Derek Taylor fielded the questions, and in the audience was Linda Eastman. After the conference she once again spoke to McCartney, and wrote her telephone number on an unused cheque and gave it to him.
On this day McCartney was, by his own admission, suffering from a “personal paranoia”, possibly caused by drugs he had taken, so Lennon did most of the talking. At times confrontational and edgy, the conference showed how Lennon and McCartney had become unused to dealing with the press since The Beatles stopped touring.
In May, John and I went to New York to announce that Apple was starting: ‘Send us your huddled talent.’ We wanted a grand launch, but I had a strange feeling and I was very nervous. I had a real personal paranoia. I don’t know if it was what I was smoking at the time, but it was very strange for me.
I remember sitting up there and being interviewed. John was wearing a bus driver’s or a prefect’s badge, and he was doing well. Linda was there taking photos, and afterwards I said, ‘Couldn’t you tell I was nervous?’ but she said it was fine. For some reason I just felt very uneasy about the whole thing; maybe it was because we were out of our depth. We were talking to media like Fortune magazine, and they were interviewing us as a serious economic force – which we weren’t. We hadn’t done the business planning; we were just goofing off and having a lot of fun.
Q: What are your feeling about the Maharishi?
John Lennon: I think the Maharishi was a mistake. His teachings have some truth in them, but I think that we made a mistake.
Q: Do you think that other people who see the Maharishi are making a mistake?
John Lennon: That’s up to them.
Paul McCartney: He’s human, that’s all. We thought that there was more to him than what there was, but he’s human. For a while, we thought he wasn’t, you know.
Q: Do you have any new philosophical leaders?
Paul McCartney: No.
John Lennon: Me!
Q: What was there about the screenplay for the Yellow Submarine that made you favor it over the screenplays you rejected?
John Lennon: We never saw it. But the drawings are nice.
Q: Will you be making any more public appearances?
John Lennon: I don’t know.
Paul McCartney: We may be.
Q: Why are you here today?
John Lennon: To do this.
Q: What is ‘this’?
John Lennon: What’s it look like? Well, you know, what are you doing here?
Q: What is this Apple Corps that you’ve initiated?
John Lennon: It’s a business concerning records, films, electronics, and – as a sideline – manufacturing, or whatever it’s called. We just want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about anything don’t have to go on their knees in somebody’s office – probably yours!
Q: Could you be a little more specific…
John Lennon: No.
Q: …about the profits of Apple Corps and where they will go? And where did you get the name?
John Lennon: Well, it’s just – what can you call it? – Apple. It’s to do what I said, you know, in a business-like way, but business and pleasure might be feasible.
Q: This is your first trip to New York in four years. Would you say that your popularity is waning somewhat?
John Lennon: We don’t really think about it in those terms.
Q: Do you plan to come back as a group?
John Lennon: We don’t plan. We just came suddenly. We look after our own affairs and we don’t plan. Now, we haven’t a manager, and there’s no planning at all.
Paul McCartney: This is chaos.
Q: Did you find the same kind of hysteria there to greet you when you came into New York this time as was there on previous occasions?
John Lennon: Well, I saw something going on at the airport. You could see as well as me that I was being hustled along there. It feels the same whether it was five kids or five thousand. The same atmosphere is there.
Q: John, it said in the press release that you plan to make a film of A Spaniard In The Works.
John Lennon: Yeah. That’s a rough book to read at times. It depends on how you feel.
Q: How do you plan the film?
John Lennon: Yeah, well, I really can’t explain it. I’ll just have to make the film out of the two books. How I’ll do it, I don’t know, but I’ll do it. I can’t really say how I’m going to do it. I haven’t got it on paper, you know.
Q: Mr Lennon, there seems to be a ferment going on among students in Germany, France, and the United States, but not in England.
John Lennon: Yes, there’s something going on, but we’re just a bit more tweedy there.
Paul McCartney: It’s going on, but they just do it in an English way, whatever that is.
Q: Do you have any idea why that is?
John Lennon: No, but there’s some clue they’re giving us. I’m not sure. Something’s going on, but ‘I don’t know what it is, Mr Jones,’ ditto.
Q: Why haven’t the Beatles been more political?
John Lennon: Do you mean, Why haven’t we joined one of the clubs?
John Lennon: Well, a lot of this has been talked about before. If there is anything in particular, just ask.
Q: Well, what about the war in Vietnam?
John Lennon: We came out against it years ago. Where have you been?
Paul McCartney: In Vietnam?
Also on this day...
- 2016: Beatles press officer Tony Barrow dies
- 2010: John Lennon statue to be unveiled in Liverpool
- 2009: Beatles Trivial Pursuit on sale in August
- 1984: US single release: Borrowed Time by John Lennon
- 1963: Live: Rink Ballroom, Sunderland
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
- 1960: Live: Lathom Hall, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.