Na… na na NA na na na!
In between all of the terrible news about the coronavirus pandemic, you might have heard that Paul McCartney’s lyric sheet for Hey Jude was bought at auction for $910,000.
That was me. I bought it.
I know what you’re thinking: What a rich asshole. Well, I’ll leave the asshole part for you to decide, but I can guarantee that I’m not wealthy. To quote another well-known but perhaps less valuable Beatles’ lyric: “Try to see it my way.”
My start-up was recently acquired by Apple for $200 million, which is not much by Apple’s standards; I was certainly hoping for more. By the time I paid off my investors and the lawyers took their cut, I was left with only $36 million, which is hardly enough to live off of. The loss of my company means that, technically, like so many Americans these days, I’m unemployed.
The lyric sheet actually represents a sizable portion of my current net worth, but I consider it a safer store of value than gold, Bitcoin, and even people. The looming depression will certainly devalue most currencies, so the money you have in the bank will not be worth as much as it once was. Meanwhile, my $910k will be safely tucked away in a picture frame that I will hang on the mantle above one of my fireplaces.
This little scrap of paper is also a pretty sound investment. Think of how much more it will go for after the pandemic recedes and the economy rights itself. I might even try to sell it back to Paul McCartney.
Jason Watkins, a cataloguer and music specialist at Julien’s Auctions, called the song “iconic,” which explains why I was willing to pay nine times what was expected for it. The figure is really a steal, when you think of all the songs that have ever been written and how much better Hey Jude is than most of those songs. I wouldn’t pay more than $10,000 for the lyric sheet for Starship’s We Built This City.
The auction, which was supposed to have been held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, instead took place online, to allow for safe physical distancing in addition to the regular economic distancing. Some of the other memorabilia that sold at the auction include: a drumhead from the Beatles’ 1964 North American tour ($20,000), a drawing by John and Yoko ($93,750), and an ashtray used by Ringo at Abbey Road ($32,500).
Spending of this sort could be seen as senseless or extravagant, as countless thousands die and life as we know it is put on hold. But the auction felt quite banal, to be honest. I think I can speak for all of the bidders when I say that we hope it brought to everyone some semblance of normalcy — that even under the direst of circumstances, some things will never change.
Maybe money can’t buy me love, but I was able to take a sad song and make things a little better.
This was first published on How Pants Work.