Beatles

ARTICLE ABOUT The Beatles FROM New Musical Express, December 31, 1966

One of my favourite bands, and the two surviving members of the Beatles in 2020, in a paper dated exactly on the date for my first Birthday on earth. Should be read by anyone slightly interested in this phenomenon of a band.
Read on!

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Andy Gray finds out the answers the pop world seeks as Paul and Ringo talk about the Beatles

“One reason we don`t want to tour any more is that when we`re on stage nobody can hear us or listen to us,” Paul McCartney told me.
He was referring to the screamers who drown out all hope of hearing the Beatles in person.
“And another reason is that our stage act hasn’t improved one bit since we started touring four years ago. The days when three guitarists and a drummer can stand up and sing and do nothing else on stage must be over.
“Stage performance as an art is going out anyway. I think the Rolling Stones had a shock when they didn’t do a bomb on their last tour. I think Mick was worried.
“Many of our tracks nowadays have big backings. We couldn’t produce the sound on stage without an orchestra. And if we were to do ourselves justice on stage now, we’d have to have at least three months to produce a brand new act. And it would probably be very unlike what you’d expect from the Beatles,” went on Paul.

Recording only

This was Paul’s answer to my query about their future touring. Of their forthcoming recordings, he said: “We feel that only through recording do people listen to us, so that is our most important form of communication. We have never thought of ourselves as one sound . . . Merseybeat wasn’t our invention. We have always changed our style as we went along and we’ve never been frightened to develop and change.
“I think this has been the reason for our continued success. We could have stopped thinking up new things and brought out ‘The Son Of Please Please Me” or ‘The Son Of Love Me Do,’ but that was not on.
“We work on one song and record it and then get tired of it. So we think up something very different. The strength of any act is doing something that you wouldn’t associate with them.
“For instance I feel that the Supremes are too alike with most of their discs. If they did something good and you said: ‘Who’s that ?’ and were told ‘The Supremes’ and you hadn’t identified it with them, you’d be pleasantly surprised. That would add strength to their appeal.
“So we keep on doing tracks which can be any style at all. We’re not limited that way, or with time any more. We take as much time as we want on a track, until we get it to our satisfaction. Before, we had a set time in the recording studio, and that was that. If it wasn`t exactly as we wanted that was too bad.
“Now we take time because we haven’t any pressing engagements like tours to limit us. All we want is to make one track better than the last. We make all ‘A’ sides and never go into the studio thinking ‘This will be our next single.’ We just make tracks, then listen to them and decide from what we have what will be a single, what will go on to an LP.”
Paul went on to give me an insight into their formula for writing hits.
“The words are written down, but the music is never, because we can’t write music. We play it to each other and soon pick it up, and fool around with it a bit. George suggests something extra, then John adds a new idea and so on until we have the music the way we want it. Then we record. Then we forget about it and get on with the next track.”
On the subject of jealousy within the group, Paul was most emphatic. “There isn’t any. Jealousy doesn’t exist. When John wanted to do a film on his own, we were all happy for him. Now that he’s done it, he has passed on to us information about all sorts of things he has learned. That way as Beatles we become richer in experience. George went to India and told us what he had learned. I wrote film music and found out other things, which I’ve passed on.

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On our own

“This rumour we were splitting up was rubbish, too. One would think it is the first time any of us had done anything on his own. John wrote books on his own all along, and we all have side-lines we get on with as individuals.
“Besides, we’re all great friends and we don’t want to split up. There’s never been any talk or sign of it . . . except in the minds of others.”
Paul also let off steam about those who think they have gone “big time.”
“In ourselves we don’t feel big time at all. It`s only when people keep telling us we are big time that we even think of it. But what angers me is when some journalists say I’ve said something I haven’t and describe me as talking in my ‘natural zany beat style.’ I don’t talk in any ‘zany beat style’ . . . it’s the writer thinking that I should. They give us images and those images are usually very inaccurate.”
But Paul admitted that they had changed over the years. We had to. If you’ve got the money you don’t buy a £3 camera if you would rather have a £50 one. Our whole outlook on life is changing because our ‘circumstances have changed our surroundings. But this hasn’t done anything to disunite the Beatles. We are going to keep on making better tracks and become better entertainers – as the Beatles.”

