LONDON – “It will be worth something someday,” John Lennon told Gail Renard four decades ago, handing her scribbled lyrics to “Give Peace a Chance.”
Those lyrics are featured among Renard’s rock and pop collectibles that will be auctioned by Christie’s of London. The lyrics will go on public view in New York on May 7-20 and in London on July 5. They will be auctioned on July 10.
The entire Renard collection is valued at about $600,000. But Lennon collectibles frequently sell for far more than their presale estimates. His handwritten lyrics for “All You Need Is Love” sold for $1,250,000 in 2005, and in 2003 the lyrics for “Nowhere Man” lyrics sold for $455,500.
“Give Peace a Chance” is recognized as one of Lennon’s most influential solo works; a half-million protesters sang the song outside of the White House.
Among collectors, what are known as “working lyrics” are among the most valuable items related to popular artists. That’s because they show the artist’s creative process including notes, re-writes and crossed-out text. Lennon gave Renard the lyrics in 1969 in the midst of his famous eight-day “bed-in” to protest the Vietnam War with his new wife, Yoko Ono.
Now a comedy writer, Renard was a teenage fan who sneaked past security guards at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal and wound up befriending the famous couple. The song was recorded in the hotel room with celebrity friends and later touched up in the studio.
Worthologist Chris Hughes said the question surrounding these lyrics is not their authenticity, but whether the document represents a song-in-progress. As there were many participants in Lennon’s Montreal “Bed-In,” who sang “Give Peace a Chance,” Hughes wonders whether the lyrics could be a copy that Lennon made for his guests.
“Although these lyrics are penned by Lennon, they may have been used along with other duplicates for his guests to sing from,” Hughes said.
In 2007, a lock of Lennon’s hair sold for $48,000. It was collected by his stylist and tucked inside an autographed copy of Lennon’s book “A Spaniard in the Works.”
In 2005, the white suit that Lennon wore on the cover of “Abbey Road,” the Beatles’ final album, sold for $117,000.
For more information about Worthologist Chris Hughes
Christie’s Press Release on the Lennon lyrics auction