John Lennon’s poison pen letter to ex-Beatle Paul McCartney set to fetch $20,000 at auction

John Lennon's angry letter to Paul McCartney up for sale

A raging letter sent from ex-Beatle John Lennon to former bandmate Paul McCartney is expected to sell for around $20,000 on Thursday.

The undated letter, believed to have been penned in 1971 and currently owned by an anonymous vendor, is available to purchase via an online sale which ends Thursday and is being hosted by a Boston auction house.

The letter is remarkable for the level of vitriol directed at McCartney and his wife, Linda, for their alleged maltreatment of Lennon's wife Yoko Ono, for whom he left his first wife Cynthia in 1968.

According to Lennon, Ono suffered repeated nasty behavior from those whom he mockingly describes in the letter as his "kind and unselfish" friends.

He also made clear he was tired of being what he perceived as the bigger person in the situation.

The typed letter reads, "It might have sometimes been a bit more subtle or should I say 'middle class' — but not often. We both 'rose above it' quite a few times — & forgave you two — so it's the least you can do for us — you noble people. — Linda — if you don't care what I say — shut up!— let Paul write — or whatever."

Paul McCartney performing.
Mat Hayward | Getty Images

Lennon then turns his disdain towards what he sees as McCartney's inflated estimation of the Beatles' influence, with the letter reading, "'Do you really think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? — I don't believe you're that insane — Paul — do you believe that?"

This is followed by a capital lettered invocation for his former friend to "GET OFF YOUR GOLD DISC AND FLY!"

The note was sent in response to a letter from Linda which admonished Lennon for not openly announcing his decision to leave The Beatles in 1970. Lennon's reply highlights that he was acting on the advice of Linda's own husband as well as then-manager Allen Klein to take that path.

McCartney has confirmed that the perceived ill-feeling between Lennon and himself was real but has been at pains to demonstrate in subsequent media appearances that they reconciled prior to his former bandmate's murder in New York City in 1980.

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