Sunday, November 30, 2008

John Lennon on Bob Dylan - Part 1

August 25, 1964

Q: What about folk music, Joan Baez and that type of thing? Your views on that.

John: Well, we all like Joan Baez, but we love Bob Dylan.

Q: Bob Dylan.

John: Yeah.

Q: Joan's boyfriend, there.

John: Oh, is that what it is? Well, well, Bob, you've got to watch the image, you know!

September 13, 1964

Q: John, when you were in New York, what did you like best about it?

John: I just like cities, you see, and preferably big ones. That's why I liked it. And we met some good people like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, you know, and I enjoy meeting people I admire.

August 15, 1965

Q: Do you like New York? Have you ever had a chance to go 'round anywhere?

John: I've seen - I saw a bit of it one time. Went off with Bob Dylan and some people, and we - but it was very late at night, so I saw - saw quite a bit, you know.

August 17, 1965

Q: John, is it true that you and Bob Dylan are really the same person?

John: I didn't read that article, but I think it's quite funny. No, we're not. Mind you, we could be.

August 29, 1965

Q: You don't plan on - I don't wanna correct Ringo, but you'll be back from San Francisco at the time the Dylan concert will be on -

Ringo: We'll both be playing the same night.

John: We won't, because we're leaving exactly - we play the same night as he's here.

Ringo: He's here -

John: And then we leave for England.

George: And we leave on Wednesday for England.

John: And we saw him in Britain, you know. And it was good but we're - not gonna flog it.

June 6, 1968

Q: Does it feel the same to you when you’re writing something on paper and when you’re writing a song lyric?

John: Er, it does now. In the old days I used to think song writing was this and you know, “I love you” and “You love me” and my writing was something else you know. Even if I didn’t think of it quite like that. But then I just realized through Dylan and other people, Bob Dylan - not Thomas, that it is the same thing. That’s what I didn't realize being so naive you know, that you don’t write Pop songs and then you do that and then you do that. Everything you do is the same thing, so do it the same way. But sometimes I’ll write lyrics to a song first and then I get the same feeling as Kakky Hargreaves or a poem and then write the music to it after. So then it’s a poem sung, sometimes the tune comes and then you just put suitable words to fit the tune, if the tune’s doo der loo der loo der la and then you have shagga boo choo cha - you know, you have sound words then, just the sound of it, ‘cus it is all sound, everything’s vibrations I believe, you know, everything is sound really or vision. And just the difference between sound and vision I’m not quite sure about.

September 18, 1968

Q: Do you feel free to put anything in a song?

John: Yes. In the early days I'd... well, we all did... we'd take things out for being banal cliches, even chords we wouldn't use because we thought they were cliches. And even just this year there's been a great release for all of us, going right back to the basics. On 'Revolution' I'm playing the guitar and I haven't improved since I was last playing, but I dug it. It sounds the way I wanted it to sound. It's a pity I can't do it better... the fingering, you know... but I couldn't have done that last year. I'd have been too paranoiac. I couldn't play: ('Revolution' guitar intro) 'dddddddddddddd.' George must play, or somebody better. My playing has probably improved a little bit on this session because I've been playing a little. I was always the rhythm guitar anyway, but I always just fiddled about in the background. I didn't actually want to play rhythm. We all sort of wanted to be lead - as in most groups - but it's a groove now, and so are the cliches. We've gone past those days when we wouldn't have used words because they didn't make sense, or what we thought was sense. But of course Dylan taught us a lot in this respect.

Another thing is, I used to write a book or stories on one hand and write songs on the other. And I'd be writing completely free form in a book or just on a bit of paper, but when I'd start to write a song I'd be thinking: dee duh dee duh do doo do de do de doo. And it took Dylan and all that was going on then to say, 'oh, come on now, that's the same bit, I'm just singing the words.' With 'I Am the Walrus,' I had 'I am he as you are he as we are all together.' I had just these two lines on the typewriter, and then about two weeks later I ran through and wrote another two lines and then, when I saw something, after about four lines, I just knocked the rest of it off. Then I had the whole verse or verse and a half and then sang it. I had this idea of doing a song that was a police siren, but it didn't work in the end (sings like a siren) 'I-am-he-as-you-are-he-as...' You couldn't really sing the police siren.

