John Lennon orders sushi…
January 1st, 1976 (Dakota, New York): John tells Elliot Mintz about his Irish inclinations and how he arrived at Sean’s name.
JOHN: The very first name I thought of was Sean. I’ve always liked it; I was always fascinated by the S-e-a-n spelling. Being a little bit of a… Anglo-Irish descent, you know, and so I was always reading about Celts and things like that. It’s an Irish name, and it’s Irish for John. I don’t like “Jr.”s. I know it’s very popular in America, but not in Europe so much.
YOKO: Not anymore, is it, now?
JOHN: It’s still pretty popular to have Somebody Jr., you know, like a replica of yourself, which is—
MINTZ: Or “the Second”.
JOHN: “The Second”, yeah, or “the Third”, which I think is ridiculous ‘cause although one tends to think it’s a little John, because it’s a male, it isn’t! It’s a combination of John and Yoko which produced something completely and entirely separate from us. It is not a little John Lennon or a little Yoko Ono – it’s a Sean. It’s itself, you know. He is himself, he’s not – you know, apart from us giving birth [to him].
JOHN: I called my auntie [Mimi] in England – this is a nice story, might round it up for us. Okay. ‘Cause all my family is English except for my father’s side – pure, straight, English. But on my father’s – my father’s father was Irish, and that’s not too good in England… as you might guess from the news. But I’ve always been a bit interested, the name Lennon is Irish, so that’s, you know - I’m entitled. So I called my auntie who brought me up, who is pure English. I say, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” And she says, “Oh, it’s great! It’s great!” And she’s happy and screaming on the other end of the phone. And I say, “Well, I’ve got one thing to tell you.” “What? What is it?” I say, “Do you want to know what I called him?” “Oh, yes, yes, yes!” I say, “It’s Sean.” She says, “Oh my god, John, don’t brand him!” [laughs] And she kept saying that over and over, and I said, “Don’t worry, he’ll probably be brought up in America, or internationally, and it doesn’t – it’s no harm,” you know. But she couldn’t believe it.
Another piece of Lennon writing, probably from this time [December 1959], is the short story ‘Henry and Harry’, seemingly based on George Harrison’s dilemma. On Christmas morning,unwrapping his gifts at 25 Upton Green, George was dismayed to find a set of screwdrivers and electricians’ tools from his dad. He felt the implication was clear: Harry expected his youngest boy to make electrics his life’s work. Dad had a plan too: George’s big brother Harry was a motor mechanic, his other brother Peter was a panel beater, and, ultimately, George could join them as the electrician in a family-owned motor garage; he himself would be the manager, leaving his job as bus driver after all these years. John was ‘astoundagasted” on behalf of his young pal: to him, all such jobs came into one category, ‘brummer striving’, a phrase he’d cooked up to represent dead-end industrial work or bog-standard labour of any kind. Asked in a TV interview in 1968 to define it, John replied, ‘Brummer striving is… brummer striving - all those jobs that people have that they don’t want. And there’s probably about 90 per cent brummer strivers watching in at the moment.’
'Henry and Harry' encapsulated George's predicament: the school-leaving son at their 'quaint little slum' expected to follow into the father's business.,the dad batting away his son's protests. *Get out!* John was urging his young friend, who little needed the encouragement. *Tell him to f*** off!* George could, but wouldn't, at least not in those words. And it wasn't as if his first experiences as an electrician promised much anyway: given the job of maintaining the lights in Blackler's Christmas grotto, he'd fused them, casting a Scouse Santa and a queue of excited kiddies into darkness. It was something for George and Arthur Kelly to laugh about during Blackler's Christmas dance at the Grafton Ballroom. The finest photograph of these best buddies was taken here, their hair defying all known laws of gravity, two 16-year-old working men wearing smart suits and big natural smiles for the camera before they moved in to check out the birds.
|—||From The Beatles - All These Years: Tune in by Mark Lewisohn (via thateventuality)|
Unlike bands today, The Beatles always took their work very seriously
oh my god. I have never heard this before, it’s hilarious!
John Lennon’s parody of Bob Dylan.
“Sometimes I wish I was just George Harrison, you know, get all the answers. Oh my god. Oh my god”
ohMYGODThis is too accurate
September 28th, 1974: John joins Dennis Elsas’ radio show as a special guest and gamely reports on the weather for the afternoon.
JOHN: Let’s see how hot it is. Temperature is sixty-eight– no wonder I’m sweating. Humidity ninety-three p-c-t, whatever that is.
JOHN: Oh. [Elsas laughs] Why don’t they do those little round things? Barometer thirty point nought three and falling– oh, disgusting. Wind south-east, eight miles an hour, cloudy. Somebody said the wea– the air was unacceptable today, but I accept it. Sounded alright to me.
ELSAS: That’s the, uh, official forecast.
JOHN: Here’s the official WNEW weather forecast. Mostly cloudy, with periods. Of rain, this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow. High times— Oh, no. [laughs] Haha. Wish it was! High this afternoon and tomorrow in the seventies, low tonight in the mid-sixties. Watch out for it. That’s about my period. Monday’s outlook– fair and cool, man.
January 1st, 1976: Elliot Mintz interviews John Lennon about his feelings for The Beatles, now and then, and takes him back to the early days. John is lucid and somber. (Note: The suffixing audio is an unreleased song by John called ‘Memories’, which John worked on in several iterations between 1974 and 1979.)
