Showing posts with label Letters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Letters. Show all posts

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Letter from John Lennon's Aunt Mimi confirms his plans to return to England

A letter sent by John Lennon's Aunt Mimi Smith to Daily Express reporter Judith Simons 40 years ago today mentions that John had planned to visit England, but was killed before he had a chance to do so.

Smith wrote the letter to Simons on Jan. 24, 1981, several weeks after John was murdered in New York City. It reads:

“Dear Judith, Thank you for your letter, kind thoughts. 
“I’m trying to accept this terrible thing which has happened, but finding it very hard. He had such faith himself, I’m trying to do the same. 
“He phoned the night before, witty, funny, bubbling over with excitement, coming over very soon. Couldn’t wait to see me. So I’m glad of that. If I’m in London, I’ll get in touch with you. Kind thoughts to you too. Mimi.”


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Letter: Bel-Air neighborhood association complaint about Beatles, 1964

Apparently not all the neighbors were happy about the Beatles staying in a rented home in Beverly Hills during their 1964 American tour.

1964 complaint from the Bel-Air Association about the Beatles staying in the area

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Artifact: John Lennon letter to Jurgen Vollmer, 1975

Jurgen Vollmer, one the Beatles' artsy Hamburg friends, shot the photo of John used on the cover of his 1975 Rock'n'Roll album. Here's a "thank you" John sent him after the album's release.

johnlennonofficial's profile picture


Dear Jurgen,⠀
Glad you liked Rock n Roll. The music book is even better. Ask Connie for a copy. If you don’t have one. Anyway… yes I do remember the photos you did. I remember the meeting etc in Paris very well. In fact I’m amazed at how much I DO remember! (e.g. the beautiful ballet dancer friend of yours in hamburg [crossed out] just my luck!)⠀

So I don’t really know what to write for you … here goes …⠀

‘Jurgen Vollmer was the first photographer to capture the beauty, and spirit of The Beatles, (tho I say it myself)! We tried very hard to find someone with his touch after we returned from Hamburg Germany … nobody could. He loved Rockers … and Rock and Roll … the photographs speak for themselves.’⠀

I hope this will do,⠀
If you want more … or less … let me know ⠀
John '75⠀

PS there’s a book coming out – ‘Macmillan Publishers’ – it's by Allan Williams (he took us to Hamburg first) – it’s all about ‘THEN’ – Liverpool/Hamburg – pre Brian Epstein – its called ‘THE MAN WHO GAVE AWAY THE BEATLES’ – quite funny – and sad.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Letter: Beatles Shea Stadium details

A letter explaining logistics involving the Beatles' arrival in New York in 1965 for their concert at Shea Stadium.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

UPDATED: Letter: John rants about treatment of "Two Virgins" LP

Now up for bid is an angry letter John Lennon penned to a music journalist regarding what he saw as the ill treatment of his "Two Virgins" album with Yoko Ono - which EMI refused to release due to the controversial nude cover of the two artists.

While the auction description says this is a letter to Beatles producer George Martin, that doesn't make much sense. Martin had no say on EMI's treatment of the LP, not being employed by EMI at the time, nor involved in any way with the album. More likely is Mark Lewisohn's theory that John was writing to journalist Martin George, a contributor to an underground publication called Ink.

UPDATE: Lennon expert Chip Madinger, on the Lennonology Facebook page has posted an article (included below) by Martin George, in Ink, that apparently prompted John's letter.

Here's an image of the letter drafted in John's handwriting, followed by a typed version.

Ink article, via Chip Madinger (buy his book):

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Up for bid: Beatles breakup letters

Moments in Time is auctioning off two letters related to The Beatles' breakup.

The first details all four Beatles agreeing to John Eastman's management of the group. Eastman was then Paul's soon-to-be brother-in-law, the brother of Linda Eastman. The letter is dated January 1969 and Paul and Linda were married in March.

The letter authorizes Eastman to represent The Beatles in all business arrangements.

The second letter, meanwhile, is dated April 18, 1969, and is signed only by John, George and Ringo (aka Richard Starkey) and informs Eastman that he is not authorized to act as The Beatles' attorney.

The split among Paul and the rest of The Beatles over involvement of the Eastman family in the group's management is one of many reasons the group split up acrimoniously.

The band's split was announced to the public on April 10, 1970.

Remembering Buddy Holly - John Lennon's words of love

Today is the 60th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, along with singers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson.

Unless you seek it out, it's getting harder and harder to hear the music of Beatles influences, such as Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Elvis, as their music recedes further into history. Not much of it gets played on "oldies" radio, or gets featured on TV or in films. But it would be a shame to lose touch of how crucial this music was in influencing The Beatles and all the pop music that followed.

Holly, in particular, was a key influence on the band. He wrote much of his own music, and his songwriting craft, structures and melodies were instructive to John and Paul as they started writing their own tunes. One of the first things The Beatles, as the Quarry Men, put down ever recorded, was a rendition of Holly's "That'll Be the Day."
The Beatles went on to record a lovely version of  Holly's "Words of Love" for the Beatles For Sale album, and played "Crying, Wishing, Hoping" on their Decca audition and on the BBC. They covered other Holly-written or -associated tunes on their BBC recordings and during the "Get Back" sessions.

