At the height of the ’60s they famously sang “All You Need is Love,” yet a letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney shows that love was literally the last thing on anyone’s mind after the demise of The Beatles.
The un-signed note – which is currently up for sale with the RR Auction house – was typed by Lennon in 1971 and contains hand-written annotations from the Beatle alongside a number of frosty insults such as “Get off your high horse” and “Who do you think we/you are?”
Expected to reach a price of $20,000, the angry missive was written in response to a letter sent by McCartney’s then-wife Linda, which left Lennon “wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it.”
“You really think the press are beneath me/you? Do you think that?” adds the note from Lennon, which was written on behalf of the Beatle and his wife Yoko Ono using the phrase “from us two.”
“The ‘self-indulgent doesn’t realize who he is hurting’ bit—I hope you realize what sh-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!”
Lennon, who unofficially left the band before McCartney’s dramatic exit on April 10, 1970, goes onto explain that he had only been persuaded to remain silent about his departure because McCartney and Beatles manager Allen Klein convinced him “to keep quiet about it” for business reasons.
“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?” adds Lennon.
“So get that into your petty little perversion of a mind, Mrs. McCartney.”
Elsewhere, the “Instant Karma” songwriter admits to “squirming” at the thought of collecting an MBE from the Queen – which he returned in November 1969 – and being ashamed of some stunts the Fab Four performed to become the biggest band of all time.
He also alludes to McCartney having a problem controlling his ego because of this vast success, writing “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!”
Yet it is McCartney’s wife Linda that collects most of Lennon’s fury. Along with describing her family as “insane” and “petty” the ex-Beatle – who’s murderer David Chapman has recently been denied parole for the ninth time — states his hope that his former band mate will soon split from his wife.
“GOD HELP YOU OUT, PAUL—see you in two years—I reckon you’ll be out then,” Lennon writes at the end of the letter.
He then adds a brief handwritten postscript about the way Ono had never been fully accepted by the Beatles inner circle – including the McCartneys.
“P.S. about addressing your letter just to me—STILL….!!!”