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Hostile Note From Lennon to McCartney Headed to Auction Block

Larry Ellis, Getty Images
Larry Ellis, Getty Images

Tensions between John Lennon and Paul McCartney in the wake of the Beatles‘ breakup are highlighted in an annoyed and often profane letter that’s expected to sell for roughly $20,000 at auction.

Undated — but believed to have been written in 1971 — the missive was sent by Lennon in response to correspondence he apparently received from Paul’s wife Linda McCartney, who seems to have chided him for comments he’d made to the press regarding the band’s breakup and/or place in musical history. “I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it,” it reads in part. “I hope you realize what s— you and the rest of my ‘kind and unselfish’ friends laid on Yoko and me, since we’ve been together.”

After recommending that she “shut up” and “let Paul write — or whatever” if she doesn’t like what he has to say, Lennon softens his stance somewhat later in the letter, explaining that he loves and understands the Beatles as well as anyone (“I did start it all”), but he won’t apologize for answering questions from the press honestly — and can’t help the fact that the papers and magazines want to focus on “the juicy bits” in his remarks.

“I don’t resent your husband — I’m sorry for him,” adds Lennon. “I know the Beatles are ‘quite nice people’ — I’m one of them — they’re also just as big bastards as anyone else — so get off your high horse!”

As fans may recall, this letter has hit the auction block before. It made headlines when it went up for sale in 2001, after which it reportedly failed to sell but was purchased after the auction ended, and it’s changed hands again over the years. Clearly, the personal dynamic between two of rock’s most successful collaborators remains a subject of intense fascination. If you feel like it might be your turn to own this letter — and have the cash to spare — you can log into the auction site to place a bid now.

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