Beatles Sgt Pepper's album cover sketch reputedly drawn by John Lennon to go under the hammer in the US

The sketch almost certainly drawn by John Lennon PICTURE: Julien's Auctions via AP

A sketch of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover almost certainly drawn by John Lennon is to go under the hammer in the US.

The crude, ink-on-paper drawing of the famous image will feature in a sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan on May 20.

Julien's Auctions said the drawing was discovered by a former resident of the Weybridge house in the UK where Lennon lived from 1964 to 1968.

The artwork is clearly an outline for the Pepper cover, showing Lennon and his bandmates Sir Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr gathered around a drum, with the group's name spelled out in front of them. Circles in the back indicate spaces which would be filled in on the cover by images of famous faces such as Bob Dylan and Oscar Wilde.

The drawing is undated, meaning it could be a draft, or simply an idle doodle from later on.

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is set to mark its 50th anniversary, and is widely regarded as one of the most important popular music releases of all time. It boasts some of The Beatles' best-known songs, including With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, When I'm Sixty-Four and A Day In The Life.

Released on June 1 1967, its distinctive front cover was created by pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. It features the Fab Four surrounded by images of historical figures and stars of stage and screen.

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