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John Lennon's private letters to be published in 2012

January 21, 2011 |  3:03 pm

 John Lennon - David Spindel

In the Beatles’ song “Across the Universe,” John Lennon famously sang that “Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,” and next year a slew of the former Beatle’s words that flowed onto paper in the form of his private letters will be collected in a volume to be published by London-based Orion Books, according to the Guardian in London.

Orion bought the rights from Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, to about 150 letters filling hundreds of pages that Lennon wrote over the years to friends, fans and business associates. The physical letters have been in the possession of Beatles biographer Hunter Davies, but Ono controls the intellectual property rights to them.

"These letters have never been collected in one place before, and for the most part they have never been seen before," Orion Publishing Group executive Alan Samson told the Guardian. "The other reason people have gone crazy for it is the fact that there are half a dozen icons of the 20th century –- Marilyn Monroe, Kennedy, Elvis –- and Lennon is one of them."

Orion plans to publish them in October 2012 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' first hit single, “Love Me Do.” The price Samson and Orion paid has not been specified, but is said to be between 500,000 and 1 million pounds, or between $800,000 and $1.6 million U.S. dollars.

"They are full of wonderful drawings,” Samson said. “They are funny, sad ... they are very human letters."

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of John Lennon in 1980. Credit: David Spindel/PBS