John Lennon’s Post-Beatles Breakup Letter to Paul McCartney Goes to Auction

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A scathing letter penned by John Lennon in the aftermath of The Beatles’ break-up is going up for auction.

The 1971 typewritten letter was in response to Paul McCartney’s then-recent interview with Melody Maker wherein he openly discussed the dissolution of the Beatles’ partnership as well as his thoughts on Lennon’s relationship with Yoko Ono —or the singular JOHNANDYOKO, as Lennon himself dubs the couple in the letter.

Much of the letter—addressed to the editors of Melody Maker with “please publish ‘equal time'” written at the top—focuses on the legal battle that brewed between McCartney and Lennon following the break-up of the band, detailing their fragmented relationship as their respective lawyers fought over royalties, Apple Records and the Lennon/McCartney writing credit.

“We give you money for your bits of Apple,” Lennon wrote. “We give you more money in the form of royalties, which legally belong to Apple. (I know we’re Apple, but on the other hand, we’re not.)”

Lennon then goes on to accuse McCartney of attempting to get George Harrison and Ringo Starr to turn on Lennon amid the legal battle. “If you’re not the aggressor (as you claim), who the hell took us to court and shit all over us in public?” Lennon asks.

Elsewhere in the letter, Lennon defends his then-recent single “Imagine” against the open criticism his former writing partner had given in the interview. (“It’s ‘working class here’ with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself”), his move to New York City (“The only place to be…I’ll bet you your piece of the Apple you’ll be living in New York by 1974″) and a slew of digs at McCartney’s expense (If we’re not cool, WHAT DOES THAT MAKE YOU”).

Lennon closes out the heated letter with his signature and P.P.S: “Even your own lawyers know you can’t ‘just sign a bit of paper (or don’t they tell you?!).”

The letter is offered through the auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll, which estimates the bidding on the authenticated letter to reach $40,000 by the time the auction closes on August 19. It currently has a high bid of $28,000. See the letter HERE.

(Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

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