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John Lennon Lashes Out at Paul McCartney in Newly Published Letter From 1971

John Lennon Paul McCartney
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Today (Oct. 9) would have been John Lennon‘s 72nd birthday, and with it comes the publication of a new book, ‘The John Lennon Letters.’ the publication contains nearly 300 letters written by Lennon during his lifetime, giving an unfiltered and uncensored look at one of the most written-about figures of the past 50 years.

However, not all of the letters portray Lennon as the saint he is often made out to be. He could be very angry and let his famously caustic wit sometimes got the better of him. In one response to Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, Lennon takes Linda to task for a letter to John in which she complained about the tone of some of his public statements about Paul.

I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out… What the hell—it’s Linda!…

Who do you think we/you are? The ‘self-indulgent doesn’t realize who he is hurting’ bit—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. 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.

The letter was written in 1971, when there was still considerable anger from both parties over the breakup of the Beatles, with a public war of words being fought out in the press. Still, it’s telling that, for all its vitriol, Lennon signs the correspondence with, “inspite (sic) of it all, love to you both, from us two.”

Next: Beatles Love Songs

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