John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:48 pm

Thirty years.


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John Lennon - Rocker
October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980


Musician, songwriter, peace advocate, and leader of the greatest band in rock 'n' roll history.

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PLAYBOY: John, you've been asked this a thousand times, but why is it so unthinkable that the Beatles might get back together to make some music?

LENNON: Do you want to go back to high school? Why should I go back ten years to provide an illusion for you that I know does not exist? It cannot exist.



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PLAYBOY: Then forget the illusion. What about just to make some great music again? Do you acknowledge that the Beatles made great music?

LENNON: Why should the Beatles give more? Didn't they give everything on God's earth for ten years? Didn't they give themselves? You're like the typical sort of love-hate fan who says, "Thank you for everything you did for us in the Sixties... would you just give me another shot? Just one more miracle?"



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PLAYBOY: We're not talking about miracles... just good music.

LENNON: When Rodgers worked with Hart and then worked with Hammerstein, do you think he should have stayed with one instead of working with the other? Should Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis have stayed together because I used to like them together? What is this game of doing things because other people want it? The whole Beatle idea was to do what you want, right? To take your own responsibility.



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PLAYBOY: All right, but get back to the music itself. You don't agree that the Beatles created the best rock 'n' roll that's been produced?

LENNON: I don't. The Beatles, you see... I'm too involved in them artistically. I cannot see them objectively. I cannot listen to them objectively. I'm dissatisfied with every record the Beatles ever fu.cking made. There ain't one of them I wouldn't remake... including all the Beatles records and all my individual ones. So I cannot possibly give you an assessment of what the Beatles are.



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When I was a Beatle, I thought we were the best fu.cking group in the god-damned world. And believing that is what made us what we were... whether we call it the best rock 'n roll group or the best pop group or whatever ... But to get back to your original question about the Beatles and their music, the answer is that we did some good stuff and we did some bad stuff.




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PLAYBOY: It seems as if you're trying to say to the world, "We were just a good band making some good music," while a lot of the rest of the world is saying, "It wasn't just some good music, it was the best."

LENNON: Well, if it was the best, so what?



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PLAYBOY: So...

LENNON: It can never be again! Everyone always talks about a good thing coming to an end, as if life was over. But I'll be 40 when this interview comes out. Paul is 38. Elton John, Bob Dylan... we're all relatively young people. The game isn't over yet. Everyone talks in terms of the last record or the last Beatle concert... but, God willing, there are another 40 years of productivity to go. I'm not judging whether "I am the Walrus" is better or worse than "Imagine." It is for others to judge. I am doing it. I do. I don't stand back and judge... I do.



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PLAYBOY: You keep saying you don't want to go back ten years, that too much has changed. Don't you ever feel it would be interesting... never mind cosmic, just interesting... to get together, with all your new experiences, and cross your talents?

LENNON: Wouldn't it be interesting to take Elvis back to his Sun Records period? I don't know. But I'm content to listen to his Sun Records. I don't want to dig him up out of the grave. The Beatles don't exist and can never exist again. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey could put on a concert... but it can never be the Beatles singing "Strawberry Fields" or "I Am The Walrus" again, because we are not in our 20s. We cannot be that again, nor can the people who are listening.



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Playboy Interview with John Lennon: Interviewed by David Sheff
Article ©1980 Playboy Press, published January 1981 issue


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Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Thu Dec 09, 2010 1:58 am

Lennon was one of those rare people in the public eye who spoke such refreshing truth and didn't utter a word he didn't believe in. His comments about The Beatles can be directly related to how he viewed Elvis and his infamous comment of Elvis died when he went into the army. Elvis could never be the Elvis of the 50's again. It isn't possible to go back in time. No matter what he did or didn't do from 1960-1977, nothing can compare to his rise to stardom due to the very nature of it. Nothing could be like those incredible years of 1954-6 again. And it is the same with The Beatles. I still believe had John lived, somehwere down the line, all 4 of them would have collaborated again. I'm certain of that. But he is right, it could never be the same again.

That's my two cents worth anyway. Fascinating read though, such an inspirational man. Isn't this one of the most incredible recordings you've ever heard? They say that if ever there was Music that bleeds it was Elvis' outpouring during the sit-down part of his '68 special. But this comes pretty close to music that bleeds don't you think? I'm a fan of real music, and this is as real as it gets:


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Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:15 am

Good god,Lennon made it very clear that The Beatles would never get back together and why but
the interviewer wouldn't let it go.I bet John was getting a bit pissed off at these questions.
Anyway,I gave Plastic Ono Band a listen today too remind me of his great talent,fantastic
album,his best IMO.

norrie

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:15 pm

Had a Lennon night with a good pal - took in a few DVDs, CDs, Sky Arts and a couple of extra cold cans.

Thanks for the interview, Doc.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:08 am

londonflash wrote:Had a Lennon night with a good pal - took in a few DVDs, CDs, Sky Arts and a couple of extra cold cans.

Thanks for the interview, Doc.

Right on!

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:44 pm

Great post Doc! The interview is typical Lennon...his answers are both spot on, to the point, provokative, challanging and very intelligent! Being a journalist interviewing Lennon must have been quite a task I would imagine :D


Sincerely MB280E

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:39 am

MB280E wrote:Great post Doc! The interview is typical Lennon...his answers are both spot on, to the point, provokative, challanging and very intelligent! Being a journalist interviewing Lennon must have been quite a task I would imagine :D

Thank you kindly.

The Playboy interviewer asked a lot of questions I would have, given the chance.

It's hard to discern, but the newspaper article is the legendary London Evening Standard interview from 1966 by Maureen Cleave, the one later exploited by a US teen magazine that summer, which ignited "the Beatles are bigger than Jesus" controversy.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:06 pm

32 years now. Boy, does time fly.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:45 pm

Interesting interview. Thanks for posting it, it was a great read.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:47 pm

I remember hearing about it on the radio as I drove to work the next morning. I had to be in at 4:00. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Things just didn't seem right all day and I never considered myself a Beatles (or Lennon) fan.

Fan or not, it was a tragedy of historic proportions and a tremendous loss to the music world.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:41 am

Thank you both.

A recent book on John Lennon by Ken Sharp (Elvis Vegas '69, Writing For The King) touches on this event, and I plan to post up a topic soon.

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:15 pm

Thanks for the thread, Johnny.
How much of the film Nowhere Boy is non-fiction. And the guy that played Macca looks like a wimp!
Did John really punch Paul? Did they meet George the first time on a bus?

Re: John Lennon: It Was 30 Years Ago Today

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:52 am

As promised, here's the topic about Ken Sharp's wonderful book on Lennon's final sessions:

Ken Sharp --> Starting Over: The Making of Double Fantasy!
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=73900