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!


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.


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.”




Hope you like this interview from the beginning of 1972. I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – be a follower of my blog! Thank you!


by Danny Holloway

On the day I was to meet David Bowie at his home in Beckenham, Kent, I really didn`t know what to expect. I had heard and seen very little of him recently.
The last time I saw him perform was at London`s Roundhouse over a year and a half ago when he showed up unannounced, wearing a gold outfit and curled hair. At the time his music sounded too busy and I couldn`t pick up on it.

After that came the big splash about David and his desire to dress in female attire. I felt sorry for him because it was obvious that a lot of people would dismiss him as a freaking transvestite and not give his music a second chance.
Then came the news that he had written “Oh You Pretty Thing” for Peter Noone, which hit the charts. After that came nothing, until news spread like wild fire of an album totally worthy of every praise and exaggeration that Bowie-maniacs attached to it. “Hunky Dory” displays David`s versatility and talents as a songwriter.

As we sat in the living room of the huge Victorian house he shares, David played the new Biff Rose album, followed by tapes of his next – titled “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars.” It`s about the adventures and eventual break-up of a pop group. Ziggy Stardust is the lead singer and The Spiders From Mars are his back-up group (David is trying to persuade his group to call themselves the Spiders.)

On the carpet lies a copy of Forum magazine, a Yamaha steel string acoustic and a Fender Jaguar guitar, as well as scores of albums including the first Pretty Things albums, the Yardbirds and the Stooges.
Thick wall-to-wall carpeting cushions the room, while the furniture appears to be tucked close to the walls. David stretched himself out across the carpet and skipped from subject to subject.

I remarked on his newly-cropped hair style. “Oh yes, I had it cut a couple of weeks ago, I`m still getting used to it.” That got us around to talking about images. “I`m just an image person. I`m terribly conscious of images and I live in them.”
Was David serious about that dress bit or was it just a put on? “I`m certainly not embarrassed by it or fed up with it or ashamed of it, because it was very much me. But unfortunately, it all detracted from the fact that I was also a songwriter. The dresses were made for me. They didn`t have big boobs or anything like that. They were men`s dresses. Sort of a medieval type of thing. I thought they were great.”

Yeah but didn`t people get the wrong idea of him after that escapade? “Oh, it doesn`t matter! Because whatever their wrong impression of me is, it`s probably right. Things like that don`t bother me at all. The only thing that saddens me is that less attention is given to music. I am an outrageous dresser. I always have been. I adore clothes and a dressmaker friend of mine makes them for me. But I don`t stay with one thing very long. I think I`m like a grasshopper. I really want to move on all the time.”

He pushed himself along the carpet so that his back was supported by the sofa and scratched the top of his head like Stan Laurel used to. His body is thin and pale and there`s a faint smile on his pin-up face as he continues. “I change all the time. My zip code to life is constantly being changed. “I`m still very much a teenager. I go through all sorts of fads.”


Unlike many musicians, David Bowie is interested in all types of theatre and art. As he points out, his music is NOT his main concern. “My life does not revolve around my music. My music is my mode of transport. I write melody to the best of my ability. The melodies I do write please me temporarily and have a very singular effect on me. I quickly put them down. I write songs very quickly because I get bored very quickly with my own stuff.”

Soon we got around to talking about his present plans and what he`s hoping to do. “We`re going to play a few select dates. The line-up is the same as on `Hunky Dory.` Mick Ronson on guitar, Trevor Bolder on bass and Woody Woodmansey on drums. We`re going to rock on stage. We`d like to consider ourselves to be in the same sphere as the Who. We want to be visually exciting. But we`re going to present ourselves on a very solidly routined and rehearsed basis.”

Does he have any special surprises up his sleeve? “No, I`m not going to pull any big prima donna things like that. I don`t think we need anything like that. Everybody`s expecting me to show up doing an Alice Cooper-type thing. But when Alice came out and I saw what he was doing, I decided to veer away from that angle because I didn`t want to go out and ask people to compare me with Alice.
“I would have loved to put on a theatrical show like that, but I wouldn`t have wanted to fall into that category. But I do have plans for a theatrical experience if and when the money comes in.”

And what about the future? “Well there`s a world tour which starts in the States in March. And when we get back we`ll complete mixing the fourth LP. Bowie is everybody`s best bet to be the next homegrown boy to become an international superstar. When I asked him if he`s likely to become a cult figure, his only reply was: “What kind of cult would I develop? Gay lib? Spaced-out queen?”

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Henry McCullough (Wings), Donnie Elbert, 5th Dimension, 1972 Lanchester Arts Festival, Sha Na Na, The Rock And Roll Allstars, Flying Burrito Brothers, Jimmie and Vella and Barry Ryan.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

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Hope you like this interview from the beginning of 1972. I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog. If you really like this sort of thing – be a follower of my blog! Thank you!


