According to a 1971 letter John Lennon wrote to Paul McCartney, which surfaced at a Boston auction, it seems the rumors of tension between members of The Beatles were true after all. The letter appears to have been written after the band’s breakup and in response to another letter written by McCartney’s then-wife, Linda. In it, Lennon rips McCartney and his wife to shreds.
“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?” Lennon wrote. “When you stop believing it you might wake up! Didn’t we always say we were part of the movement — not all of it? — Of course, we changed the world — but try and follow it through — GET OFF YOUR GOLD DISC AND FLY!”
Not only does Lennon seem to think The Beatles weren’t as influential as McCartney believes, but he also suggests that his wife, Yoko Ono, was his true creative inspiration.
The Beatles: Don’t Let Me Down
“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! — by the way — we’ve had more intelligent interest in our new activities in one year than we had throughout the Beatle era,” he wrote.
It’s no secret that Lennon’s relationship with Ono put a strain on the band, but Lennon claims that she was treated unfairly, saying “I hope you realize what shit 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.”
Lastly, he addresses the circumstances under which he left the band.
“Finally, about not telling anyone that I left the Beatles — PAUL and Klein both spent the day persuading me it was better not to say anything — asking me not to say anything because it would ‘hurt the Beatles’ — and ‘let’s just let it petre out’ — remember?” he wrote.