John Lennon may have penned peace-loving classics like "Imagine," but he wasn't always the conciliatory type.
In a number of letters excerpted by Vulture from the forthcoming book The John Lennon Letters, the late Beatle rails against critics of Yoko Ono and even lambasts Paul and Linda McCartney. The full letters -- available in scans on Vulture -- are definitely worth a look, but here are five things Lennon actually wrote:
1. To a Lennon fan who disparaged Ono: "Yoko's been an artist before you were even a groupie."
2. To a critic who didn't like Ono's show: "I'd forgotten about people like you! Well, well -- you still exist, of course, in small towns across the world..."
3. To Linda and Paul McCartney: "I was reading your letter and wondering what middle aged cranky Beatle fan wrote it. I resisted looking at the last page to find out -- I kept thinking who is it … What the hell -- it's Linda!"
4. To Linda and Paul, continued: "I'm not ashamed of the Beatles -- I did start it all --but of some of the shit we took to make them so big -- I thought we all felt that way in varying degrees -- obviously not."
5. To George Martin, a producer: "Of course, George Martin was a great help in translating our music technically when we needed it, but for the cameraman to take credit from the director is a bit much."
"Love Me Do," the band's first single, turned 50 last week, marking half a century of Beatlemania. The band has thus dominated entertainment headlines. A flurry of new texts on the group and its legacy are due out soon, including a collection of photos taken by the Beatles' official photographer.
For the letters, head over to Vulture. Rare Beatles photos available below.
Photos courtesy of Robert Whitaker on behalf of LIFE Books