The Cat in his lair
– An exclusive NME interview by Roy Carr

Putting an artist on a pedestal has always been a common practise and the worship of the graven star image a much exploited cult. Once it was the magnified animated reflection on the silver screen, today it is the contemporary singer-songwriter whose every word and gesture is taken as gospel by those seeking some kind of substitute spiritual fulfilment. Such is the frailty of the human ego that many of those directly subjected to this phenomena allow their life-style to be moulded beyond recognition by the lip-service bestowed upon them.

Not Cat Stevens. For he states with down-to-death directness “I find that it`s all really nothing more than a great joke.
“As far as anything is concerned, be it politics, generals…whatever, it`s all a great big game and you play it the best that you can. That`s as far as it goes.” He stresses: “The important thing is not to take anything seriously.
“Like the general who thinks that he is the `Father of the Army` has got to be crazy, because most of them hate his guts and you`ve got to remember that. You`ve really got to look at it with a sense of humour.”
However, Stevens admits that when he doesn`t think along this line, it brings him down.
“My most depressing time is when I start getting serious with myself,” he states with complete honesty. “I find that it comes through in my music. I`ll get all wound up in a particular line and I`ll start thinking about it while I`m putting it down on tape.
“Then when I listen to it a couple of days later, I say, `Forget it…that`s not what I`m thinking about, that`s hitting stone! You go as far down as you can possibly go and then inevitably you hit stone.”

Despite his success, which is still a source of amazement to him, Cat Stevens has remained levelheaded. The paradox is that he is almost the antithesis of his vocation. This trait is revealed in the simplicity of his domestic life, for Stevens has just bought himself a new home.
It`s not the expected sprawling multi-roomed mansion complete with a swimming pool hidden away in the green and pleasant heart of the English countryside. It`s a converted split-level terraced dwelling, a mere stall holder`s cry from the busy North End Road street market down at Walham Green. Outside, kids kick a football at the silent crocodile of parked cars – a queue of old ladies with bursting shopping bags form outside the brightly lit Top Rank Bingo Palace – the aroma of freshly baked bread that emits from the corner shop tempers the chillness of the air.
When I arrived at Chateau Cat, a gang of workmen were busy bashing, plastering and hammering everything in sight with a maximum of noise. Surely this was not a conducive atmosphere for a prolific songwriter, I commented when I initially came across Stevens seated cross-legged on the floor amongst a heap of books, paints and guitar cases busily cooking scrambled eggs and burning toast on a small electric ring plonked, for the time being, in the stone fireplace on the first floor.


“Ahhhh well, being a city lad,” Steve chortled in mock tones, as he looked up from his culinary duties, “I enjoy living in London…in actual fact, I like all cities. Apart from London, the only other city that I`d like to live in though is Toronto. Now that`s a really fantastic place.” Having been exiled myself in that city of his choosing I had to agree.
“I would never live in New York,” he commented, while continuing his whisle-stop appraisal of the capitals of the world. The reason for this statement was: “New York finally eats you up. No matter how long a stretch you have there, you always get eaten up.”
Strange as it may seem, this urban atmosphere of almost perpetual motion in which Stevens exists, nay positively thrives in, acts as a stimulus for his numerous creative outlets.

“I like to be as close to the city as possible,” says Stevens, “having all these workmen around me is creating a constant stream of movement…only in that way is my mind free to move.
“For me, it`s great to write in a car.” That`s a somewhat surprising statement which I`m sure will immediately destroy any mental visions you may harbour of Stevens seeking inspiration in an aura of etheral tranquility.
“It`s great, `cause if I`m being driven somewhere in a taxi, I find that my mind is being constantly taken over by new sights. Therefore, I haven`t got the time to concentrate on any one thing and get lost in it, so I have to think and consequently my ideas are constantly changing. “A car is a great place to write in,” he concluded.

Totally aware that the contents of his music reflects the inverse of his turbulant environment, Stevens who until recently lived above his parents restaurant on Shaftesbury Avenue, feels that subconsiously it`s his natural reaction against this background of continual noise.



“I`ve had lorries outside my window for the last ten years,” he recalls. “I guess it`s that which I am combating.”
Be that as it may, Stevens takes great and personal care to safeguard his mental equilibrium from the constant pressures which beset an artist of his rapidly growing stature.
He admits: “I am my worst judge, or if you like, I am my best judge,” a wry smily etching deeply across his face. ” I`m very self-critical of what I`m constantly doing, all it needs is for someone to say something to spark me off and I`ll most definitely react against myself as to what I`m doing then.

“It`s just a safety catch that I have in my head that says when I`m being flattered and when I`m not being flattered. That`s how I change so much, I get involved with what other people are doing and what I think I`m doing.”