RINGO STARR confirmed, a few hours after I spoke to Paul, that the Beatles are very much united and in no way thinking of splitting. “This idea of jealousy is in other people’s brains. We didn’t mind John doing a film on his own. We were glad he wanted to. And when the time comes, if it does, that I get a role on my own, the others will say `Good luck.’
“That’s how we are. We all work for each other’s success.”
I asked Ringo if he was going to do a film. “Nothing definite at the moment. We get scripts sent in every day, but most of them are so bad. We all get offers of parts, but until something is very good, we’re not interested.
“Same with the film we’ll do together. Until the script is to all our likings we won’t do it”
As far as live performances are concerned, Ringo’s feelings were: ” We can’t do the same act, with a couple of numbers and a couple of jokes. And on tours we’re not playing properly but nobody hears, anyway. We’d have to rehearse something new.”
Ringo also made the first reference to the fact that the Beach Boys had come out on top in the World Vocal Group section of the NME Poll.
“Good luck to them,” he said. ” I think the Poll was fine. We haven’t been doing much and it was run just at a time when the Beach Boys had something good out.
“We’re all four fans of the Beach Boys . . maybe we voted for them,” he concluded.

 

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Coronafree times! What a blast!

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ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, December 13, 1969

Yes, I know it wasn`t long ago since my last reprint of a Lennon interview, but this one was unavoidable. They absolutely were on the brink of splitting and they did make some very good albums solo after the Beatles. In a lot of ways that was a good thing as we got to have more great albums to listen to, but you always ask; “What if…?”
Read on!

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Beatles are on the brink of splitting

One group is just not big enough for all this talent

By Alan Smith

I MAY be wrong, and I hope I am, but these are dark days for the Beatles. I begin to wonder how much longer their association can stand the strain of their own individual talent.
JOHN LENNON pulls toward Peace and his Plastic Ono Band; RINGO Pulls toward a bigger and better film career; GEORGE HARRISON jumps toward his own prolific songwriting; and PAUL McCARTNEY pulls himself away to Scotland, his own songs . . . and silence.
Certainly, John and Paul are on opposite sides of a heavy wall of difference and self-inflicted gloom. And the bond between them can hardly have been more weak, or their opposing interests more strong.
A few days ago John and Yoko and I talked in a one-hour fifteen minute exclusive interview for NME (partly filmed for BBC-1’s look at the world of John and Yoko Lennon in ” 24 Hours”), and during that time he gave me frank answers to this mental rift with Paul and the present state of the Beatles.
He was pleasant, together, straightforward, mellow and resolute, and only in references to Paul did his voice drop in doubt.
He told me: “Paul and I both have differences of opinion on how things should be run. But instead of it being a private argument about how an LP should be done, or a certain track, it’s now a larger argument about the organisation of Apple itself.
“Whether we both want the same thing from Apple in the end is a matter of opinion. But how to achieve it — that’s where we digress.
“Mainly, we disagree on the Klein bit. But you know, I don’t really want to discuss Paul without him here. It’s just that as far as I can see, Paul was always waiting for This Guy to just appear and come and save us from the mess we were in.

Pull out

“And we were in a mess, and only my saying it to the Press that time enabled Klein to hear about it and come over.
“I’m a quarter of this building, and it became a question of whether I should pull my money out if I could — which I probably can’t.
“I did say I wanted out at one time. It was just that all my income was going in to Apple and being wasted by the joy-riding people who were here. In fact, that was just the minute bit of it. I just wanted it to stop.
“It’s no use pretending we can be here all the time when that kind of thing is going on. We needed a business man. No Beatle can spend his days here checking the accounts.
“There was also the question of the four of us holding different opinions on different things, and the staff not knowing where they where or who to listen to.
“I know that’s what’s going on all the time. People come to me and say `Paul wants this done, what do you think?, `and they know damn well what I think and they say `alright,’ and then they go to Paul and say John wants this done, he’s off again.