Also, lest we forget, The Beatles essentially named themselves in tribute of Holly's band, The Crickets.

In the letter below, responding to a questionnaire mailed to him in 1974 by an aspiring music journalist named Jim Dawson, John shares his love of Holly. Dawson, according to Hunter Davies' "The John Lennon Letters," was hoping to write an article on Holly for Rolling Stone and also sent the questionnaire to Paul and to Bob Dylan. Only John wrote back, using his then-new typewriter, of which he was an enthusiastic, if error-prone, user.

And here's the spectacular video of "Words of Love" put together to promotes The Beatles' second compilation of of Beeb recordings back in 2013.

There's apparently no surviving footage of Holly and The Crickets on "Live at the London Palladium," but here they are on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1957.

Friday, January 25, 2019

1968 letter: Capitol Records execs feared Beatles' Apple label design was "pornographic"

The UK Independent has a story about a newly discovered 1968 letter from Capitol Records to then-Apple Records head Ron Kass relaying concerns from a U.S. record retailer that the Apple label design "looked like a vagina."

The Independent article makes the claim that the complaint nearly led Capitol to scuttle the release of The Beatles' "Hey Jude/Revolution" single, but nowhere in the 1968 letter is this implied.

Furthermore, as the letter points out, the entire Apple logo wouldn't even be displayed on "Hey Jude/Revolution" or any other U.S. single, due to the large center hole placed in every U.S. 45rpm release.

Americans wouldn't get a full look at the entire "half apple" logo until the release of "The White Album," in November - nearly three months after Capitol sent its letter.

As the 1968 letter implies, the retailer in question must've had an early look at the complete label in promotional materials, not on the actua U.S. releases.

Interestingly, the U.S. press kit for the first four releases didn't include a full view of the entire label, either. All the single releases it contained also sport large center holes:

Via the Independent:

...The letter, addressed to Apple boss Ron Kass, reads: “Here’s a wild and unanticipated problem to brighten up your day I just received a call from a very large and influential rack jobber in the western United States. He opened the conversation by saying, ‘Are you guys serious? Do you know what you’re doing? Do you really intend to sell products bearing the new Apple label?’

“He then stated that he felt the new Apple label was completely pornographic and actually depicted a vagina.”

The letter adds that the “graphic similarity” was “noticed by all of his key employees”.
“[He] doubted that many of his chain store customers would even be willing to stock and display products containing the label.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

John Lennon hand-drawn birthday card to Pattie Harrison up for auction

Via the Daily Express:

A RARE quirky hand-drawn birthday card John Lennon made for George Harrison's wife is tipped to sell for £12,000. The Beatle drew the card, which shows five naked figures of Lennon sitting cross-legged, for model and photographer Pattie Boyd's 24th birthday in 1968. 

...The card has been kept by Boyd but she has now chosen to sell it at auction.

Stephen Maycock, from London auctioneers Bonhams, said: "John Lennon gave this to Pattie Boyd on her birthday on March 17, 1968 when they were in India.

"The Beatles were there in February and March. We know that Lennon did at least two cards because another one he made for Mike Love of the Beach Boys who was also there, previously sold at auction in the 1980s.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Artifact: Vintage letter and photo to Beatles' fan from George's mum

Found on eBay, here is a 1965 letter from George Harrison's mother, Louise, to an American fan. It includes a photo of Louis and other members of the Harrison family - but no George!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Artifact: Six-page letter from George Harrison to Astrid Kirchherr

From Bonhams:

August 1963,
in blue ballpoint on six numbered pages of Palace Court Hotel Bournemouth headed stationery, reading, Dear Astrid...I bought you all the records I told you about years ago, and they are still at home covered in dust, so if you have decided where about's you are living lately, then let me know and I will send them to you...Fat Betty has seen all the Happy holiday Photo's, hasn't she? but I haven't, oh no - you won't show them to me will you! Actually if she had not come to England with King Size, then I would still be wondering which part of the world you where in...I bought a Jaguar (car) last month, and I think you would like it. I will send you a photograph of it, with the records as soon as I get back to Liverpool...Could you look through your photographs and find some - or all of the photos that have The Beatles either all together or separately, or that have any of us with other people in them, in fact any photographs at all that may be of interest and then if you felt in a HAPPY ASTRID MOOD, do you think you could either give or lend them to me...You know that Paul and John are going to be very rich soon, when they collect the money they have made by writing all those songs, and I don't think that you would like to see me poor and hungry, so I have decided to make a book. It won't be a DA SADE type book, but a daft story about the BEATLES, with some photographs in it, and then I hope to sell it to all the nice people and then I can buy food with the money...Can't I? I would like to have some pictures that the people haven't already seen in all the other books, so that is why I am asking you. It would be very nice of you, even if the pictures were old at the Indra and Kaiserkeller and Top Ten...I have been ill all week, feeling tired all the time. The doctor gave me a tonic which is like liquid preludin. My balls have been aching too, and banging around on stage! We will be in Paris for three week in January. I will write again with the records cheerio and love from Georgie (your friend who wants the photos), together with two black and white photographs of George's Jaguar car, and a certificate of authenticity signed in 2013 by Astrid, pages 5in x 8in (12.5cm x 20.5cm), photographs 3in x 4in (7.5cm x 10cm)


