Think is deleted by Lennon and replaced with FEEL SOMETHING, and the word SO in the repeated refrain in the fifth line It's SO Hard is overwritten and replaced with really; an amendment Lennon duplicates in the penultimate line of the last verse;
    - I Don't Want To Be a Soldier Mamma, I Don't Want To Die, thirteen lines in three verses originally typed on blank paper, this version with Lennon's handwritten addition Oh no etc, after each verse; another Lennon notation is found in the third line of the third verse where the last word of the refrain I don't wanna lie, is crossed out and changed to Cry;
    - Give Me Some Truth, twenty-three lines in five verses with four repetitions of the chorus originally typed on blank paper, one variation is found in the fourth line of the third verse With just a pocketful of hope - money for rope, the word 'rope' is changed to dope in the released version;
    - Oh My Love, seventeen lines in four verses originally typed on blank paper, one variation is found in the last word of the second line of the second verse Everything is clear in my head 'head' is changed to heart in the released version;
    - How Do You Sleep?, nineteen lines in three verses originally typed on blank paper, this version showing two minor variations, one in the third line of the second verse where it is: The only things [plural] whereas 'thing' is singular in the released version; and the fourth line of the third verse reads You must have learnt something is all these years - 'is' is replaced by 'in' in the final version;
    - How, twenty-three lines in three verses and one chorus originally typed on blank paper, this version amended in Lennon's hand, each verse numbered by him, verse one additionally numbered 4 and inscribed with his instruction repeat with 'we' instead of 'i'; here the refrain Oh no, Oh no found at the end of the first verse is not repeated at the end of the second and third verses whereas it is in the released version;
    - Oh Yoko nineteen lines in six verses, the lines originally partially typed and partially transcribed in a secretary's hand on blank paper, this version showing numerous variations to the released lyrics: the first verse of the released song In the middle of the night is shown as the fourth verse here and this version begins: In the middle of a bath [i.e. with the second verse of the final version]; the fourth verse here In the middle of the sea In the middle of the sea I call your name O'Yoko does not feature in the released song; in the fifth verse here: In the middle of a wind.. the word wind is crossed out both times and replaced by an amendment in Lennon's hand cloud; in this version the sixth and final verse is written as: In the middle of a dream. however Lennon has marked the fifth and sixth verses with arrows indicating that their order should be transposed, as they did in fact become in the released song;
    - also an additional lyric sheet for the closing song on Lennon's first solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band called: My Mummys Dead nine lines in one verse, the lines originally typed on blank paper, one variation here is seen in line five It's hard to explain which was changed to I can't explain in the released version
    average size per page -- 8x11½in. (20.4x29.3cm.); accompanied by a letter from Ray Connolly concerning the provenance (11)


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    John Lennon recorded his most popular solo album Imagine in February and May 1971 between Abbey Road and in his home studio in Tittenhurst Park near Ascot, and further days overdubbing with Phil Spector at the Record Plant in New York in July, the album was later released in October of that year. This, Lennon's second solo work, is commonly regarded to be his best. Following on from the uncompromising political crusade in his first solo work John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band it has been noted that many of the songs on Imagine were simply gentler renditions of the same key themes. Lennon himself described Imagine as 'Plastic Ono Band' with sugar coating... both the song itself and the album, is the same thing as 'Working Class Hero' , 'Mother' and 'God' on the first disc...But the first record was too real for people, so nobody bought it. Lennon's critics may have accused him of compromise or even sell out but he stood by the message in the first album, and as Peter Doggett suggests he made a conscious attempt to sweeten the bitter pill with melody and harmony..

    It is fascinating to glimpse some of the thought processes Lennnon had when refining these songs in this rare set of lyrics sheets for the complete album. The annotations and additions in his own hand and the variations in the typed text and verse order bear witness to Lennon's creative process in the genesis of these songs.

    In his accompanying letter, Ray Connolly vividly recalls the occasion when Lennon gave him these lyric sheets on one of his numerous visits to Tittenhurst Park: During one visit in July 1971 he played me a test pressing of his new album 'Imagine', which he'd just finished recording in the newly built studios there. As I was listening to it in John and Yoko's bedroom (where meetings often took place) on a Dansette type of player because we couldn't get the new fangled hi-fi system he'd had installed to work, I asked if I could read the lyrics. Whereupon he went downstairs to one of his two secretaries and asked that copies of the lyrics be made for me on the Xerox machine he had. No sooner had I got the copies than John began to take them off me and scribble on them, showing me where he'd made changes to the songs while he'd been recording..... Connolly remembers that the first track Lennon played him from the album was Give Me Some Truth, intended, said Lennon, to be the next single. Connolly states: I didn't think much of it... and asked what was on the other side. Whereupon he played me the song 'Imagine'. "Shouldn't that be the A-side?" I said. He turned to Yoko who was sitting on the bed. "Yoko, Ray thinks 'Imagine' should be the A side".. Connolly believes that this was a deliberate test to find out if I was a "yes man", or he [Lennon] wanted a genuine response from someone about the relative strengths of both songs. Whether this was a test or not, the outcome of the track order would suggest that Lennon got the answer he was hoping for from someone whose opinion he respected.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    The Ray Connolly Collection
    Ray Connolly, who is one of Britain's most distinguished authors, scriptwriters and journalists, has always had strong personal and professional links with the Beatles. During the 1960s, his role as one of the country's leading writers about pop and entertainment often brought him into contact with the group. He met and interviewed them, together and separately, on many occasions, and was invited by Paul McCartney to attend several Beatles recording sessions at Abbey Road.

    He became particularly close to John Lennon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Indeed, when John decided to quit the Beatles in 1969, Ray was one of a handful of people whom he told in strict confidence. During this period John also asked Ray to act as a messenger to Paul McCartney, carrying a letter that he didn't want their respective lawyers to see. Ray met John again during the Imagine sessions in 1971, which was when Lennon gave him a set of typed and handwritten lyrics for the songs on the album.

    Ray was scheduled to fly to New York to interview John and Yoko on the morning of December 9, 1980; but at 4.30am he received a phone-call from a friend, informing him that John had been shot. He subsequently wrote one of the first biographies of his friend, John Lennon 1940-1980. Since then, he has continued to write regularly about John and the Beatles for a variety of newspapers. In addition, he used the traumatic experiences of December 1980 as the basis of a radio play, Unimaginable, which was broadcast by the BBC in 2005.

    Another major Beatles connection in Ray's career resulted when he was asked to write the script for the movie That'll Be The Day, starring David Essex. To obtain background material for the script, he spoke to Ringo Starr about his experiences working at Butlin's before he joined the Beatles. Ringo's memories were so rich that Ray and director David Puttnam decided that Ringo should be given a leading role in the film. Ray also wrote the script for the sequel to that film, the equally popular Stardust.

    Ray's long and eclectic career has also involved writing the scripts for two successful TV series, Lytton's Diary and Perfect Scoundrels (both starring Peter Bowles); a series of novels, the most recent of which, Love Out Of Season, was published in 2008; other scripts for radio, TV and film, including a collaboration with Beatles producer Sir George Martin (The Rhythm Of Life) and a memorable documentary about James Dean; and more than four decades of journalism for leading newspapers and magazines, on a wide variety of subjects.


    Literature

    DOGGETT, Peter The Art & Music of John Lennon, London: Omnibus Press, 2005, p.205
    DU NOYER, Paul We All Shine On - The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song 1970-1980, London:Carlton Books, 1997, p.41
    COLEMAN, Ray Op. cit 1994, p.482
    LENNON, John Op. cit 1980