MINTZ: Before I even ask the first question— Do you still get troubled, and disturbed, or bothered, or bored?
JOHN: [sarcastic] Me? Me, Elliot? Troubled, disturbed, bothered, or bored? Don’t you know that pop stars are above that? That we live in a cloud of happiness, that no one can touch?
MINTZ: [pause] In other words, you do get bored talking about—
MINTZ: Fine. It’s back now to, uh, November of 1963—
JOHN: It is for you. [laughter] For me, it’s April of 1984.
MINTZ: The last time we talked about Beatles and the like, you said–I could almost quote, all your memories of that experience are now good ones, and you’ve erased all the stuff that was, uh, upsetting you, and now the, the thing that you just want to keep in mind is that the music was good. And it’s done. That’s pretty much where we left it, is it?
JOHN: Uh–good, good. That must have been when I was getting positive, yeah. I–I like that. But of course I remember the other stuff too. So I get a bit absolute in my statements. [laughs] Which sometimes get me into deep water, and sometimes into the shallow. But both statements are true, and it suits me fine.
MINTZ: Okay. As we enter 1976 as we are now, when you think back to the days of Beatlemania, these days, are the thoughts good ones for you? Or are they stuff - are they things that you’d rather not think about?
JOHN: No, I don’t have any preference, you know. If Beatle life is brought to my attention, I think about it, or if it drifts into my head… I don’t have any— [pause] I don’t know. I can’t–I can’t answer the question. It depends on which thought, where I am, who brings it up, what angle…
MINTZ: Well, okay, I guess the best angle was at the very very beginning, for you. I just have a feeling that before the whole world got wind of what The Beatles were all about, you were probably writing your best songs, having the best times, enjoying your shows. It’s that era that I’d like to talk about for the beginning. London, Homburg, Liverpool—
JOHN: Hamburg. Homburg is a hat, I think.
MINTZ: [laughs] Yes, sorry. Hamburg. When you think back to those times, just tell me some of the thoughts that go through your mind. The mages that you see when you think of yourself as being a twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two year-old.
JOHN: [long pause; quiet] Um. Definitely weren’t writing the best songs, then. We were just… just learning the trade. But uh, performance was good. We were a good live band, then. I enjoyed that. We worked and played long hours, which was good at that age, when you could get work. And in general, it’s pretty pleasant memories of struggling along, you know, to go–lord knows where. But at the time, it didn’t seem any more fun than now. It was just, you had a job, or you didn’t have a job. Look— Everything, when you look back on it, you realize how good things were. Even though at the time you might have thought, “Well, god, we’ve gotta play six hours a night, all we get is two dollars, and you’ve gotta take these pills to keep awake, man, it’s not right,” you know. But uh, looking back on it, it wasn’t too bad at all. And no doubt looking back on this… well. You know. Everything looks great through the– through the memory.
August, 1980: John declares himself a chameleon.
JOHN: I’m a chameleon. I’m influenced by whatever’s going on, you know. It’s the same as, if Elvis can do it, I can do it. If The Everly Brothers can do it, me and Paul can do it. If Goffin and King can do it, Paul and I can do it. If Buddy Holly can do it, I can do it. So whatever it is, I can do it.
August, 1980: In an interview with Playboy writer David Sheff, John doesn’t take kindly to having his former bandmates’ talents underestimated.
SHEFF: Critics would criticize Ringo’s drumming by saying, you know, “If he wasn’t a Beatle—”
JOHN: Ringo’s a damn good drummer. He was–he was always a good drummer. He’s not technically good—
SHEFF: But critics used to criticize him all the time.
JOHN: Well–yeah. I think Ringo’s drumming is underrating– underrated, the same way as Paul’s bass-playing is underrated. Paul was one of the most innovative bass players that ever played bass. And half the stuff that’s going on now is directly ripped off from his Beatle period. He was always… uh, coy about his bass-playing. He’s an egomaniac about everything else about him, but his bass-playing he was always a bit coy about. He is a great musician who played the bass like few other people could play it.
Now if you compare Paul’s bass-playing with The Rolling Stones’ bass player’s bass-playing, and you compare Ringo’s drumming with Charlie Watts’, they’re equal to, if not better. But the credit has always gone to, uh, Bill and Charlie, and Paul and Ringo didn’t get it. But we got other credits that must have made them feel bad, too, so it all equals out in the end. But I always objected to the fact that because Charlie came on a little more arty than Ringo, and knew jazz, and did cartoons, that he got credit. And I think that Charlie’s a damn good drummer and the other guy’s a good bass player, but I think Paul and Ringo stand up anywhere, any– with any of the rock drummers. Not technically great, and none of us were technical musicians, none of us could read music, none of us can write it, but–but as pure musicians, as–as inspired humans to make the noise, they’re as good as anybody.
August, 1980: John thinks back to the recording of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’ during the tension fueled White Album sessions.
JOHN: [Paul] even recorded that all by himself in the other room, that’s how it was getting in those days. We came in and he’d… he’d made the whole record. Him drumming, him playing the piano, him singing. Just because–it was getting to be where he wanted to do it like that, but he couldn’t–couldn’t–maybe he couldn’t make the break from The Beatles, I don’t know what it was. But you know, I enjoyed the track. But we’re all, I’m sure–I can’t speak for George, but I was always hurt when he’d knock something off without… involving us, you know? But that’s just the way it was then.