Wednesday, July 15, 2009

John Lennon: 1968

By Jonathan Cott/November 23, 1968

The interview took place at John Lennon and Yoko Ono's temporary basement flat in London - flat where Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr and William Burroughs, among others, have stayed. But the flat seemed as much John and Yoko's as the Indian incense that took over the living room. The walls were covered with photos of John, of Yoko, a giant Sgt. Pepper ensign, Richard Chamberlain's poster collage of news clippings of the Stones bust, the Time magazine cover of the Beatles.

We arrived at five on the afternoon of September 17, said hello to gallery owner Robert Fraser, who had arranged the interview, and to John and Yoko, sitting together, looking "très bien ensemble." We sat down around a simple wooden table covered with magazines, newspapers, sketch paper, boxes, drawings, a beaded necklace shaped in the form of a pentangle.

John said he had to be at a recording session in half an hour, so we talked for a while about John's show at the Fraser Gallery.

When we arrived the next afternoon, September 18, John was walking around the room, humming what sounded like "Hold Me Tight" - just singing the song to the air. Old Fifties 45s were scattered about the floor, and John played Rosie and the Originals' version of "Give Me Love." We talked about the lyrics of Gene Vincent's "Woman Love." In spite of having slept only two hours, John asked us to sit down on the floor and begin the interview.

Any suspicions that John would be ornery, mean, cruel or brutish - feelings attributed to him and imagined by press reports and various paranoiac personalities - never arose even for the purpose of being pressed down. As John said simply about the interview: "There's nothing more fun than talking about your own songs and your own records. I mean, you can't help it, it's your bit, really. We talk about them together. Remember that."

2 comments:

Bungalow Bill said...

I spent some time talking to Lou Harrison last night. She would make an interesting Beatles people blog on your site.

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