John Lennon furious with record label in resurfaced letter now up for auction

music news 17/03/2019

A letter written by John Lennon in 1971 has resurfaced, detailing his fury with a record label concerning the release of his first album with Yoko Ono, 'Two Virgins'. The letter was up for auction in Boston, Massachusetts, only ending on the weekend, with the final bid totalling more than $23,000 NZD. The letter is addressed to Martin George of Rock Ink, it’s actually believed to be written to a journalist of that name rather than The Beatles producer George Martin.

Lennon wrote in the letter:

"Yoko and I got Two Virgins out in spite of being past owners of Apple. We made it in May and they f***ed 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 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 & 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. On my last album in U.K., E.M.I. allowed me to sing ‘f***’ wouldn't allow the lyrics to be printed! Yoko's 'Open Your Box' was banned (again by an E.M.I. letter) everywhere. It only came out in Britain in a censored form. Just thought you'd like to know."

The letter is being sold by RR Auction, and you can view the letter and auction in full here.