Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cynthia Lennon on Yoko Ono and Losing John Lennon

John had taken acid once more and enthused, 'Cyn, it was great. Christ Cyn, we've got to have lots more children. We've got to have a big family around us.' At this point, I burst into tears . . . All I could blurt out was that, in no way, could I see us as he did. I was so disturbed by John's outburst, that I even suggested that Yoko Ono was the woman for him. John protested at my crazy suggestion and suggested that I was being ridiculous. Although life went on as usual, my fears grew and I felt nervous and depressed. John was unaware of my depression and suggested that, as he had to work for long hours in the recording studios for a few weeks, I should accompany Jenny, Donovan, Gypsy and Alexis on a holiday to Greece. The very thought of sun and sea really brightened my outlook.

The two weeks in Greece were wonderful, a total change. Our arrival home, it seemed, was unexpected. It was four o'clock in the afternoon. The porch light was on and the curtains were still drawn. There were no signs of life . . . just an ominous silence. The front door was not locked, and so we all trooped into the house, shouting, 'Hello, where are you? Is anyone home?' There was no response, until we walked into the morning room, where we heard quiet murmurings of a conversation. When I opened the door a scene that took my breath and voice away confronted me. Dirty breakfast dishes were cluttering the table, the curtains were closed and the room was dimly lit. Facing me was John, sitting relaxed in his dressing gown. With her back to me and equally relaxed and at home, was Yoko. The only response I received was 'Oh, hi,' from both parties. They looked so right together. I was a stranger in my own home. Desperately trying to cover up the shock, all I could think to say was, 'We were all thinking of going out to dinner tonight. We had lunch in Rome and we thought it would be lovely to have dinner in London. Are you coming?' It sounded so stupid in the light of the changed circumstances. The only reply I received was, 'No, thanks.' And that was it. I wanted to disappear and, in fact, that is just what I did. I rushed out of the room upstairs, gathering random personal belongings together. All I knew was that I had to get out. As I ran along the landing, I noticed a pair of Japanese slippers, neatly placed outside the guest bedroom door. Jenny and Alexis were equally shocked and embarrassed by the situation, so when I asked if I could stay with them for a few days, they agreed readily.

Friday, September 10, 2010

John Lennon on "Revolution 1"

"When George and Paul and all them were on holiday, I made 'Revolution,' which is on the LP, and 'Revolution 9.' I wanted to put it out as a single, but they said it wasn't good enough. They came home, I had it all prepared and they came back and said it wasn't good enough and we put out, what, 'Hello Goodbye' or some shit. No, we put--'Hey Jude,' sorry, which was worthy. But we could have had both. I wanted to put out what I felt about revolution, I thought it was about time we fuckin' spoke about it, the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnamese war, on tour with Brian. We had to tell him, 'We're going to talk about the war this time, we're not going to just waffle.' And I wanted to say what I thought about revolution. I'd been thinking about it up in the hills in India. And I still had this 'God will save us' feeling about it. 'It's going to be alright.' But even now I'm saying, 'Hold on, John, it's going to be alright.' Otherwise, I won't hold on. But that's why I did it, I wanted to say my piece about revolution. I wanted to tell you or whoever listens and communicate and say, 'What do you say? This is what I say.' And that's why I say on one version, about violence, 'in or out?' because I wasn't sure. But the version we put out said, 'Count me out,' I think. Because I don't fancy a violent revolution happening all over. I don't want to die. But I'm beginning to think that what else can happen. It seems inevitable."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

John Lennon on "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

"Oh, I like that, one of my best. I had forgotten about that. Oh, I love it. I think it's a beautiful song. I like all the different things that are happening in it. Like 'God,' I had put together some three sections of different songs, it was meant to be -- it seemed to run through all the different kinds of rock music."