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Instuctions

“The result is that we kept sending in different instructions and nothing was being done. Like people anywhere, they were getting away with what they could. We were naive and stupid.
“What I want is for the freeloading to stop, but the old Apple spirit to remain. The spirit will be there, because if Apple is not a problem to the Beatles — which it was — it just can’t help but get better.
“Our job is to put the creative side into Apple. If the Beatles never recorded together again, but each put their creative efforts through Apple… that at least would be better than me having a company, Paul having a company, George having a company, and Ringo having a company. “Together we at least have that much more power.
“I know now that the original concept of helping everybody doesn’t work in its purest form. All you get are the bums and freeloaders everybody else turns down.
“The only way we can help other artists at Apple is the same way the Beatles helped other artists … by breaking new barriers. That’s what we didn’t get before. We sat back, and we started to believe our own publicity, to tell ourselves how the Beatles helped people get long hair, and the Beatles started off this, and the other.
“The Beatles split up? It just depends how much we all want to record together. I don’t know if I want to record together again. I go off and on it. I really do.
“The problem is that in the old days, when we needed an album Paul and I got together and produced enough songs for it.

“Nowadays, there’s three of us writing prolifically and trying to fit it all onto one album. Or we have to think of a double album every time, which takes six months.
“That’s the hang-up we have. It’s not a personal ‘The Beatles are fighting’ thing, so much as an actual, physical problem.
“What do you do? I don’t want to spend six months making an album I have two tracks on! And neither do Paul or George, probably. That’s the problem. If we can overcome that, maybe it’ll sort itself out.
“None of us want to be background musicians most of the time. It’s a waste. We didn’t spend ten years making it to have the freedom of recording studios, to be able to have two tracks on an album.
“It’s not like we spend our time wrestling in the studio trying to get our own songs on. We all do it the same way . . . we take it in turns to record a track. It’s just that usually in the past, George lost out. Because Paul and I are tougher.
“It’s nothing new, the way things are. It’s human. We’ve always said we’ve had fights It’s no news that we argue. I’m more interested in my songs. Paul’s more interested in his, and George is more interested in his. That’s always been.
“This is why I’ve started with the Plastic Ono and working with Yoko . . . to have more outlet. There isn’t enough outlet for me in the Beatles. The Ono Band is my escape valve. And how important that gets, as compared to the Beatles for me, I’ll have to wait and see.
“You have to realise that there’s a peculiar situation in that if ‘Cold Turkey’ had had the name ‘Beatles’ on it, probably it would have been a No. 1.

“Abbey Road”

“‘Cold Turkey’ has got Ringo and me on, and yet on half the Beatles’ tracks of ‘Abbey Road,’ I’m not on, or half the tracks on the double album — and even way back. Sometimes there might be only two Beatles on a track.
“It’s got to the situation where if we have the name `Beatle’ on it, it sells. So you get to think: ‘What are we selling? Do they buy it because it’s worth it, or just because it says ‘Beatles?’
“George is in the same position. I mean, he’s got songs he’s been trying to get on since 1920. He’s got to make an album of his own. And maybe if he puts ‘Beatles’ on the label rather than George Harrison, it might sell more. That’s the drag.
“Of course we could each make an album and call it ‘The Beatles.’ But that would be cheating. And that’s not my scene.
“Anyway, folks, remember the Plastic Ono Band LP from Toronto released December the 12th, with a nice picture of the sky, and a fab calendar inside of a year’s events with John and Yoko, with poetry and fun.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon (The Beatles) FROM New Musical Express, December 20, 1969

I can`t resist re-printing those articles featuring one of the most important songwriters and musicians of the last hundred years. Even if the articles are a bit confusing as this one. Read it and you`ll know what I mean. But still, a lot of good stuff too. Enjoy!

