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A Man Finds A John Lennon Letter In A Record Sleeve



Imagine finding a letter like the one above, a letter signed by John Lennon? An anonymous owner found the treasure inside the sleeve of a record which was part of a collection of 45s, bought for just £10 ($12) about twenty years ago. According to BBC news, he discovered the letter in his attic and brought it to an exhibition about the Beatles in Liverpool for valuation: the letter was estimated to be worth £60,000 ($73,000)!

The letter is a draft written by Lennon in 1969, addressed to Queen Elizabeth II, to explain why he is returning his member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). He received the honor in 1965 with his fellow Beatles, but returned it four years later in protest against British involvement in the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70), as well as the country’s support of the US-led conflict in Vietnam.

The letter reads:

‘Your majesty,

I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.

With love,

John Lennon, of Bag’

According to an expert, the letter was probably never sent because of the smeared ink, and Lennon very likely wrote a second version of it.

It’s interesting that the letter also mentions the performance of the Plastic Ono Band’s single, ‘Cold Turkey’,… what does this have to do with war and politics? ‘Cold Turkey’ was supposedly written in a ‘creative outburst’, either following Lennon and Yoko Ono going cold turkey after a brief heroin addictions, or after a severe case of food poisoning suffered by the couple after eating Christmas leftovers ‘cold turkey’… this last version sounds much funnier, but if you listen to the song, meaning you can endure the goat-like noises made by Yoko, it’s not too difficult to understand why the song was never a hit! Mentioning this song in the middle of some very serious political topics, was undeniably some attempt at humor by Lennon.

And if you were wondering about the ‘John Lennon, of Bag’ in the signature, Bagism was a term created by the couple as part of their extensive peace campaign in the late 60’s: ‘The intent of bagism was to satirize prejudice and stereotyping. Bagism involved literally wearing a bag over one’s entire body.

In any case, it may be interesting to check all the sleeves of these old vinyl when you make a trip to the flea market or browse the LPs rows at your local record store.

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