Friday 20 May 2016


Paul and the pages from Robert Barclay's 'guitar book'

IT is believed to be a cast-off song from one of The Beatles’ best-known albums, doomed to be forgotten without ever being heard in concert or recorded for the Fab Four’s fans.
Instead, the lyrics and chords for Pensioner’s Waltz, thought to have been omitted from the final running order of The White Album nearly 50 years ago, were curiously left hidden in an exercise book owned by a Hampstead schoolboy, who subsequently defaced the cover with a transfer of a cow.
The full, and bizarre, story of how Robert Barclay, then aged 10, ended up with Paul McCartney’s makeshift manuscript has been revealed after the key pages were put up for auction with memorabilia hunters expecting the surviving notes to be sold for tens of thousands of pounds. 

In a signed statement to prove its authenticity, Mr Barclay, now in his 50s, told of a chance meeting with Linda as well as Crosby, Stills and Nash at his mother’s shop at the Hampstead Antique Emporium in Heath Street, where he would head to at the end of his day at school. 

The Hampstead Antique Emporium
“Around 1968/69 I was a pupil at St Anthony’s School in Hampstead and I was learning how to play the guitar. I was 10 or 11 years old,” Mr Barclay said in his letter, explaining the source of the notes. 

“At this time, antiques were just beginning to become fashionable… On one occasion, there was a group of people buying some things from my mother. 
“This group included Linda McCartney, Dave Crosby, Steve Stills and Graham Nash. Having just come from my guitar lessons, I had my ‘guitar book’. This was a school exercise book with a green soft cover and lined pages, and included a number of popular pop songs with lyrics and guitar chords. Dave Crosby et al autographed my book and Linda McCartney offered to take it home to get Paul to autograph it, following which she said she promised to post it back to me at home.”
Mr Barclay added: “I reluctantly agreed and some months later my guitar book arrived in the post. Paul McCartney had autographed the front cover and he had also written inside the book the lyrics and chords for an original song, Pensioner’s Waltz. He also drew a picture of an apple and this was coloured in green felt pen. I never knew how the song should be played because there were only chords, no notes.”
The apple drawing is taken to be a play on the band’s record label, while the message “thank you sir” is added to the bottom of the page. 
The notes have changed hands since and will go under the hammer again in New York on Saturday in a sale organised by the Julien’s auction house which will be open to online bidders, allowing potential buyers on this side of the Atlantic to bag a unique piece of musical history, albeit an expensive one. The higher guide price range is $60,000.
Suitably unaware of what the pages would one day be worth, Mr Barclay said the rest of the exercise book had been given his own stamp.
“The song remained intact but unfortunately I defaced the front cover,” he said. 
“As a day-dreaming 10-year-old, bored one morning at breakfast, I traced over his autograph and then covered the cover of the book with a transfer of a cow and a milkmaid, both of which had fallen out of a packet of Frosties.”
Darren Julien, president of Julien's auctions, said: "We do have a lot of interest in this item.  We have several phone bidders registered on it as well as online."

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