By Hayden Wright
It’s been widely assumed and repeated as fact that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles. Newly unearthed correspondence between John Lennon and Paul McCartney reveals a new variation on that old theme. In a blistering letter (being auctioned for $20,000) Lennon wrote that his bandmates’ failure to accept and respect his new relationship caused the rift, not Ono herself.
“The ‘self-indulgent doesn’t realize who he is hurting’ bit,” echoed Lennon from a McCartney letter. “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.”
Lennon also accused McCartney (and his wife Linda) of resting on their laurels as artists and musicians. Though he recognized the cultural force he helped create, Lennon felt he had more artistic depth to explore — and Yoko was his partner and muse in that effort. In short, Lennon argues that there’s more to life (and art) than just the Beatles.
“Do you really think most of today’s art came about because of the Beatles?” he wrote. “I don’t believe you’re that insane – Paul – do you believe that? 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!”
Finally, Lennon gloated about the highbrow attention he and Yoko earned for their experimental, avant-garde collaborations. He implored Linda McCartney to “get [it] into [her] petty little perversion of a mind” that he was ready to move on from Beatlemania for good.
“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.”
Read the full letter here via NME.