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Lennon: I won`t sell out

Bore, fool or saint?

By Alan Smith

THEY say John Lennon is insane, a fool, and a bore. They call him an embarrassment, a joke, and a man too interested in his own publicity. They talk about white bags, long hair, posing nude, pirate ships, recording in a hotel room, staying in bed for a week, more money than sense, insulting the Queen, hurting his Aunt Mimi and being dead by 40.
Very few talk about stomachs swollen with hunger, Vietnamese villagers burned alive, men crippled for life, a year to talk about peace delegates around a table, Biafra, or the Bomb.
If John Lennon ever pricks a conscience, he lets the guilt fly out, deflates his cause and gives the outlet. Never mind Vietnam. What about Aunt Mimi? Never mind Biafra. Did you see those nutters in the bag?
These are the knocks, this is the criticism, and if it`s all true then the chances are that in the fullness of time John Lennon will end up as the most expensively bankrupt ex-Beatle of all. And still the world will be without peace.
My own view is a belief in his absolute sincerity, tempered with a near-screaming hope that one day soon he’ll come in just a little from the world of the bizarre. I want him to win.

Always a Beatle

Talking about the furore which followed when he returned his MBE and the reasons he gave in his letter John said:
“What a drag that thing was about, it doesn’t matter if I’ve given the MBE back, technically I’ll always be an MBE. That’s like I’ll always be a Beatle!
“Just say I hadn’t put that line on my letter about ‘Cold Turkey’ dropping down the charts. What would they have attacked? And they’re going to attack, man — whatever.
“If it hadn’t have been Cold Turkey,’ the whole concentration would have been on insulting Her Majesty. Instead, they printed what I had to say in the letter, and whether my Auntie is going to be hurt.
“And anyway, it’s not that serious. Our whole game is to say to people that WAR ITSELF is a game that’s gone too far. The problem with the revolutionaries is that they get so serious — so involved — that they’re now playing the politician and the Establishment’s game.
“You don’t win like that. We think that was the mistake that Ghandi and Martin Luther King made . . . by becoming The Leader and The Saint and The Holy Man who Does no Wrong. Nobody likes saints alive. They like ’em dead. And we don’t intend to be dead saints. We’d rather be living freaks.”
“Yoko and I keep fighting for what we believe by rebounding mentally against each other. This thing we have together is telepathic. We’ve been together almost 24 hours a day for almost two years.
“Couples pick up on us, of course. There was a guy interviewing us the other day, and he was saying that he and his wife were listening to `Wedding Album’ at home, and his wife was saying `What the hell is it?’ and all that. And then they sat together, and halfway through it she came over and kissed him. And he said to her: ‘That’s what it’s about.’ That was so rewarding, man.

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Couple gimmick

“There’s never been a couple to really identify with before. That’s our gimmick. Our gimmick is that we’re a living Romeo and Juliet.
“And you know, the great thing about us influencing in this way, is that everybody’s a couple. We’re all living in pairs. And if all the couples in the world who are in love identify with us . . . and our ideas go through them . . . what per cent of the population is that?! And then let’s all turn on the one that’s complaining about the image, and why did you get it out, and all that!
“Let’s get with the lovers first. They’re going to produce all the children.”
Yoko: “He’s right. If you can’t work on being a couple, how can you work on the world?”
We talked about FEAR.
Said John: “Fear comes and goes. I have the same fears and paranoias that anybody else has, and I have a real fear of dying, or Yoko dying before me when we`re 60, and all the other insane fears. Any fear you’ve got, I’ve got. People think Yoko and I must be in an immune state of glorious luxury.
“They think Money Saves You, but we’re very insecure. You tell me any fear you’ve got and I can tick it off.
We talked about REGRETS.
“I regret that Yoko wasn’t my child. I don’t like the idea of her being born in somebody else’s womb. That’s one of my great jealousies. It’s a drag that she was in somebody else’s womb, but I can’t do anything about it.
“I have day-to-day regrets, but they don’t affect my future attitudes. I like to play the future blind. I like to play conceptual chess, rather than have the chess on the board.”
We talked some more about the BEATLES:
“The way we all feel in the Beatles today is a bit of a residue of all the meetings we had at the time of the ATV-Northern Songs thing. We were together every day for these terrible, terrible meetings which made us uptight. It’s all that, that’s still in the air between us. It’s nothing that serious. It was just so hard for us.
“We had to listen to all this jazz about business, and hear about banking, and try and think about the technicalities.”
We talked about MONEY:
“We got to hear how much we’d wasted, and that was a real bring-down. It put all of us in the Beatles into the wrong situation.

