Here’s one of those things that makes you realize that the Internet was created for us to trade notable ephemera: A website called Letters of Note published an angry handwritten note from John Lennon to the New York Times after the Times’ Craig McGregor wrote a piece called “The Beatles Betrayal” that said that the Beatles stole music from black acts, and got rich doing it. Lennon’s rebuttal is angry, but maybe sort of off the point?:
In Flight… yes
14th Sep. 71.
Dear Craig McGregor
‘Money’, ‘Twist ‘n’ Shout’, ‘You really got a hold on me’ etc, were all numbers we (the Beatles) used to sing in the dancehalls around Britain, mainly Liverpool. It was only natural that we tried to do it as near to the record as we could – i always wished we could have done them even closer to the original. We didn’t sing our own songs in the early days – they weren’t good enough – the one thing we always did was to make it known that there were black originals, we loved the music and wanted to spread it in any way we could. in the ’50s there were few people listening to blues – R + B – rock and roll, in America as well as Britain. People like – Eric Burdons Animals – Micks Stones – and us drank ate and slept the music, and also recorded it, many kids were turned on to black music by us.
It wasnt a rip off.
it was a love in,
John + Yennon
P.S. what about the ‘B’ side of Money?
P.P.S. even the black kids didn’t dig blues etc it wasn’t ‘sharp’ or something.
Clearly McGregor got to Lennon in a way that we don’t see very often. The best thing here is that it reminds us that Lennon was not a god, contrary to hundreds of Rolling Stone articles. [Letters of Note]