A typed message from John Lennon to Paul McCartney is currently up for auction, but its content is far from harmonious.
Lennon sent the November 1971 letter after Melody Maker published an interview in which McCartney complained about on-going negotiations to finally end the Beatles’ business dealings.
“I just want the four of us to get together somewhere and sign a piece of paper saying it’s all over and we want to divide the money four ways,” McCartney is quoted as saying. “No one else would be there, not even [wives] Linda [McCartney] or Yoko [Ono] or [controversial business manager] Allen Klein. We’d just sign the paper and hand it to the business people and let them sort it out. That’s all I want now, but John won’t do it. Everybody thinks I am the aggressor but I’m not, you know. I just want out.”
Lennon’s blistering reply to his “obsessive old pal” arrived four days later: “Maybe there’s an answer there somewhere … but for the millionth time in these past few years, I repeat, what about the TAX?”
He goes on to address McCartney’s comments on Lennon’s Imagine album, defends his new home of New York City, and accuses McCartney of purchasing shares of another record label behind his back, among other misgivings.
Now, the three-page missive is being auctioned by Gotta Have Rock and Roll and is expected to earn around $30,000. You can view the full text here.
Lennon also hand-wrote a few additional thoughts. One is directed at Richard Williams, then the editor of Melody Maker, who is asked to publish the letter in the magazine. Lennon cheekily references an American law, “equal time,” which requires broadcasters to treat political candidates the same in terms of air time.
A postscript at the end of the letter actually stands in contrast to Lennon’s harsh tone and offers a truce of sorts: “No hard feelings to you, either. I know we basically want the same thing, and as I said on the phone and in this letter, whenever you want to meet, all you have to do is call.”
Top 10 Double Albums
Releasing a double album in the ’60s and ’70s was a rite of passage. But which one was best?
Who Was the Fifth Beatle?