By 1971, the Beatles were no longer a band – but resolving their business interests was still a constant concern for everyone involved. This is what led two members of the group to exchange candid and scathing remarks in the pages of melody maker in the second half of the year. It started with an interview with Paul McCartney, who was promoting Wings’ debut.
“I just want the four of us to get together somewhere and sign a piece of paper saying it’s all over, and we want to split the money four ways,” McCartney said in the interview. “No one else would be there, not even Linda or Yoko, or Allen Klein. We would just sign the paper and hand it over to the business people and let them sort it all out. That’s all I want now. But John won’t. Everyone thinks I’m the aggressor but I’m not, you know. I just want out.
For his part, Lennon was not amused and responded with a letter accusing McCartney of not being entirely candid. ” Make up your mind ! For instance. Two weeks ago I asked you on the phone, “Please let’s meet without advisers etc. and decide what we want”, and I particularly insisted on Maclen (the company of writing songs by Lennon and McCartney) which is mainly our concern, but you refused, didn’t you? Lennon wrote.
Now, as reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, Lennon’s letter is now up for auction. Gotta Have Rock and Roll handles the sale, and it comes with a handful of notes written on it by Lennon addressed to melody maker editor Richard Williams. As of this writing, the bid is $30,000.
It’s a distinctive piece from a particularly bitter period in rock history. It’s also slightly dizzying to realize that a comparable feud between two high-profile musicians these days would likely take place on social media one way or another — and leave no comparable physical memories.
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