John Lennon Vs The New York Times
Penned aboard an American Airlines jet in 1971, the letter is a rebuttal to an inflammatory article published in the paper by journalist Craig McGregor, who claimed that The Beatles ripped off black artists without any acknowledgement of their contributions.
'Money', 'Twist 'n' Shout', 'You really got a hold on me' etc, were all numbers we (The Beatles) used to sing in the dancehalls around Britain, mainly Liverpool. It was only natural that we tried to do it as near to the record as we could - i always wished we could have done them even closer to the original. We didn't sing our own songs in the early days - they weren't good enough - the one thing we always did was to make it known that there were black originals, we loved the music and wanted to spread it in any way we could. in the '50s there were few people listening to blues - R + B - rock and roll, in America as well as Britain. People like - Eric Burdons Animals - Micks Stones - and us drank ate and slept the music, and also recorded it, many kids were turned on to black music by us.
It wasnt a rip off.