John Lennon’s furious ‘break up’ letter to the Beatles revealed 2

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A letter written by John Lennon to Paul and Linda McCartney shortly after the Beatles split has been sold at auction for almost $30,000.

It’s a scathing letter, ripping into the McCartneys and especially Linda McCartney, and reveals just how competitive things got between the Lennon-McCartney partnership.

The two-page typed document, with some handwritten additions by Lennon, unleashes on the McCartneys with phrases such as ‘all the petty s**t that came from your insane family/inlaws — and GOD HELP YOU OUT, PAUL — see you in two years — I reckon you’ll be out then’.

The letter, believed to have been written in 1971, was sold to an anonymous buyer through the Boston-based auction house RR Auction.

According to the auctioneers, the singer is said to have been responding to some sort of complaint by Linda McCartney about Lennon’s failure to publicly announce that he had left the Beatles.

While he addresses much of the tirade at both parties, you’d be kidding yourself if the majority of the hate wasn’t directed squarely at Linda.

Here’s the letter in full:

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 realize who he is hurting’ bit — I hope you realize what s**t 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 — & 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’! F**king hell, Linda, you’re not writing for Beatle [sic] book!!!

I’m not ashamed of the Beatles — (I did start it all) — but of some of the s**t 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 s**t 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 b*****ds 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 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 — 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….!!!

What do you think of John Lennon’s letter? Have you ever been on the receiving end of a tirade? How did it make you feel?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Yes… I was on the sender end of a tirade. I was somewhat liberated by medically prescribed and administered drugs at the time and I was completely clear minded, too clear minded. The effect was such that I was very clear and precise about what annoyed me, and I wrote so with (in)appropriate expletives, but at the same time I was quite sure I cared about the recipient of my tirade. I am not saying that John Lennon was necessarily on drugs when he wrote … maybe Linda was on my medication when she wrote, who knows? In any case, I believe John Lennon was sincere when, after ‘giving it to Linda’ he wrote, “…in spite of it all, love to you both…” even though he could not resist signing off with “… from us two…” meaning, from ‘Yoko also’, you know, my partner. In my case the timing was opportune for my ‘victim’ because it provided a cover for a professional break up which was necessitated for other reasons. Those who love much hurt much … they hurt others and they are hurt themselves, by the same act. Conversely, the loss of a casual acquaintances will hardly be noticed.

  2. Yes, I was on the receiving end of a very abusive tirade, in writing, from a ‘friend’ of many years’.

    It hurt terribly at the time, so I ceased contact.

    Trouble was, it was over a simple situation, but I stood by my decision, & that caused the ‘problem’!

    Met again at a Function last month, where ‘avoidance’ was not possible.
    Amazingly, the first words said by that person was ‘sorry, & I shouldn’t have reacted that way’!

    Wow! Was very pleased to hear that, as I didn’t want to lose the friendship we’d had since teenage-hood!

    We’re now in regular contact, which is good for both of us!

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