"It wasn't [about heroin]. It was never--like all the ones that really--like LSD, the 'Lucy in the Sky,' which I swear to God or swear to Mao, or anybody you like, I'd no intention. 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun' is the same. George Martin had a fuckin' book on guns, or he told me about it--I can't remember--I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said, 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun.' It was a gun magazine. I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something."

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Paul McCartney on His Marijuana Drug Bust and Imprisonment in Japan

"I can take it or leave it. It's silly to say it's wicked. I think we should decriminalise it. I wasn't badly treated [in jail] but it was an experience I never want to repeat. It was incredibly dumb, really stupid of me to try to take the hash into Japan. I just wasn't thinking logically. I didn't really try to hide the stuff. It was just sitting on top of the suitcase."

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Letter from Early Beatles Fans, 1963

Dear Johnny,

We are some of the very first Beatles fans, and we thought you might like to hear something about their early days at The Cavern.

When they first appeared there, we could go down about half-an-hour before the session began and get a seat at the front, and The Beatles mainly used to play numbers for which they'd had requests from the audience. You could always go and talk to them in the band-room by the stage, and at the snack-bar at the back. They were always fooling around on stage, and playing such pieces as "Bill and Ben" and "Torchy," and how we were thrilled when we heard that "Love Me Do" had got to Number 27 in the Charts!

Then they became more famous, and we used to queue all day for front row seats at an evening session, and often from the night before. Everyone going past The Cavern could see us all huddled in jeans, rugs and blankets in the doorway!

Yes, we have many early memories of Our Boys, but they've probably forgotten all about us now. We can't really complain, because we know them better than anyone else, but honestly, we don't half miss them!

from the original Beatlettes.
LIVERPOOL--of course!

The Beatles write:
Course we haven't forgotten the early days and everyone who helped to start us going. We wish sometimes that we could go back to The Cavern and play around just like we used to do just for a few days.

Lennon & McCartney (Songwriters) Ltd. (1963)

If at some future date--possibly around the year 2014 or 2016--The Beatles ceased to be popular with the disc-purchasing public they'd be quite content to fall back upon a variety of other occupations.

Ringo might turn his attention to motor racing and begin to drive himself to fresh glories on tracks which have nothing to do with discs.

George says he fancies himself in the role of a traffic warden because he'd like to stop other wardens parking anywhere in their off-duty hours.

John and Paul, on the other hand, would stick together and write songs from now until Doomsday because it is (a) something at which they are expert (b) something which they treat as a pleasing pastime rather than a job of work.

One Hundred Songs

Over the last four years John and Paul have written more than a hundred songs. Within the last twelve months twenty-three recordings of their compositions have been issued--including those used on each and every single-play side out by The Beatles to date. Billy J. Kramer With The Dakotas scuttled up the best sellers with Lennon/McCartney compositions. "Do You Want To Know A Secret" and "I'll Be On My Way." And a second pair--"Bad To Me" and "I Call Your Name"--made up the most recent Kramer single. Kenny Lynch cut "Misery." The Kestrels made a mighty exciting version of "There's A Place," Tommy Quickly was launched at the end of July via "Tip Of My Tongue," Duffy Power recorded "I Saw Her Standing There" and American visitor Del Shannon was so impressed by the song-writing of John and Paul that he went home to cover "From Me To You" for the American market. The latest Liverpool group, The Fourmost, have put a Beatle-scribed number, "Hello Little Girl," on the top deck of their first release.

Back and Front-Room Boys

It is extraordinary to find good song-writers who are also first class performers. Normally hit tunes and clever lyrics are created by back-room boys who make a full-time career of this one segment of the pop business.

I asked John how the tuneful twosome found time to pen pop chart-smashers when they have so much travelling and performing to fit into their bustling lives. "It isn't a matter of finding time" he declared "it is simply a question of waiting for ideas to arrive, sometimes this will happen in the van or on a train when we're halfway between engagements. Once one of us has come up with a few introductory phrases or a good theme for the lyrics we can bang the whole thing into shape within an hour."

