Letter From Former John Lennon Employee Alleges Drug Addiction

By McCarton Ackerman 02/18/15

A letter kept by Lennon's former housekeeper underscores what many already know.

John Lennon

A surprising letter that was kept by a former staff member of the late John Lennon suggests that he was a drug abuser who cheated on his wife.

Dorothy Jarlett, a former housekeeper for the Lennons who passed away last year, is believed to have composed the letter in the late 1960s. She alleges that the late Beatle left pot lying around the house and was severely addicted to it.

"I knew of this, because I began noticing drugs lying around in various parts of the house," she wrote. "It was quite clear to me that Mr. Lennon was smoking pot, and we all hoped that it was a phase."

Of course, many of Lennon's lyrics addressed drug use directly. His 1969 single "Cold Turkey" was about his experience coming down off heroin, which he and wife Yoko Ono had reportedly become addicted to the year before.

Lyrics like, "Thirty-six hours rolling in pain, praying to someone, free me again” speak directly to this. The single tanked on the charts, peaking at No. 30 in the US and No. 14 in the UK, while Lennon did little to endear himself to fans in later years by blaming his drug use on his former bandmates.

"People like Peter Brown in our office, he comes down and shakes my hand and doesn’t even say hello to her," he said in 1971. “We took H because of what the Beatles and their pals were doing to us. They didn’t set down to do it, but things came out of that period and I don’t forget.”

Ono later said in a 2007 BBC interview that a greedy drug dealer had regularly cut their heroin with baby powder, ironically saving them from spiraling into further addiction. She said that "we never injected because both of us were totally scared about needles."

Several Beatles' classics also reportedly reference drug use. Their 1968 hit "Happiness is a Warm Gun" includes the lyrics "I need a fix cause I'm going down," while their 1967 anthem "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" has widely been rumored to be about LSD, something Lennon routinely denied.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.