Q: What did you think of Dylan's version of 'Norwegian Wood'?

John: I was very paranoid about that. I remember he played it to me when he was in London. He said, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I don't like it.' I didn't like it. I was very paranoid. I just didn't like what I felt I was feeling - I thought it was an out-and-out skit, you know, but it wasn't. It was great. I mean, he wasn't playing any tricks on me. I was just going through the bit.

Q: Is there anybody besides Dylan you’ve gotten something from musically?

John: Oh, millions. All those I mentioned before - Little Richard, Presley.

Q: Anyone contemporary?

John: Are they dead? Well, nobody sustains it. I’ve been buzzed by the Stones and other groups, but none of them can sustain the buzz for me continually through a whole album or through three singles even.

Q: You and Dylan are often thought of together in some way.

John: Yeah? Yeah, well we were for a bit, but I couldn’t make it. Too paranoiac. I always saw him when he was in London. He first turned us on in New York actually. He thought "I Want to Hold Your Hand"- when it goes "I can’t hide"- he thought we were singing "I get high." So he turns up with Al Aronowitz and turns us on, and we had the biggest laugh all night - forever. Fantastic. We’ve got a lot to thank him for.

Q: Do you ever see him anymore?

John: No, ‘cause he’s living his cozy little life, doing that bit. If I was in New York, he’d be the person I’d most like to see. I’ve grown up enough to communicate with him. Both of us were always uptight, you know, and of course I wouldn’t know whether he was uptight, because I was so uptight. And then, when he wasn’t uptight, I was - all that bit. But we just sat it out because we just liked being together.

Q: What about the new desire to return to a more natural environment? Dylan’s return to country music?

John: Dylan broke his neck and we went to India. Everybody did their bit. And now we’re all just coming out, coming out of a shell, in a new way, kind of saying, remember what it was like to play.

September 13, 1969
Q: Did you hope to take the group to the Isle of Wight, to the Dylan show?

John: We went to the Dylan show, and if there had been a jam, we'd have got up. It was killed before it happened. It was so late by the time he got on. We would have jammed, if it had been earlier. The crowd was dying on their feet, by the time he got on.

Q: Do you feel there's some sort of change that has happened to music festivals?

John: This is only the second one I've been to. I was at the Isle of Wight, and here. They're great. The police and the kids seem to get along well together. I think it's fantastic. That's why we go to them.

December 22, 1969
John: One of the main points is that the media, being encouraged by the Establishment, or whatever way to -- mind you, the Woodstock thing, we learned what really happened through the underground or through the grapevine. I was at the Isle of Wight gathering, at a Dylan concert, and there weren't as many people; so it was the biggest European gathering ever, and it was a beautiful experience, this calm -- there wasn't a breath of air or vibration disturbing the atmosphere from any of the people there. It was written up as if it was a holocaust, and that established in the minds of the people already decided, of the other generation, what's going on. It reaffirmed their fears of this generation with its haircuts, and its nakedness, and its pot smoking. The first thing we have got to do is to break through the media and get them to talk sense, and the only way they'll do that is if they are directed because they are directed on everything else, and they must be directed on what is happening because that's establishing a fear in the adult world that this generation is going to kill them or frighten them or, you know, go insane, like the "Satan" guy, and to make the "Satan" guy -- that killer, to expunge -- as a -- to use him as the leader or the image of this generation is as insane as saying everybody in the thirties was Hitler, and I don't know how we break that.

Lennon and Dylan Timeline: the 1960s
August 28, 1964: Following their show in New York, Bob Dylan visited the Beatles in their hotel suite and gave them their first real taste of marijuana.

May 9, 1965: The Beatles attended Bob Dylan's concert at Royal Festival Hall in London.

May 27, 1966: John and Bob Dylan were filmed in the back seat of Dylan's limousine from John's Weybridge home to the May Fair Hotel. That night, John and George attended Bob Dylan's concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Later, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones socialized at Dolly's, a nightclub.

August 31, 1969: John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison attended a Bob Dylan concert at the Isle of Wight Festival.

September 1, 1969: After his performance at the Isle of Wight, Bob Dylan returned to John's house to visit with the three Beatles.


Anonymous said...

Great Job!
When do we get part II?

Anonymous said...

why are some parts edited out? post the original or are you scared they will get ya? ;)