Scathing Lennon-McCartney Letter Sells for $70K

Lennon tells former Beatles bandmate that he clearly 'didn't dig the words' to 'Imagine'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2022 12:47 PM CDT
Scathing Lennon-McCartney Letter Sells for $70K
In this 1971 photo, former Beatles singer and guitarist Paul McCartney arrives with his wife, Linda, at function in London.   (AP Photo, File)

Beatles memorabilia is valuable—even when it's from low points in the band's history. The Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction house says a scathing post-breakup letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney has sold for $70,000, including a $14,000 buyer's premium, TMZ reports. In the Nov. 24, 1971, letter—addressed to Paul, Linda, and "the wee McCartneys"—Lennon starts out by discussing financial and legal matters, taking issue with remarks McCartney made in an interview with Melody Maker magazine and accusing McCartney of trying to turn George Harrison and Ringo Starr against him in the legal battle over issues including royalties and the ownership of Apple Records.

Lennon, who moved to New York City earlier in 1971, told McCartney that he loves the city and it's "THE ONLY PLACE TO BE." "I see you prefer Scotland ... I’ll bet you your piece of the Apple you’ll be living in New York by 1974," he wrote, per Rolling Stone. Lennon also slammed McCartney for criticizing his recently released Imagine album. "So you think 'Imagine' ain't political, it's 'working class here' with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself! You obviously didn't dig the words," he wrote, comparing McCartney's politics to those of pro-censorship conservative activist Mary Whitehouse.

Lennon closed the letter by saying "no hard feelings," though he added, in a PS: "The bit that really puzzled us was asking to meet WITHOUT LINDA AND YOKO ... I thought you'd have understood BY NOW that I'm JOHNANDYOKO." In a handwritten note on the typed letter, Lennon asked Melody Maker editor Richard Williams to publish it to give him "equal time." It was indeed published, with some edits, in the Dec. 4, 1971, issue. Before the sale, the auction house predicted that the letter would fetch a top bid of $40,000, People reports. (More Beatles stories.)

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