John Lennon's angry letter to Paul McCartney up for auction
John Lennon's letter to Paul and Linda McCartney following break-up of Beatles is to be sold at auction – capturing "intense rivalry" between the two men
An angry letter from John Lennon to Paul and his then-wife Linda McCartney following the breakup of The Beatles has been put up for auction.
The two-page draft, typed and hand annotated under Lennon's company Bag Productions Inc letterhead, was responding to prior correspondence to Lennon from Linda McCartney. Though undated, it's estimated that it was written in 1971, shortly before Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono moved to the US. It is expected to fetch more than $20,000 when it goes under the hammer at RR Auctions.
Lennon begins the expletive-ridden letter with: "I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out – I kept thinking who is it – Queenie? Stuart's mother? – Clive Epstein's wife? – Alan Williams? – What the hell – it's Linda!"
Lennon continues: “I hope you realise what shit you and the rest of my ‘kind and unselfish’ friends laid on Yoko and me, since we’ve been together." He also insists that, while he doesn't "resent" his former bandmate, he is "sorry for him." He also suggests the McCartneys' marriage wouldn't last another two years.
Read the letter in full below.
RR Auction's Executive Vice President Robert Livingston says of the item: "The draft captures the intense rivalry between the two men in the months, and even years, surrounding the breakup of the Beatles.”
Also up for auction is Lennon’s last signed document, in which he appoints three proxies to represent him at annual general meetings of companies including Apple Corps in December 1980.
Last month, a draft letter Lennon wrote to the Queen explaining why he was returning his MBE was valued at £60,000. It was originally found inside a record sleeve bought at a car boot sale for £10 around 20 years ago.
John Lennon's letter to Paul and Linda McCartney transcript
Dear Linda and Paul,
I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out – I kept thinking who is it – Queenie? Stuart's mother? – Clive Epstein's wife? – Alan Williams? – What the hell – it's Linda!
You really think the press are beneath me/you? Do you think that? Who do you think we/you are? The "self-indulgent doesn't realise who he is hurting" bit–I hope you realise what shit you and the rest of my 'kind and unselfish' friends laid on Yoko and me, since we've been together. It might have sometimes been a bit more subtle or should I say "middle class" – but not often. We both "rose above it" quite a few times – and forgave you two – so it's the least you can do for us – you noble people. Linda – if you don't care what I say – shut up! – let Paul write – or whatever.
When asked about what I thought originally concerning MBE, etc. – I told them as best as I can remember – and I do remember squirming a little – don't you, Paul? – or do you – as I suspect – still believe it all? I'll forgive Paul for encouraging the Beatles – if he forgives me for the same – for being – "honest with me and caring too much"! Fucking hell, Linda, you're not writing for Beatle book.
I'm not ashamed of the Beatles – I did start it all – but of some of the shit we took to make them so big – I thought we all felt that way in varying degrees – obviously not.
Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? – I don't believe you're that insane – Paul – do you believe that? When you stop believing it you might wake up! Didn't we always say we were part of the movement – not all of it? – Of course, we changed the world – but try and follow it through – get off your gold disc and fly!
Don't give me that Aunty Gin shit about "in five years I'll look back as a different person" – don't you see that's what's happening now – If I only knew then what I know now – you seemed to have missed that point.
Excuse me if I use "Beatle Space" to talk about whatever I want – obviously if they keep asking Beatle questions – I'll answer them – and get as much John and Yoko Space as I can – they ask me about Paul and I answer – I know some of it gets personal – but whether you believe it or not I try and answer straight – and the bits they use are obviously the juicy bits – I don't resent your husband – I'm sorry for him. I know the Beatles are "quite nice people" – I'm one of them – they're also just as big bastards as anyone else – so get off your high horse! – by the way – we've had more intelligent interest in our new activities in one year than we had throughout the Beatle era.
Finally, about not telling anyone that I left the Beatles – Paul and Klein both spent the day persuading me it was better not to say anything – asking me not to say anything because it would 'hurt the Beatles'– and 'let's just let it peter out' – remember? So get that into your petty little perversion of a mind, Mrs. McCartney – the c**ts asked me to keep quiet about it. Of course, the money angle is important – to all of us – especially after all the petty shit that came from your insane family/in laws – and God help you out Paul – see you in two years – I reckon you'll be out then.
In spite of it all,
Love to you both,
From us two
P.S. About addressing your letter just to me – still...