Thursday, May 14, 2009

December 16, 1974 - The Today Show

Taped: Monday 16 December 1974 (?)
Aired: Monday 16 December 1974 (?)

To coincide with the release of the single "#9 Dream," John makes the first of four scheduled American television interviews, in a period that will last until April 28, 1975. The first is for the NBC TV breakfast show Today. Introduced by the host as "John Lennon from The Beatles", he appears primarily to promote his latest single, but the continuing problem over his America residency is uppermost in the programme's agenda. John's lawyer, Leon Wildes, also appears. At 7:31am John sits smiling at the camera, giving a "V" (peace) sign while the host continues with his lengthy prologue. "John will not be singing for us this morning. He is deeply involved in trying to prevent himself from being deported," says the host. "The United States Immigration Department know that a drug violation for which he was found guilty, or pleaded guilty in 1968 in England, is grounds for his deportation..." Following cutaways to a news-break and a check on the latest weather, John takes his first question:

Host: "Do you get tired of people introducing you as the 'former Beatle'?"

John: "It's an improvement on ex. I like former better. In England I'm an expatriate and an ex-Beatle. Former looks nicer."

Host: "Do The Beatles still exist? When you disband, does the name go somewhere, and the whole thing just go off into oblivion?"

John: "The Beatles name will continue, because it's 'Beatles Limited' you know, and there's lots of Beatles products that are repackaged. For instance, last year, there were two sets of double-albums (1962-1966 and 1967-1970) that did as well as anything that we put out when we were together. And there's a film in the offing that's comprised of all the films we've collected from all the tours and all the interviews over the world ... which will be called The Long And Winding Road, no doubt. So they exist, but they don't work together anymore."

Host: "You haven't worked together in three or four years?"

John: "Well, let me say, I've worked with Ringo and George on Ringo's album. I worked with George on an album of mine. I worked with Ringo about two months ago and I might be working with George on Friday night, folks!"

Host: "What's happening?"

John: "Well, he's in town performing and we're still friends, you see, so we might have a laugh. It's the last night of the tour and (turning to the camera with a big smirk on his face) ... see you Friday!" *

Host: "Will The Beatles ever play together again as a group?"

John: "It's quite possible, but it's a question even cab drivers ask me. They ask me two things - 'Are you going to play together again?' and 'How's your immigration?' In what form we play together again I don't know. It's been a psychical impossibility for the four of us to be in one place at one time. I couldn't leave here because I couldn't get back in and George and Paul also have problems coming in and out. There's probably three here now, or by the end of the week, but Ringo's gone back. So it's really been an immigration problem that's kept us from even sitting in a room together to decide or saying, 'Hello', although we've done it in different combinations of the four."

Host: "So if the immigration problems were solved, you're saying there's nothing personal between the four of you that would prevent you someday playing again or making music albums or so on."

John: "For us to do that, we'd have to do it more than just to resurrect what went on in the Sixties. Whatever format, it's not in the offing but it's quite possible. Whatever format we did together, it would have to be interesting to us musically, as otherwise they'd be no point. We don't want to just do it for old times sake, you know."

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