This was written during The Beatles' six-night residency at the Gaumont Cinema, Bournemouth, 19th-24th August 1963. They were staying at the Palace Court Hotel and sometime during that week George was feeling unwell and was advised to stay in his hotel room. This gave him the time to write this long letter to Astrid. It also saw him write his first song for the Beatles, 'Don't Bother Me', which was recorded for the 'With The Beatles' album. It was also in the hotel that Robert Freeman took the iconic 'shadow' photograph for that forthcoming record cover.

It's remarkable that, just as the group were experiencing the fruits of their burgeoning fame, George had an eye to the future and the possible lack of funds, compared to the money that John and Paul would have made by their songwriting. Hence his idea of producing a book about the group, including photographs that had not already been widely reproduced in various publications for the fans. Of course, his doubts about financial success and longevity proved to be unfounded, following the full onset of Beatlemania!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Artifacts: George Harrison letters and photographs 1963-65

Via Bonhams:

The Beatles: Letters from George Harrison and other memorabilia,
items mounted as a framed display, comprising:
two letters from George to a fan, each written in black ballpoint, headed Margate and Llandudno respectively, the first reading, Dear Dianne, Thanks for your letter. I haven't really got much time to answer, but I thought I had better try now, otherwise I'll never do it. My brothers are. Peter 22 Harry 25. parents. Louise and Harry. car. Ford Zephyr. Harry and the Box are friends of ours. no favourite food in particular Cheerio love from George Harrison XXX (John is married and has been since before we started making records)., the second, Dear Dianne, Thanks for the letter. I tought myself to play the guitar, my car number is L.T.U. 409. I can speak a little german my parents names are Louise and Harry, and I have visited Germany, Spain + Holland. Billy Fury must be 23 too!; the corresponding envelopes, with clipped postmarks, Margate 14 JLY 1963 and Llandudno 18 AUG 1963, each with 'B' logo to reverse; a typewritten letter headed THE BEATLES and dated 23rd July, 1963, beginning Dear Dianne, Thanks for your letter and also the jelly babies which John and I ''scoffed''. As I ate most of the jelly babies the others said that I should write to you...We really appreciated your comments concerning our group and as the reception we received at Worcester was ''fab.'' we hope it won't be too long before we will be able to come again... and with secretarial signature in black ink; the autographs of Ringo Starr and George Harrison on an album page in blue ballpoint, with dedication by Ringo, To Dianne love from the Beatles, with non-authentic John Lennon and Paul McCartney autographs; three black and white unpublished photographs of the Beatles taken by the vendor in Worcester; and two ticket stubs for the Gaumont Theatre, Worcester, 28th May and 4th September;
together with original 1960s' mono pressings of the albums, 'Please Please Me', 'With The Beatles', 'A Hard Day's Night' and 'Help!', frame 26½ x 28½in (67.5 x 72.5cm)

Friday, June 9, 2017

Artifact: John Lennon handwritten notes circa 1972

Via Bonhams:

John Lennon: Three handwritten notes in various hands with additions by John Lennon and Yoko Ono,
circa 1972,
each on a sheet of lined notebook paper, various pens and pencil, the first mostly in unknown hand, John adding 35th + 34th Psalm; the second (unknown hand) with list by John,
Tibetan bracelet (last seen in kitchen)
Yoko's 'stone' (somewhere)
(Working Class Hero Yoko's " " Imagine) 6 of each record
List of people to send Records
and Yoko writing two or three more "Grapefruit"; the third (unknown hand) including a list by John, Two Black Dresses (Legs) (Long sleeves)
Black Velvet Boots
" Pantie Hose
Jean Jacket
any other tee shirts
Vitamin E
(sic), the second also with notes in an unknown hand on the reverse, together with a Capitol Records promo limited edition (of 2500) 12inch pressing of 'Happy Xmas (War Is Over)'/'Listen, The Snow Is Falling', white vinyl, the original clear plastic sleeve inscribed by Yoko in silver pen To Peter, Love, Yoko & Sean Xmas '86 NYC, with detached label (4) 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Letter to Beatles explaining BBC's ban of "A Day in the Life"

The Beatles this week posted this 1967 letter from the BBC explaining to EMI label head Sir Joseph Lockwood why the network banned "A Day in the Life" from airplay.

The letter was published a few years ago in Kevin Howlett's "The Beatles: The BBC Archives" book. I assume it may appear in the book accompanying Sgt. Pepper anniversary release, too.
Frank Gillard, the director of BBC’s sound broadcasting, wrote to [the Beatles] in May 1967 that his team had determined “the words ‘I’d love to turn you on,’ followed by that mounting montage of sound, could have a rather sinister meaning.”