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Will you still need me when I'm sixty-five?
December 5, 2005 8:27 PM   Subscribe

John Lennon: The Wenner Tapes. A BBC program centered around never-before-aired audio of Jann Wenner's benchmark 1970 Rolling Stone interview with John Lennon, available online for the first time at the BBC. (Text excerpts from the same interview.)
posted by BackwardsCity (19 comments total)

 
Hearing him harsh on Mick Jagger is by itself worth the price of admission.
posted by BackwardsCity at 8:30 PM on December 5, 2005


For music geeks like me, this is a real treat. Thanks!!
posted by wheelieman at 9:20 PM on December 5, 2005


You're going back to London. What's a rough picture of your immediate future, say, the next three months?

I'd like to just vanish just a bit. It wore me out, New York. I love it. I'm just sort of fascinated by it, like a fucking monster.

Do you have a rough picture of the next few years?

Oh no, I couldn't think of the next few years; it's abysmal thinking of how many years there are to go, millions of them. I just play it by the week. I don't think much ahead of a week.

posted by Chuckles at 9:49 PM on December 5, 2005


Hearing him harsh on Mick Jagger is by itself worth the price of admission.

Hearing him say of Mick, "now he's in his old age" in 1971 is pretty hilarious. I can't even imagine his reaction if someone were to tell him that Mick would still be doing exactly the same thing almost 35 years later.

But then so's Paul, more or less, or trying to. And I doubt that would surprise John at all.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:52 PM on December 5, 2005


Oh man. This is really enjoyable. Thanks.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:53 PM on December 5, 2005


He sounds like an angry, bitter old man.

And how convenient that every year some music magazine unearths some "lost" interview right around the anniversary of his death.
posted by apple scruff at 10:06 PM on December 5, 2005


John: ... Big bastards that's what the Beatles were. You have to be a bastard to make it, and that's a fact. The Beatles were the biggest bastards on Earth.

Yoko: How did you manage to keep that clean image?

John: Because everybody wants the image to carry on. The press around with you want to carry on because they want the free drinks and the free hoors and the fun. Everybody wants to keep on the bandwagon. We were the Caesar, shoomp. Nobodies gonna knock us when there's a million pounds to be made. All the handouts, the bribery, the ----, the hype, you know. Everybody wanted in, you know, that's why some of them are still trying to cling on to this. "Don't - don't take it away from us", you know. "Don't take Rome from us, not a portable Rome. Where we can all have our houses and our cars and our lovers and our wives and office girls and parties and drink and drugs. Don't take it from us", you know. "Otherwise you're mad, John, you're crazy. Silly John wants to take all this away."

You know, other people, all those - Dick James and the Derrick Tailors and all of them, they think they're the Beatles and Neil and all of them. Well, I say fuck'em. And you know they all, after working with genius for ten fifteen years begin to think they're it, you know. So, they're not!


Have a cigar John...
posted by Chuckles at 10:31 PM on December 5, 2005


ah, the days when Rolling Stone wasn't a complete joke...

Though maybe the popular culture wasn't as complete a joke then, either.
posted by xmutex at 10:34 PM on December 5, 2005


You know, George Harrison pointed out - in the Beatles Anthology, I believe - that while the fans gave their money and time and devotion, the Beatles gave their central nervous systems. It was an ENORMOUS amount of work they accomplished in an unimaginably compressed amount of time. Sooner or later, the other shoe was bound to drop, and Jann Wenner just happened to be there, with a tape recorder.

When John Lennon was interviewed 10 years later, in December of 1980, for Playboy magazine, he was decidedly more mellow. I wish we had been able to hear his reflections on all of this in 1990...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:01 PM on December 5, 2005


Here's the playboy interview.
posted by Chuckles at 11:34 PM on December 5, 2005


PLAYBOY: When you talk about working together on a single lyric like "We Can Work It Out," it suggests that you and Paul worked a lot more closely than you've admitted in the past. Haven't you said that you wrote most of your songs separately, despite putting both of your names on them?

LENNON: Yeah, I was lying. [Laughs] It was when I felt resentful, so I felt that we did everything apart. But, actually, a lot of the songs we did eyeball to eyeball.
posted by adzm at 12:10 AM on December 6, 2005


I thought the dude was dead. Isn't he dead yet? Drug overdose or something, I'm sure. Shot up, and it killed him.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:12 AM on December 6, 2005


You're think of Elvis.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:10 AM on December 6, 2005


This is great, thanks. I've always liked the angry-ish, a bit insecure, reluctant rock-star version of John.
posted by skallas at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2005


Wenner was 24 and Lennon was 30 when they did the interview.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:21 AM on December 6, 2005


More justified and hilarious Stones bashing:
You know, they're congratulating the Stones on being together 112 years. Whoooopee! At least Charlie and Bill still got their families. In the Eighties, they'll be asking, "Why are those guys still together? Can't they hack it on their own? Why do they have to be surrounded by a gang? Is the little leader scared somebody's gonna knife him in the back?" That's gonna be the question. That's-a-gonna be the question! They're gonna look back at the Beatles and the Stones and all those guys are relics. The days when those bands were just all men will be on the newsreels, you know. They will be showing pictures of the guy with lipstick wriggling his ass and the four guys with the evil black make-up on their eyes trying to look raunchy. That's gonna be the joke in the future, not a couple singing together or living and working together. It's all right when you're 16, 17, 18 to have male companions and idols, OK? It's tribal and it's gang and it's fine. But when it continues and you're still doing it when you're 40, that means you're still 16 in the head.
posted by skallas at 12:02 PM on December 6, 2005


Thanks for the post. I'm a huge Beatles fan so this is a treat. I recorded it and turned it into a podcast so that I can listen to it on my way home.

The new biography by Bob Spitz, The Beatles, is on my Christmas wish list.
posted by lunarboy at 5:44 PM on December 6, 2005


Letterman told a funny years ago while the Stones were on one of their mega-tours They attended a dinner at the White House with Clinton I'm thinking. Dave said something to the effect that the Stones were excited to be visiting the White House again since the last time they were there was during the Truman administration. Har!
posted by wsg at 10:10 PM on December 6, 2005


lunarboy: I'm reading that book now. The early years are good. After Brian Epstein dies Spitz hates everybody.
posted by ?! at 4:43 PM on December 8, 2005


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