John Lennon’s angry letter to Paul McCartney up for auction

John Lennon's angry letter to Paul McCartney goes up for auction

Paul McCartney and John Lennon in 1964
photo: William Vanderson (Getty Images)

A small piece of one of music’s most infamous feuds is up for grabs via the Gotta Have Rock And Roll auction site. John Lennon’s incensed request for “equal time” was published in Melody Maker magazine following an interview given by his former collaborator, Paul McCartney. The copy of the letter, signed by Lennon, is expected to go for $30,000, per stereogum.

Lennon and McCartney traded a lot of barbs in their post-Beatles years, both in their music and in the press. McCartney’s ram track “Too Many People” prompted Lennon’s vicious “How Do You Sleep” (which had the added dig of featuring George Harrison on guitar), which prompted McCartney to complain about the song to Melody Maker and claim that Lennon’s pre-imagine music was “too political.”

“So you think ‘Imagine’ isn’t political, it’s ‘working class here’ [sic] with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself!! You obviously didn’t dig the words. Imagine! You took ‘How Do You Sleep’ so literally, ”the incensed Lennon wrote in his response.

There’s some back-and-forth about the group’s pending business breakup, but his particular ire is reserved for McCartney’s dismissal of Lennon’s partnership with wife Yoko Ono. “Wanna put your photo on the label like uncool John and Yoko, do you? (Ain’t ya got no shame!)” He penned. “If we’re not cool, WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU…….” In a post script, he added, “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.”

Fascination with the Beatles’ mythology hasn’t let up in the 50-plus years since the band broke up; just look at how many people sat down for Peter Jackson‘s Emmy-nominated eight-hour docuseries Get Back. The group’s impact on music and pop culture can’t be erased (or…can it?). And now if you’ve got thirty grand, you can have a little bit of that history for yourself.


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