However, Stevens still finds time to allow for everyday idiosyncrasies, his most recent being his beard, which he is hurriedly regrowing after having taken razor firmly in hand and succumbed to the overwhelming compulsion to see what lays underneath.
“Before I shaved it off, I found that my beard was almost ruling me,” confessed the demon barber. “I was almost frightened to see what was underneath, it got so much that I thought I`ve got to beat it.” A brave man indeed, for I myself have never had the courage to do likewise.

“Well, I eventually did it,” he continued, “and I felt so clean, it was the first time that I have actually felt rain on my chin for I don`t know how many years…it was fantastic. But then I realised I didn`t want it like that so I`ve started to regrow it again.”
Elaborating on the virtues of facial fungi, Stevens is of the opinion, “you find that you can conceal things, not internally, but when you have an open jaw you automatically find that you conceal things within yourself…mainly in your head.
“Now normally, you`d take it inside of yourself when reacting to something, with a beard you can react quite openly and as you have a covering it doesn`t affect it too much…it`s not so internal, it`s an outgoing reaction.”


Success has turned more heads than a good looking woman, but again Cat Stevens is adamant in his determination to retain a sense of priorities and avoid being sucked up by the destructive superstar syndrome. Even the immediacy of his Stateside acclaim – being one of the few artists to actually show a profit on an initial expeditionary trip to the New World – hasn`t clouded his personal credo.
“The trouble is, that many artists become performing puppets, but they don`t know it. They still think they are in control which can be very dangerous because they`ll suddenly blow up and they won`t know why.

“The thing I found is trying to get as much control over my life as possible. It`s just a question of you working and struggling for that moment when you`re on top so that you can then do what you want. It doesn`t matter what thing you`re into, it`s just that you`re constantly working to reach that peak.
“There are those people who give up at a certain point and that`s something I haven`t done yet. In fact I don`t feel that I`m going to do it for a long time because I have so much energy to give myself that actually works.
“I don`t know what it is,” then with a hearty laugh suggests, “probably it`s just sexual frustration.” Still laughing, he makes a point to pass that remark off strictly as a joke. “Just recently I`ve had so many offers for life-long security as far as record companies are concerned, but I`ve said, `No.`

“Then it would just be like being fed through the mouth – I wouldn`t have a thing to do – so what`s the use. That`s not what I work for…to suddenly be given a throne and have people say, `Hey Man, you`re a success, we can forget about you.”


“I don`t want to forget about myself. I`d rather struggle as much as I can and get totally involved with the stupid things that really bring me back.”
Conscious of his audience, Stevens is forever striving to present a good concert in the best possible surroundings. To this end, he still avoids performing in those vast American stadiums, where the name of the game is: See How Many People We Can Pull In.
“I don`t go in for all that,” says Stevens taking a stand. “They`re only in it for the bread, it`s definitely a bread thing. The only thing is that you do get heard by a lot more people, but then you don`t really because you sacrifice the quality of your performance. They only see the event, that`s all. Now that`s what I call a drag. That`s not what it`s about.
“Records are private things, personal things and it doesn`t always mean the same thing to everyone who is listening, yet it has to be heard.
“You see, in America a large proportion of the audience comes for the event instead of the artist, now Elton John got caught up in this trap and he didn`t know it at the time.
“I guess that`s what festivals were really all about. It didn`t matter who was on, it was a nice summer and you`d go along to dig it because you knew other people would be there.


“Honestly, I didn`t expect things to happen in the States like they did. But when I got there everything just felt right. Though I was angry at the time that `Mona Bone Jakon` didn`t get off the ground, but then it didn`t get off here or anywhere for that matter except in France.
“I was really upset about that, so when I went over I was really determined to make it on my first trip. I wasn`t into like doing three trips and like they say earn money gradually. I earned money on the first tour, even though it was only 100 it was enough to come out and say, `I`ve done it.` You don`t have to do loads of tours and like you don`t have to go through all that hassle. Not if you really mean what you say.”

Stevens yet again admits as an afterthought that he still is very much surprised by the reaction. “And that`s why I don`t want to get too hung-up on it, and let`s face it so many people do.”
With astute know how Stevens is instigating his own demand by only doing four week Stateside tours of selected dates at any one time. “I don`t want to play before 40,000 people in a football stadium, because that`s it…what`s the next thing?
“The only alternative then is to do jingles.”

The performer and writer of such classic music as “Wild World”, “Moonshadow” and “Morning has broken”, Cat Stevens (or Yusuf Islam as he calls himself today) will rightfully be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. (Listen to “Wild World” here)


Loon pants were hot fashion at the start of 1972.


And Black Sabbath were busy on tour, just like today. 🙂

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these good people: Siffre, Ginger Baker, Rick Grech (Traffic), Marmalade, Sandy Denny, Osibisa, Robert Fripp, Keith Moon and Roger Cooke.

The NME this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

  1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to:
  2. The offer should be around or upwards of 10 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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