Sir Paul McCartney planned to reunite THE Beatles a year before John Lennon was murdered, according to a newly released record contract.

In a 1979 deal with CBS Records, McCartney claimed he could again make music with Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr under the banner of The Beatles.

Details of the $10.8 million (GBP6 million) contract have been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death on 8 December 1980 later this week.

An industry insider comments, "This is the earliest evidence of any Beatle making formal overtures towards a reunion."

Lennon was shot by assassin Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment.