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Paul McCartney Halts Auction of Cape, Suit and Lyric Sketch

Although the family of his former nanny said that Linda McCartney had gifted the items to her, McCartney's lawyer said that he would never give away clothing

Paul McCartney performs in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
March 21, 2014 12:05 PM ET

Lawyers for Paul McCartney have stopped the auctioning of clothing and a lyric sketch that were due to hit the block this week. The family of the Beatle's now-deceased housekeeper and nanny, Rose Martin, had put up the items – a cape and a suit once worn by McCartney  and a scrap of paper with three lines of lyrics – but the Beatle said that they were not theirs to sell. Martin's family had claimed that McCartney's late wife Linda had given them the apparel three decades ago, according to the Telegraph. They were hoping get £30,000 (about US $49,500) from the auction to give to the housekeeper's grandchildren.

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But McCartney and his team said that the items did not, in fact, belong to Martin's family. A representative for Omega Auctions – which is also auctioning the Beatles' Help! jackets alongside a piano McCartney and John Lennon played around that time – said that McCartney's lawyers told the auctioneers that the Beatle would never have given away clothing. Because both Rose Martin and Linda McCartney have passed away, no one can corroborate the truth.

"At the end of the day we've got to make sure that, according to the law, we give them back to their rightful owner, be that Rose's family or Sir Paul McCartney and MPL Communications [McCartney Productions Ltd.]," Omega's Paul Fairweather said. "We can only apologize to any buyers who were hoping to bid on these items."

The cape was expected to fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 (approximately $16,500 and $25,000), while the auction house had valued the suit at £10,000. The lyric sheet contained the lines, "Baby, you couldn't have done a worse thing to me, If you'd taken an arrow and run it right through me," and was estimated to garner £1,000 to £2,000 ($1,650 to $3,300).

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Martin's grandchildren reportedly used the clothing for "dressing up" in the Eighties, according to the Telegraph.

When Martin died last year, McCartney's website posted the following tribute: "We had sad news recently that our dear friend Rose Martin passed away at the age of 92. Rose was my housekeeper since the early Sixties and for many years looked after us and our children. She was a very classy lady with a mischievous sense of humor. She was fiercely loyal and our family and many friends will miss her dearly."

The auction is going on without the clothing items and includes hundreds of Beatles-related items, and its catalog is online. In 2012, the auction house previously sold Elvis Presley's Bible for approximately $94,000 and offered up the King's stained underwear, though those did not sell. One year prior, it managed to find someone with an extra $31,000 to blow on one of John Lennon's teeth.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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