All of those decades-old stories about in-fighting among legendary rockers The Beatles appear to have been validated, after a letter between bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney surfaced at a Boston auction.
The letter, typewritten by Lennon in 1971 (so the experts estimate), was penned in the aftermath of the Beatles’ ugly breakup. It even features annotations by the musician, and was believed to be a response to a critical piece of correspondence written by Linda McCartney (Paul’s wife at the time).
Lennon does not mince words to McCartney, chastising the guitarist for his overblown sense of the Beatles’ importance, and then further lambasting him for Linda’s open critique of Lennon’s departure from the band in 1970. Lennon did not publicly announce that he was leaving The Beatles.
“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!” wrote Lennon.
The introduction of Linda and Lennon’s love interest, Yoko Ono, to the previously tight-knit group caused further strain in the relationship, according to the letter.
“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 petre [sic] 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 s**t that came from your insane family/in laws—and GOD HELP YOU OUT, PAUL…”
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Lennon also claims that he and Ono came up with more ideas that “generated intelligent interest” than he did during the entire Beatles run.
“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,” he scathingly wrote.
You can see the letter in its entirety, below. (WARNING: There is some foul language.)
(Images courtesy of RR Auctions)
The letter is well known in Beatles fan circles, and is referenced in the 2012 book The John Lennon Letters. It officially goes up for auction on Nov. 17.