"Hello Little Girl"

On the other hand new songs are not rolling off the assembly line at the pace one might imagine because several recently issued records have carried material which John and Paul penned years ago. Drawn from their stockpile of oldies was "Hello Little Girl" which they've just given to The Fourmost. Says Paul: "This one already has a well-prepared audience in Liverpool. We used to feature 'Hello Little Girl' at the Cavern Club long before we made our own first records. It was one of our most popular request items at one stage."

Are they afraid of giving away too much valuable material to other groups? Not according to Paul: "It works both ways. If someone like Billy J. scores with one of our numbers, people want to hear what The Beatles' version is like. So we can include it in our concert act or on an L.P. album."

Combined Effort

Some people have the impression that Paul writes the music and John puts words to the finished melody. The idea got around because John's flair for writing off-beat poetry is well known. In fact both boys work on both sides of the song construction job--with lots of discussion and modification taking place between the original idea and the completed product.

"Lyrics are very important" says John "because there are hundreds of good and bad ways of saying 'I love you' in song. Romance is almost always the main subject of our lyrics but we don't go for those dreary lines about boys wandering around in tears because some bird has left them. Life's much too hard and fast to dwell on unrequited affection when they're still at the love-'em-and-leave-'em stage. There's no reason why a pop song should distort everyday facts for the sake of fantasy. It should reflect normal happening in every day language." I'll let Paul have the final word on the pop-penning game: "There's never any idea of selling off our second-rate stuff to other artists. We write bad songs like everyone else but they never see the light of day outside our own circle. Of the better songs we select those which are suited to the group's style for Beatle records and pass over others to people who can put them across most effectively."


All You Need Is Cash

All You Need Is Cash (also known as The Rutles) is a 1978 television film that traces (in mockumentary style) the career of a fictitious British rock group called The Rutles. As TV Guide described it, the group's resemblance to The Beatles is "purely – and satirically – intentional."

The film was co-produced by the production companies of Eric Idle and Lorne Michaels, and directed by Idle and Gary Weis. It was first broadcast on March 22, 1978 on NBC, earning the lowest ratings of any show on American Prime time network television that week. It did much better in the ratings when it premiered in the UK on BBC2 less than one week later.

The music and events in the lives of the Rutles paralleled that of The Beatles almost to the letter, spoofing many of the latter's career highlights. For instance, the animated film Yellow Submarine is parodied as Yellow Submarine Sandwich, and the song "Get Back" became "Get Up And Go." Songs from the film were released on an accompanying soundtrack.


All You Need Is Cash was one of the first films of its kind, and an inspiration for the successful Rob Reiner cult comedy film This Is Spinal Tap which followed in 1984.

According to commentary on the DVD, George Harrison showed Idle a rough cut of the Beatles produced film that would later turn into the epic Anthology documentary, so "All You Need is Cash" has an "Anthology" feel to it - though it would be decades before "Anthology" was finally released.

The Rutles were played by Idle, John Halsey, Ricky Fataar, and Neil Innes. The band had originally appeared in a sketch on Idle's program Rutland Weekend Television. The sketch was later re-broadcast on the American TV show Saturday Night Live. For this film, Fataar replaces David Battley who had appeared as Stig O' Hara in the original sketch.

All You Need Is Cash is primarily a series of skits and gags that each illustrate a different part of the fictional Rutles story, closely following the chronology of The Beatles' own story. The cohesive glue of the film is the acclaimed soundtrack by Neil Innes, who created 19 more songs for the film, each an affectionate pastiche of a different Beatles song or genre of songs. 14 of the songs were released on a soundtrack album with elaborate packaging (The CD version subsequently added the six songs omitted from the original vinyl album.) The album was both critically and commercially successful and was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Comedy Recording of the year. The orchestrations and arrangements for the Rutles recordings were made by noted film composer John Altman.

