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2001-Aug-06: An Amazing Letter

An undated emotional six page hand written letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney will soon be going up for auction at Christie's.  Beatles biographer Hunter Davies says : "It's an amazing letter. It is at a period when their company, Apple, is breaking up, they are all suing each other and horrible to each other."

According to Carey Wallace, a consultant to Christie's who catalogued the work, it is a significant item: "It's a historical document. It's the two key Beatles and epitomizes their relationship during this bitter feud.  It is not just a rant, there is still affection there. It's vintage Lennon written straight from the heart."

Littered with spelling errors and expletives, the letter was composed at his Berkshire mansion in Tittenhurst Park, but it is unclear if the draft was ever sent to the McCartneys.  What is clear is John's criticism of Paul's behavior at the time.  In the letter he writes:
 "I'm not ashamed of the Beatles, but some of the (expletive) we took to make them so big...Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles?  I don't believe you're that insane.  Didn't we always say we were part of the movement, not all of it? Get off your gold disc and fly.

"I hope you realize what (expletive) you and the rest of my kind and unselfish friends laid on Yoko and me since we have been together -- It might have sometimes been a bit more subtle or should I say 'middle class' -- but not often."

Angered by Linda's response to some derogatory comments John had made about the Beatles in the press, John retaliated, saying referring to Mrs. McCartney's "petty little perversion of a mind. ... I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged, cranky Beatles fan it was who wrote it. I kept thinking who it was: Queenie (Brian Epstein's mother)? Stuart's mother? ... What the hell, it's Linda!...Obviously if they keep asking Beatle questions -- I'll answer them.  I know some of it gets personal -- but whether you believe it or not -- I try and answer straight ... I don't resent your husband --I'm sorry for him."

In spite of all the bitterness, he closes the letter with affection: "In spite of it all, love to you both from us two."

(kindly submitted by PLUGGED correspondent Joan M. Hopkins)


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