John Lennon lyrics

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to songs such as In My Life were donated to the British Library by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, seen at right, in lieu of taxes. (Yui Mok/Associated Press)

The British Library has been given letters and lyrics by John Lennon under a program that accepts donations of art and cultural artifacts in place of tax.

The Arts Council said Thursday that the papers include a letter adorned with sketches and verses written by Lennon to his friend and bandmate Stuart Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe died of a brain hemorrhage at age 21 in 1962, before The Beatles achieved global fame.

Also donated were Lennon's handwritten lyrics to Beatles songs including In My Life and Strawberry Fields Forever.

The items were donated by Beatles biographer Hunter Davies in place of £120,000 ($201,000 Cdn) in taxes. Davies said he was happy to see the Beatles' papers in the library "next to the Magna Carta and works by Shakespeare and Beethoven, because that's where I honestly think they belong."

The government-funded Arts Council said almost £50 million worth of works was given to museums and galleries through the program in 2012-13. They include a painting by 19th-century artist Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot from the estate of painter Lucian Freud, given to the National Gallery in lieu of £1.4 million in inheritance tax.

Tribute tied to Sullivan Show anniversary

Ed Sullivan and the Beatles

American television host Ed Sullivan smiles while standing with British rock group the Beatles on the set of his television variety series, New York, February 9, 1964. Left to right: Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Sullivan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Also on Thursday, CBS announced plans for a two-hour special to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' groundbreaking first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The special will be billed as a Grammy Awards salute to the Beatles and will be recorded the day after the Grammys are held, two weeks earlier. Top contemporary artists will cover songs the Beatles performed on Sullivan, a historic night in music that launched Beatlemania in the United States.

The special will air on Feb. 9, 50 years to the day the Beatles appeared on Sullivan, in the same time slot and on the same network. Participating artists have yet to be announced.