John Lennon’s Scathing Letter to Paul and Linda McCartney Sells for Nearly $30,000

Lennon let rip at his former bandmate and his wife.

Paul and Linda McCartney attend the 1978 NME Awards. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

A vitriolic letter from John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney has sold for $29,843 at RR Auction in Boston.

A lucky, anonymous, Beatles fan picked up this enlightening piece of memorabilia which provides great insight into the much-discussed acrimonious split of the legendary pop group in the early 1970s.

The letter, which appears to be a response to an equally cross jointly-written letter from Paul and Linda, expresses Lennon’s disappointment at a lack of acceptance for his and Yoko Ono’s relationship, and an exhausted attitude towards working with the Beatles.

The first page from the typed and overwritten letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney

The first page of the typed and overwritten two-page letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney. Courtesy RR Auction

“I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it (sic),” Lennon opens. “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! Who do you think we/you are?” He goes on, apparently incredulous at the criticism leveled against him by the McCartneys.

“The ‘self-indulgent doesn’t realize who he is hurting’ bit—I hope you realize what you and the rest of my ‘kind and unselfish’ friends laid on Yoko and me since we’ve been together.”

Thought to have been written in 1971 as a response to a letter from Linda McCartney who was criticizing Lennon for not having publicly announced his departure from the Beatles, the letter claims he felt that all the members of the band were as tired of it as he was and that Paul himself had advised him not to do so.

A page from the typed and overwritten letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney

The second page from the typed and overwritten letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney. Courtesy RR Auction

“I’m not ashamed of the Beatles (I did start it all) but some of the shit we took to make them so big—I thought we all felt that way in varying degrees—obviously not,” Lennon writes in the typed draft complete with annotations in pen.

Lennon then goes on to express his disbelief at Paul’s agreement with many people that the Beatles changed music and “art” forever.

“Do you really think that 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 that 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 DISCS AND FLY.”

Ouch! (But, could this well-meant jibe be the inspiration for the band name “Wings?”)

In the same auction of music memorabilia, a Beatles program sold for $16,541; a personal notebook of Miles Davis’ sold for $12,251; a director’s chair belonging to Charlie Chaplin fetched $9,788; a love letter from Judy Garland to Frank Sinatra went for $5,897; and a different typed and signed letter by Lennon and Ono sold for $9,187.


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