A recently re-discovered letter which was written by John Lennon in 1971 is currently up for auction in Boston. The letter details Lennon’s anger at his record label as well as the music industry at large over the ‘Two Virgins’ album that he released with Yoko Ono in 1968. The sale of the letter is expected to reach a price of £15,000 when bidding ends tomorrow.
The auction house (RR Auctions based in Boston, Massachusetts) had “noted Beatles expert” Perry Cox confirm that the letter was sent to the late Beatles producer George Martin, a man who was nicknamed the fifth Beatle. However, author Mark Lewisohn told the The Times that he believes that Lennon had actually sent the letter to the journalist Martin George, who had written for “a magazine or a weekly underground newspaper called Ink“. With the letter being addressed to “Martin George of Rock Ink”, either possibilities could be possible.
The letter reads, “Yoko and I got ‘Two Virgins’ out in spite of [which is underlined] being past owners of Apple. We made it in May and they fucked us about till November! Then E. M. I. (who have the real control) wrote warning letters to all their puppets around the world telling them not handle it in any way (this after Sir Joe [Lockwood, chairman of EMI] had told us face to face that he would do ‘everything he could’ to help us with it – and asking us for autographed copies!!).”
“In the States it came out on Tetragrammaton which vanished leaving a few thousand spares (it was sold discretely wrapped in a brown paper bags). Retailers here and there were too scared to handle it and it sold very few – it’s very well known but not many people could actually get it. In most other major markets, e.g. Japan, it has never been released.”
Lennon goes on to rant about the censorship of the word “fuck” as well as the “banning” of Ono’s ‘Open Your Box‘ before ending the letter with the line, “Just thought you’d like to know”.
Images of the letter and auction page can be seen here.