George Harrison, shown here in 1972, was the first ex-Beatle to release a solo chart-topping single: the 1971 hit My Sweet Lord. ((Associated Press))

The original, handwritten lyrics ofBeatle George Harrison'ssombre classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps will be auctioned in Arizona next week.

The song, penned on a single sheet of white paper in barely legible scrawl, is expected to sell on Monday for between $500,000 USand $800,000 US.

It's a "really significant and rare piece of memorabilia," said Neil Roberts, auction manager at Britain-based Cooper Owen,which specializes inrock memorabilia and has joined with Scottsdale-based auctioneer Barrett-Jackson for the sale.

"It shows the work in progress, the message and the thoughts behind one of the band members," said Roberts.

The auctioneers declined to release the identity of the owner of the lyrics.

The page of lyrics contains lines that didn't make it into the final version of the song when it was released. It wasin the1968 double album The Beatles, popularly referred to as The White Album.

The work, written two years before the band broke up, appears to highlight the strain between band members at the time with such lines as: "I don't know how someone controlled you," and "They bought and sold you."

The paper also contains an apparent handwritten comment from Harrison over the frustration he was feeling in the tense recording studio. It reads: "The band leader said he ain't playin' no more."

Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote most of the legendary band's material, Harrison generally contributed one or two songson each album, from Don't Bother Me on the album With the Beatles in 1963, to 1970's I Me Mine on Let It Be.

After the band's split, Harrison became the first ex-Beatle to release a solo chart-topping single: the 1971hit My Sweet Lord.

Harrison is also credited with introducing the sitar to British pop music, and went on to form the popular Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty.

Monday's auction will also feature other Beatles lots, including books and albums signed by the Fab Four.

Other celebrity items set to cross the block include:

  • Bill Haley's 1940 Martin D-18 guitar.
  • Johnny Cash's handwritten lyrics for his hit Folsom Prison Blues.
  • The original "S" emblem worn by TV's Superman, George Reeves.
  • Signeditems from the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe.
With files from the Associated Press