The film is also notable for its many cameo appearances by a cross-section of both British and American comic talent, including those with ties to Monty Python, Saturday Night Live and the lesser-known but directly-related Rutland Weekend Television. Perhaps the most noteworthy cameo is by George Harrison (who had earlier appeared as himself on the Rutland Weekend Television 1975 Christmas Special). Harrison plays a TV journalist conducting an interview outside the headquarters of Rutle Corps, oblivious to the stream of people coming out of the building carrying items stolen from the office; a reference to the Beatles' famously plundered Apple Boutique (and Apple Headquarters itself, where even the roof lining was looted). The interview ends abruptly as the microphone is stolen out of his hand.

The film also features cameos from Idle's fellow Python Michael Palin, several SNL cast members including Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd (as well as SNL writers and occasional performers Al Franken and Tom Davis), Bianca Jagger as Dirk McQuickly's wife Martini, Ronnie Wood as a Hells Angel, and Mick Jagger and Paul Simon as themselves. The film is notable for bringing together British and American comic talent in a way that has seldom happened before or since. The Beatles publicity was also parodied. Before the film was broadcast, areas of London had posters saying "The Rutles are Coming" analogous to "The Beatles are Coming" poster which announced their arrival in a town.

The program fared better on its British debut on BBC television. The film's cult status grew from the success of the soundtrack album, and after the release of the film on the comparatively new medium of home video.


* Eric Idle as Dirk McQuickly / Narrator / Stanley J. Krammerhead III,Jr., occasional visiting professor of applied narcotics at the University of Please Yourself Ca.
* John Halsey as Barry Wom (Barrington Womble)
* Ricky Fataar as Stig O'Hara
* Neil Innes as Ron Nasty
* Michael Palin as Eric Manchester, Rutle Corp. Press Agent / Lawyer
* George Harrison as The Interviewer
* Bianca Jagger as Martini McQuickly
* John Belushi as Ron Decline, the most feared promoter in the world
* Dan Aykroyd as Brian Thigh, ex-record producer who turned down the Rutles
* Gilda Radner as Mrs. Emily Pules
* Bill Murray as Bill Murray the K.
* Gwen Taylor as Mrs. Iris Mountbatten / Chastity
* Ron Wood as Hell's Angel
* Terence Bayler as Leggy Mountbatten
* Henry Woolf as Arthur Sultan, the Surrey Mystic
* Ollie Halsall as Leppo, the "fifth Rutle"

Subsequent re-releases

The show has been released on DVD, originally in a 66-minute version incorporating cuts for syndication, later in a "special edition" restored to its full length of 72 minutes and with extras including a commentary by Idle. The full-length version replaces a spoof newsreel voice-over by Idle with an American-sounding announcer. All You Need Is Cash received positive reviews and has a 90% at Rotten Tomatoes.

The soundtrack was reissued on CD. It included additional tracks from the original TV sessions remixed in stereo by Neil Innes. Innes, Fataar and Halsey returned in 1996 to record The Rutles Archaeology, but without the involvement of Eric Idle.


A sequel titled The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch was produced in 2002.


Sunday, September 05, 2010

John Lennon on "Revolution"

"Ah, sure, 'Revolution.' There were two versions of that song but the underground left only picked up on the one that said, 'Count me out.' The original version which ends up on the LP said 'count me in' too. I put in both because I wasn't sure. There was a third version that was just abstract, musique concrète, kinds of loops and that, people screaming. I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution -- but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was anti-revolution. On the version released as a single I said, 'When you talk about destruction, you can count me out.' I didn't want to get killed. I didn't really know that much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle, you know. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn't go around shouting about it. That was how I felt -- I was really asking a question. As someone from the working class, I was always interested in Russia and China and everything that related to the working class, even though I was playing the capitalist game. At one time I was so much involved in the religious bullshit that I used to go around describing myself as a Christian Communist, but as Janov says, religion is legalized madness. It was therapy that stripped away all that made me feel my pain won."