- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 22, 2002

LONDON Letters written by John Lennon that reveal his bitterness toward Paul McCartney after the breakup of the Beatles will be aired tomorrow in a New York courtroom.
The previously unseen, handwritten correspondence is at the center of a tangled legal battle between Yoko Ono, Mr. Lennon's widow, and one of her husband's former aides.
The letters shed new light on the often fraught relationship between two of the world's most successful songwriters. They provide new evidence that Mr. Lennon, not Mr. McCartney, was responsible for the Beatles' breakup in 1970.
Mr. Lennon seems to have been particularly upset about the refusal of Mr. McCartney and his wife, Linda, to accept his relationship with Miss Ono, a Japanese artist with whom he had an affair and then married in 1969 after leaving his first wife.
"I hope you realise what [expletive] you and the rest of my kind and unselfish friends laid on Yoko and me since we have been together," Mr. Lennon wrote in one letter. "[It] may have sometimes been a bit more subtle or should I say middle class but not often.
"We both 'rose above it' quite a few times forgave you two so it's the least you can do for us."
At the end of the six-page letter, Mr. Lennon adds a final barb: "P.S. about addressing your letter just to me STILL!"
Copies of the letters were filed in federal court in Manhattan, which will begin hearing details tomorrow of an action brought by Miss Ono against former Lennon aide Fred Seaman.
Miss Ono charges that Mr. Seaman, who went to work for her husband the year before his 1980 murder, stole the letters along with photographs and other property.
It is not the first time that Miss Ono and Mr. Seaman have clashed in court. The New York resident pleaded guilty to grand larceny in 1983 for stealing Mr. Lennon's diaries. He was sentenced to five years' probation.
Mr. McCartney, 60, who began the second leg of a critically acclaimed U.S. tour yesterday, was unavailable for comment. He has said that he and Mr. Lennon later reconciled. Linda McCartney, whom he married in 1969, died of breast cancer in 1998 at age 58.
Mr. Lennon's letter about the McCartneys' snubbing of Miss Ono is littered with expletives and crossings-out. He denounces Mrs. McCartney, who had upbraided him for publicly slighting the achievements of the Beatles.
Mr. Lennon writes that after he decided to quit the Beatles, his band mates and their business organization attempted to give the impression that the group was still a continuing, financially viable concern.
In a final barrage of insults, he mentions the intervention of Mrs. McCartney's lawyer father into the band's business affairs and adds that he does not expect the McCartneys' marriage to last more than two years.
"Of course the money angle is important to all of us especially after all the petty [expletive] that came from your insane family and God help you and Paul see you in two years I reckon you'll be out by then in spite of it all."
Mr. Lennon nevertheless signed the letter with the words: "Love to you both, from us two."
The letter apparently responds to one from Mrs. McCartney.
"Dear Linda and Paul," Mr. Lennon began, "I was reading your letter and wondering what middle-aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out it's Linda!"
He added: "I'm not ashamed of the Beatles, but of some of the [expletive] we took to make them so big. I thought we all felt that way in varying degrees obviously not. Do you think most of today's art came about because of the Beatles? 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."
Another letter is full of praise for guitarist Eric Clapton, with whom Mr. Lennon was keen to tour. In it, Mr. Lennon looks forward to the experience in contrast to touring with the Beatles, which he calls "night after night of torture."
Mr. Lennon was 40 when he was shot to death in 1980 by a deranged fan outside the Lennons' New York apartment building, the Dakota. More than 30 years after their bitter breakup, the Beatles continue to top charts around the world.
The latest collection of their hits, released two years ago on CD, reached No. 1 in Britain and the United States and was named Album of the Year by Billboard magazine. "The Beatles Anthology," a history written by Mr. McCartney, guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr, became an international best seller. Mr. Harrison died last December.

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