Wasted money

” God, I don’t like to think about the money we wasted. The John Lennon of ten years ago would have sworn his head off. I mean . . I still did. It was such a waste. I’d sooner have given it away to some deserving gypsy.”
We talked about YOKO’S MISCARRIAGES:
“We’re both a bit choked about babies, with two miscarriages. Both of us feel like laying off, but we don’t know how to, how you do it! It’s a terrible bringdown at the time, but like anything, you carry on.
“Now we think maybe it was because we didn’t want one. Maybe a baby would interfere. How much time would we have for it? I don’t regard the whole thing as fate, though. I don’t believe in the Will of Allah and let ’em — on you.”
We talked of the “GET BACK” film, to be premiered in the New Year:
“No, George doesn’t have a row with me in it. I think he had a bit of a barney with Paul, but you don’t see it. He’s just there one day, and not the next.
“George said: ‘I’m leaving,’ and we carried on, and then he came back.”
BEING HATED: “When I do things I do, I don’t want people to dislike me.
“I prefer to be loved, obviously. That’s the whole ball game. They’ve got to love me even if I’m a Jewish transvestite Negro with a hunchback and one leg. But I want to be loved for myself, not some kind of image.
“I’m not going to paint myself white to be loved. I’m not going to sell out. I’m not going to play that ball game, prejudice and fear.”
STAGE FRIGHT: “I get nervous and physically sick. I’ve been away from stage appearances for a long time.”

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ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon and Yoko Ono FROM Record Mirror, May 6, 1972

This is part two of the interview done with John & Yoko. So read on!

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It`s your message that counts

…not your money or your physical power says Lennon

Jean Francois Vallee concludes our two-part feature with John and Yoko

 
Q: Do you think that New York better expresses the realities of the Western world?

JOHN: Yes. It is the most advanced place in the world.

YOKO: Also, there are 10,000 Japenese, millions of Jews, Greeks . . .

JOHN : Peurto Ricans, blacks . . . .

YOKO: Italians . .

JOHN: . . All the nations of the world are here . . . .

YOKO: . . . All the nations of the world are here . . . .

YOKO: An international city.

JOHN: The most cosmopolitan city in the world.

Q: You contributed (in Rolling Stone) to the demythification of the culture created around rock and pop music, but at the same time you destroyed the platform, the vehicle of your politics and the potential power that the Beatles represented in this respect. Does not this constitute a dilemma?

JOHN: Yes, but even on my own I still have a lot of power. I can mobilise the media, and what is power without the media, without access to the mass of the public? This power exists because of the Beatles and I had my share. Now John and Yoko are bigger than John Lennon, bigger than George Harrison or Paul McCartney. This is our power now and this power belongs to everyone. We are making it available to everybody instead of using it by the Beatles for the Beatles. We destroyed the myths of the rock culture because the musicians – and this is true of The Who and the Stones as well as for the Beatles – all spoke of politics in their music but did nothing in reality. We now belong to the Rock Liberation Front.

Q: And what exactly is that?

