A letter written by John Lennon in 1971, in which he details his anger with his record label and the music industry at large over the ‘Two Virgins’ album he released with Yoko Ono, will be sold at an auction in the US March 14
The letter has recently resurfaced and been put up for auction, with the sale – which is being conducted by RR Auctions in Boston, Massachusetts – expected to reach a price of £15,000 when bidding ends tomorrow (March 14), according with NME
Addressed to “Martin George of Rock Ink”, the auction house cites “noted Beatles expert” Perry Cox in affirming that the letter was sent
to the late Beatles producer George Martin. However, author Mark Lewisohn has subsequently told The Times that he believes that Lennon was actually responding to the journalist Martin George, who wrote for “a magazine or a weekly underground newspaper called Ink“.
Lennon writes in the letter: “Yoko and I got ‘Two Virgins’ out in spite of [which is underlined]being past owners of Apple. We made it in May and they fucked 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 [Lockwood, chairman of EMI] 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),” Lennon continues. “Retailers here and 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.
EMI, Apple’s parent company, refused to distribute it due to the fully nude photo of John and Yoko that adorned its front and back.
Two Virgins was eventually released six months later by Track Records in the UK and by Tetragrammaton Records in the United States. Both labels sold the record in a brown paper bag packaging that hid the supposedly offensive artwork.