John Lennon and Paul McCartney are one of the most famous—if not the most famous—songwriting duos of all time. But their magical chemistry turned into bitter resentment when The Beatles disbanded in 1970. In an undated letter signed from John and Yoko Ono to Paul and his wife Linda, that post-breakup animosity is on full display. The letter was sold for $30,000 in a 2016 auction.
The typed letter, which includes several handwritten annotations from John, is believed to date back to 1971, around the time when John and Yoko moved to New York. It was written in response to a previous letter from Linda, with John writing, "I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it."
The letter features some colorful language, with John making digs at both Paul and Linda. Despite the salty tone, John insists that he doesn’t resent Paul, as you can see in the passage below:
"Don’t give me that Aunty Gin shit about 'in five years I’ll look back as a different person'—don’t you see that’s what’s happening NOW!—If I only knew THEN what I know NOW—you seemed to have missed that point…. Excuse me if I use 'Beatle Space' to talk about whatever I want—obviously if they keep asking Beatle questions—I’ll answer them—and get as much John and Yoko Space as I can—they ask me about Paul and I answer—I know some of it gets personal—but whether you believe it or not I try and answer straight—and the bits they use are obviously the juicy bits—I don’t resent your husband—I’m sorry for him. 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 ended the letter on the most conciliatory note possible, writing, "inspite of it all love to you both." But he couldn’t resist adding a post-script calling them out for not addressing their letters to Yoko as well as himself (as he had specifically addressed his letter "Dear Linda and Paul").