JOHN: The Front was founded by David Peel, an anarchist musician, and A. J. Weberman. The object was to liberate the ‘princes’ of rock for themselves.

Q: To demythify them?

JOHN: To release them so that they could do something for the people.

POWER

YOKO: We do not try to speak because we have a special power but because what we have to say is very important.

JOHN: What Aristotle Onassis says is not imortant, 0.K? Onassis says nothing that is worth repeating. Nor does Agnew, nor Nixon. They have a physical power but what they say is not worth a damn. You see, it is not money that counts nor physical power but your message.

Q: You believe profoundly in this?

JOHN: Weberman has proved this starting with nothing. He got access to the media by using his grey matter and saying what he has to say. People say, “Of course you and Yoko, you have these bed-in campaigns for peace, but only celebrities could get away with this”; but this is not true, anybody can do this. Anybody with the talent of Weberman could have done it. Anybody can have access to the media because the media are easy to reach.

YOKO: The power is in the message not in the name. The name doesn’t mean a thing.

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Q: What are the projections of the Rock Liberation Front?

JOHN: When the Stones go to make their tour in June for money, we shall do ours for free. What do you say to that Mick? (sarcastic laugh).

FREE

Q: ‘Revolution number nine’ has the image of ultimate confusion, a sort of end of the world. Do you think that this is going to happen?

JOHN: Oh yes.

Q: The apocalypse?

JOHN: Ah, the apopo, the apopo, what you said… is a very big word. That means the end of everything. Doesn’t it? I do not believe in the end. The end doesn`t exist, neither does the beginning.

Q: But there is so much confusion that the song seemed to sound like the end of the world.

JOHN: No. no, it was simply a sound image of May 1968, a simple collage of a revolution in progress.

Q: Do you still record sound experiences on tape recorders for yourself?

JOHN: Yes, and Yoko’s album contains a lot of this material.

YOKO: We work together.

JOHN: Before it was just for me, but Yoko persuaded me to release it. It was because of her that I made ‘Revolution number nine’. Now we are continuing with these ideas in Yoko’s work.

YOKO: Strawberry Fields was the first Beatles song I heard and it impressed me very much. I know nothing about rock or pop, but it touched me. There is that universality in John’s music. It is not necessary to know rock and all that culture unless it comes across, and this is what we are trying to do. To cut out intellectualism and modes and styles, and to communicate simply and directly.

HELP

Q: In most of your songs you allow the vulnerable side of your personality to appear: ‘I am a loser,’ Help,’ etc. It is like an appeal to someone or somebody.

JOHN: Yes, that’s true. When I wrote ‘Mother’ and ‘Working class hero,’ people said: “Ah, he’s becoming introspective suddenly.” But I was no more introspective than I was in ‘Help’ or ‘I am a loser’ or Strawberry Fields.’ The only difference was that they were no longer Beatles songs.

YOKO: The most important change now is the fact that we can communicate with people like Jerry. Before we were in an ivory tower.

JOHN: ‘Imagine,’ both the song itself and the album, is the same thing as ‘working class hero’ and ‘Mother’ and ‘God’ on the first disc. But the first record was too real for people, so nobody bought it. It was banned on the radio. But the song ‘Imagine,’ which says: “Imagine that there was no more religion, no more country, no more politics” is virtually the communist manifesto, even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement. You see, ‘Imagine’ was exactly the same message, but sugar-coated. Now ‘Imagine’ is a big hit almost everywhere – anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic song, but because it is sugar-coated it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey. This is what we do above all, Jerry, Yoko and the others, it is to try to change the apathy of young people. The apathy which exists in America but which is infiltrating everywhere because everyone follows the American pattern, above all because of the music. The life style of this century has been fashioned by America. Young people are apathetic. They think there is nothing worthwhile to do and everything is finished. They want to take refuge in drugs to destroy themselves. Our work is to tell them that there is still hope and still a lot to do. We have to change their minds; we have to tell them that it is O.K. Things can change, and just because flower-power did not work it doesn’t mean that everything is finished. It is only the beginning. The revolution has only just begun. It is just the beginning of big changes.

