JFK, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and George Gershwin all featured at Swann March 7

May 1945 presentation first edition of ‘As We Remember Joe’ signed by John F. Kennedy, estimated at $15,000-$25,000 at Swann Galleries.

NEW YORK – An original lyric sheet to the song that prompted the FBI to investigate John Lennon will be offered at Swann Auction Galleries. Signed by both Lennon and co-author Yoko Ono, the words to Attica State are estimated at $10,000-$20,000 as part of a Thursday, March 7 sale of autographs, which will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.

Attica State was written for the Plastic Ono Band shortly after the state suppression of rioting at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York claimed 43 lives in September 1971. It includes the lyric: What a waste of human power, what a waste of human lives, shoot the prisoners in the towers, 43 poor widowed wives.

The former Beatle performed the song publicly for the first time as part of a rally for White Panther Party founder and Black Panther supporter John Sinclair on December 10, 1971. This sheet, signed to the upper edge, is a photocopy of the original typed lyrics that was used during a second performance of the song on the David Frost Show on December 16, 1971. The FBI investigated Lennon from December 1971 until at least Richard Nixon’s defeat of George McGovern in November 1972.

The top-estimated lot in the sale is a 1945 presentation first edition of As We Remember Joe, the privately printed memorial to Joseph Kennedy Jr., who was killed in action in 1944. Sent to the publisher’s secretary, Edgar B. Sherrill, it includes the inscription ‘For Mr. Sherrill with the greatest appreciation for all of his thoughtfulness from Jack Kennedy, May 1945’, plus a typed list of names of those who were to receive some of the 500 printed copies. Described as being in ‘uncommonly good condition’, it has an estimate of $15,000-$25,000.

A group photograph taken at the inauguration ceremony of John F. Kennedy signed by 15 attendees including Jacqueline Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Earl Warren, and Richard Nixon is estimated at $3,000-$4,000, while a score for Rhapsody in Blue, signed and inscribed by its composer, George Gershwin, is estimated at $6,000-$9,000. Rhapsody in Blue premiered at Aeolian Hall in New York City on February 12, 1924 with this early edition of the piano solo and second piano printed in 1925. Gershwin signed it ‘For Mr. Eugene Fuerst – with all best wishes’ on the title page.