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             In November 1971, Paul McCartney shared his thoughts on the Beatles breakup, John and Yoko, and John's song "How Do You Sleep" with Melody Maker magazine. The article infuriated John Lennon so much that Lennon dashed a letter of reply to Melody Maker, and requested that his letter be published in its entirety in an effort to give "equal time" to his version of the story. The exchange read as a very public argument between the two ex-Beatles.

McCartney in Melody Maker

PAUL: "There was a bit of hype on the back of the (Let It Be) sleeve for the first time ever on a Beatles album. At the time, the Beatles were very strained with each other and it wasn't a happy time. It said it was a 'new-phase Beatles album' and there was nothing further from the truth. That was the last Beatles album and everybody knew it... (Allen) Klein had it re-produced because he said it didn't sound commercial enough."
            "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 divide the money four ways. No one else would be there, not even Linda or Yoko or Allen Klein. We'd just sign the paper and hand it to the business people and let them sort it out. That's all I want now, but John won't do it. Everybody thinks I am the agressor but I'm not, you know. I just want out."
             "John and Yoko are not cool in what they are doing. I saw them on television the other night and thought that what they are saying about what they wanted to do together was basically the same as what Linda and I want to do."
             "John's whole image now is very honest and open. He's alright, is John. I like his 'Imagine' album but I didn't like the others. 'Imagine' is what John is really like but there was too much political stuff on the other albums. You know, I only really listen to them to see if there's something I can pinch." (laughs)
             "'How Do You Sleep'? I think it's silly. So what if I live with straights? I like straights. I have straight babies. It doesn't affect him. He says the only thing I did was 'Yesterday.' He knows that's wrong. He knows and I know it's not true."
            "John wanted to do a big thing in Toronto (9/13/69 concert, Toronto Rock and Roll Revival) but I didn't dig that at all. I hear that before he went on stage he was sick, and that's just what I didn't want. Like anybody else I have been nervous because of the Beatles thing."
             "I wanted to get in a van and do an unadvertised concert at a Saturday night hop at Slough Town Hall or somewhere like that. We'd call ourselves Rikki and the Red Streaks or something and just get up and play. There'd be no press and we'd tell nobody about it. John thought it was a daft idea."
            "Before John was leaving the Beatles, I was lying in bed at home one night and I thought we could get a band together, like his Plastic Ono Band. I felt the urge because we had never played live for four years. We all wanted to appear on a stage but not with the Beatles. We couldn't do it as the Beatles because it would be so big. We'd have to find a million-seater hall or something."

Lennon's response letter, published in Melody Maker

            Dear Paul, Linda et all the wee McCartney's,
            Thanks for your letter.
            1. We give YOU money for your bits of Apple.
            2. We give you MORE money in the form of royalties which legally belong to Apple (I know we're Apple, but on the other hand we're not.).
             Maybe there's an answer there somewhere, but for the millionth time in these past few years I repeat, 'What about the TAX?' It's all very well, playing 'simple honest ole Paul' in Melody Maker but you know damn well we can't just sign a bit of paper.
            You say, 'John won't do it.' I will if you indemnify us against the tax man! Anyway, you know that after we have OUR meeting, the fucking lawyers will have to implement whatever we agree on, right?
            If they have some form of agreement between THEM before WE meet, it might make it even easier. It's up to you, as we've said many times, we'll meet whenever you like. Just make up your mind! E.g. two weeks ago I asked you on the phone, 'Please let's meet without advisors, etc. and decide what we want,' and I emphasized especially Maclen [Lennon and McCartney's songwriting company] which is mainly our concern, but you refused, right?
            You said under NO CONDITION would you sell to us if we didn't do what you wanted, you'd sue us again and that Ringo and George are going to break you John, etc. etc.
            Now I was quite straight with you that day, and you tried to shoot me down with your emotional "logic." If YOU'RE not the aggressor (as you claim) who the hell took us to court and shat all over us in public?
             As I've said before, Have you ever thought that you might POSSIBLY be wrong about something? Your conceit about us and Klein is incredible. You say you "made the mistake of trying to advise them against Klein and that pissed them off" and we secretly feel that you're right! Good God! You must know WE'RE right about Eastman.
            One other little lie in your "It's only Paulie" MM bit: Let It Be was not the first bit of hype on a Beatle album. Remember Tony Barrow? And his wonderful writing on "Please Please Me" etc. etc. The early Beatle Xmas records!
             And you gotta admit it was a 'new-phase' Beatle album, incidentally written in the style of the great Barrow himself! By the way, what happened to my idea of putting the parody of our first album cover on the Let It Be cover?
            Also, we were intending to parody Barrow originally, so it was hype. But what is your LIFE article? Tony Barrow couldn't have done it better. (And your writing inside of the Wings album [Wild Life] isn't exactly the realist is it?) Anyway, enough of this petty bourgeois fun.
            Another thing, whadya mean BIG THING in Toronto? It was completely spontaneous. They rang on the Friday, we flew there, and we played on Saturday. I was sick because I was stone pissed. Listen to the album-- with no rehearsal too. Come on Macka! Own up! We'd never played together before! Half a dozen live shows with no big fuss. In fact we've BEEN DOING what you've said the Beatles should do. Yoko and I have been doing it for three years! (I said it was daft for the Beatles to do it. I still think it's daft.) So go on and do it! Do it! Do it! E.g. Cambridge 1969, completely unadvertised! A very small hall. Lyceum Ballroom, 1969, no fuss, great show-- thirty piece rock band! "Live Jam" out soon! Filmore East, 1971, unannounced. Another good time had by all-- out soon!! We even played in the streets here in the Village (our spiritual home!?) with the great David Peel!! We were moved on by the cops even!! It's best just to DO IT.
            I know you'll dig it, and they don't even expect the Beatles now anyway!
            So you think 'Imagine' ain't political? It's 'Working Class Hero' with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself!! You obviously didn't dig the words. Imagine! You took 'How Do You Sleep' so literally (read my own review of the album in Crawdaddy.) Your politics are very similar to Mary Whitehouse's-- 'Saying nothing is as loud as saying something.'
            No hard feelings to you either. I know basically we want the same, and as I said on the phone and in this letter, whenever you want to meet, all you have to do is call.
            All you need is love
            Power to the people
            Free all prisoners
            Jail the judges
            Love and peace
            Get it on and rip 'em off

             John Lennon

             P.S. The bit that really puzzled us was asking to meet WITHOUT LINDA AND YOKO. I thought you'd have understood BY NOW that I'm JOHNANDYOKO.
             P.P.S. Even your own lawyers know you can't "just sign a bit of paper." (or don't they tell you?)