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The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT John Lennon and Yoko Ono FROM Record Mirror, April 29, 1972

This is the first of a two-part interview with John and Yoko. For the sake of history and for the pure fact that Lennon was an important member of one of history`s biggest and best bands this needs to be out there. I wonder what causes Lennon would have been engaged in if he were alive today? One thing is for certain – he would have strong opinions regarding political subjects and he wouldn`t be afraid to express them.

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`Capitalism killed the Beatles`

Jean-Francois Vallee talks to John and Yoko

John and Yoko, what is happening with you?

JOHN: Recently I have been doing a lot of Jam sessions without rehearsals. It’s been good. We have been appearing on the stage suddenly in the middle of a concert just to play with other musicians — e.g. at Fillmore East and Toronto, and then we disappear. But now I do not want to do this anymore. We are forming a new Group with Phil Spector on organ and Yoko and me. The band will be expandible according to the number of musicians who want to play with us. I do not want too big a nucleus, 10 musicians at the most. Local bands will be able to play with us if they want, either with the Plastic Ono band or on their own. The Plastic One band will be the one constant element on the tour. In each town we will ask musicians and theatre groups to appear on stage with us. We want people to participate and not just to stand there open-mouthed as if they were looking at God on the stage.

YOKO: If you throw a stone in the water, the important thing is not the stone, but the waves it creates.

Q: Yoko, what do you think of John’s songs?

YOKO: What I admire in John’s songs is that they are so simple that people can sing them and make their own songs out of them. They are as simple as a heart beat: bang, bang, bang. It does not come from the head, but from the heart.

Q: The ‘Imagine’ LP seemed to be divided into questions and answers with Yoko?

JOHN : Yes, I never really thought of that but it is true in a sense. There is only one thing that I can see as a response, and that is love. This is what I was saying when I wrote `All you need is love’.

STRUCTURE

Q: ‘Imagine’ gave the idea of somebody fighting a difficult battle.

JOHN: Everybody is fighting. Three years ago I would have been looking for a Guru or looking for the answer in Karl Marx, but not any more. I was looking for a father figure but I do not want that any more, thanks to Dr. Janov. That’s not the same thing. He gave me a kind of structure and I do not need him any more. He helped me to accept myself. He is like Freud really and he says, if people had understood Freud they would have attempted to relive the initial crisis instead of intellectualising in order to disperse their problems.

Q: Isn’t the essential message of ‘Imagine’: “Do not be enslaved by myths?”

JOHN: Yes.

Q: But politics is made up of myths. You would like to meet Mao. Is not he a myth?

JOHN: I would like to go to China just out of personal interest. Wouldn’t you?

Q: Yes.

JOHN: Well I shall go to China. I will take the opportunity to try to see Mao. If he is ill or dead or if he refuses to see me, too bad. But if I go there I want to meet people who are doing something important. It could just as easily be a youth leader. I am only saying Mao because may be that will help me to get to China.

YOKO: It is very important to go to China now, not only out of curiosity but because the world ought to go on getting smaller, and exchanges ought to be more and more open and be carried out more and more rapidly. China should not be isolated in a mystery. The mystery should be exposed and destroyed, and that will happen if we go there and they come here.

Q: The important thing is to communicate?

JOHN & YOKO: Yes.

Q: Do you not expect to find the answer in China?

JOHN: No, oh God no . . . I want to take a rock band to China. That is really what I want to do. To play rock in China. They have yet to see that.

YOKO: And we shall go there not only with musicians but with people like Jerry Rubin. As I have said, the message is music itself and Jerry has his own music and he wants to play.

Q: What is your political position at the moment?

YOKO: Same as yours.

Q: But it seems you are more involved than . . .

JOHN: . . . Than during the time of the Beatles?

Q: Yes.

