Sunday, May 17, 2009

April 18, 1975 - The Old Grey Whistle Test

Aired: Friday 18 April 1975

In preparation for his new series of The Old Grey Whistle Test for BBC2, Bob Harris and its producer Michael Appleton travel to America to conduct various interviews with contemporary rock and pop stars, one of whom is John at his Dakota apartment. For the first day, after being given a box of Chocolate Olivers (part of the deal for doing the show), he gives a fascinating interview on all manner of subjects. These include living in New York, the recording studios there, missing England, the recording of Sgt. Pepper and the putting together of a TV show around a new album. Harris asks John about the green card situation.

John: "Well, the situation is that I'm still appealing. Like every now and then they'll say, "You've got thirty days to get out', and my lawyer will appeal and we'll go to another court, or something like that. It'll just go on forever."

Bob: "Do you think they are kind of picking on you?"

John: "Oh yeah, they picked on me. I'm telling you, when it first started I was followed in a car and the phone was tapped. Now we lost the phone tapping case, because how do you prove that your phone was tapped? At that time it was pre-Watergate, so you can imagine! It was: 'John Lennon says his phone was tapped and there were men following him in a car.' I went on a TV show here, a talk show, and I said that this was happening to me, and it stopped the next day. I think they wanted me to know to scare me. And I was scared! Paranoid! People thought I was crazy then. They do anyway! But I mean more so, you know? 'Lennon, you're a big-headed little maniac. Who's going to follow you around?' Well, what do they want? That's what I'm saying. What do they want? I'm not going to cause them any problems."

Bob: "Presumably, when the green card comes through, we will see you in England."

John: "Oh you bet! Of course! I've got family in England. I've got a child who has to keep traveling over. Hello Julian. I've got my Aunty Mimi. Hello Mimi! And all my other relatives, who are furious with me, but I won't tell you why. But I'll tell you Mimi isn't."

Bob: "The inevitable question. Are they..."

John (interrupting): "Are they ever going to get back together again?"

Bob: "Yeah. But first of all, is there any possibility? But secondly, more important, do you think it's a good idea?"

John: "Well, that's another point altogether, whether it would be a good idea or not. You see it is strange, because at one point, when they were asking me, I was saying, 'No, never. What the hell. Go back? Not me?' And then came the period when I thought, 'Well, why not? If we felt like making a record or doing something.' Everybody always envisaged the stage show, but to me, if we worked together... studio again, you know. The stage show is something else. If we'd got something to say in the studio, okay. Now, when I'm saying that I am keen to do it, I turn the paper and George is saying: 'Not me!' Right? It's never got to the position where each one of us wants to do it at the same time. I think that over the period we've been apart, we've all thought, 'Oh that would be nice. That wouldn't be bad.' And the other question is: 'Would it be worth it?' But that is answered by if we wanted to do it. If we wanted to do it, then it would be worth it. If we got in the studio together and we thought we turned each other on again, then it would be worth it, again. And sod the critics, you know. They've got nothing to do with it. The music is the music. If we made a piece that we thought was worthwhile, it goes out. But it's such a pie in the sky, you know. I don't care either way. If someone wants to pull it together, I'll go along. I'm not in the mood to pull it together that's for sure!"

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