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JOHN: The Beatles — that was something so enormous you just had to be a Beatle and nothing else. Being a Beatle took all your life and that was the problem. What I mean is that the Beatle thing became so big that it got to be a monster. It was not a monster at the beginning. The group communicated with people. They were the good times; we played in clubs and ballrooms and we spoke to people. It was really great. But then it became a kind of machine; it is like a guy who makes millions, like Rockefeller, or Getty, they become totally obsessed by money. How to look after their millions and how to make more. That is how the Beatles became. Think about the Beatles, for the Beatles and by the Beatles, and that is what I could not come to accept. There just was not any time to think of anything else. So the Beatles was just a period in my life. You know I have still got a long way to go. I lived 14 years of my life before the Beatles happened, and during 10 of those years I knew nothing about world politics. Nevertheless, if I did not have a political conscience, Marx and all that, I was aware of my own position in the working class in Liverpool and of being about to try to get into University and all the stupidities that go with it. So the Beatles were not so important. And now the Beatles are dead.

Q: If we were to make an inquest what would we discover was the cause of their death?

JOHN: Capitalism.

YOKO: It is dangerous when something becomes a myth; because they are all the same, they are all equal you see. When you asked us just now what our political position was, I said that it was the same as yours. We all have responsibilities in this Society because it is we who create that Society and everything that happens illustrates something in ourselves so we try to do everything we can by ourselves.

Q: I wanted to speak of the Beatles because that was really something for us, for my generation, something exceptional . . .

JOHN: Oh, for us as well.

YOKO: The Beatles was a social fact and also political in a sense.

JOHN: The Beatles had a social influence, a social impact. Then it became sterile, like a Government, that has stayed too long in power. When that situation arises you have to abdicate. So we abdicated . . . and now there are Santana, Marc Bolan, T Rex and all the new musicians. It is for them to carry on.

Q: Do you use your music as a means of promoting your politics?

JOHN: I am first of all a musician with lot of other interests on the side. You know, I believe that the situation that my political conscience puts me in is somewhere between “All you need is love” with the Beatles and “Power to the people” by the Plastic-Ono Band. In fact, what this really means is that I still believe in “All you need is love,” but I think also that now it is necessary to have something else as an additional aid.

Q: What do you think of the latest Dylan song, ‘George Jackson’?

JOHN: Hurrah . . . (He sings ‘George Jackson’) . I think it is fantastic.

CRISIS

Q: Do you think that he has suddenly taken a new political position?

JOHN: He has always been aware. People say Dylan has abandoned the Movement but Dylan was there before the Movement.

YOKO: That’s true.

JOHN: You see, Dylan exists with or without the Movement. We owe him a great deal of things. You cannot demolish the Beatles or Dylan because they have had a big effect and impact. It does not matter that Dylan has done nothing for six months or that he chooses to rest for a year, or that he is going through a psychological crisis, or that he has had an accident, or that he wants to live with four children and his family. Dylan has done what he has done and he continues. We ought to let him have a little time to breathe. He wrote ‘George Jackson’ despite attacks from everybody and not because of the attacks from everybody.

Q: Do you see Weberman as a creation of his nightmares, just as Manson is a little bit of a nightmare creature of the Beatles fantasy?

JOHN: In a sense, yes, yes . . Although Weberman has qualities. It is just that he has gone too far.

YOKO: There is always this duality. The ying and the yang. For example, a great machine like the Beatles — they were to create some beautiful things and at the same time some terrible things, and those terrible things happen, then people give them too much importance.

Q: You have decided to live in New York. You have lots of money and you can choose a place much more welcoming. Why New York?

JOHN: Yoko lived here for 15 years. Then she returned to Japan, and then she went to London, and from London she brought me back to New York. New York remains the centre of the universe for me, the centre of the world. Yes, it is possible that America is going in the wrong direction. Like Rome, she will destroy herself and fall in ruins, and yet, I would rather be in the centre than in provincial places, in Britain, or Wales, or England.

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