Television: John Lennon and Yoko Ono on Frost On Saturday

Frost: What vibration? What do you mean by vibration?

Ono: A message, just smiling is a nicer message than scorning or something.

Lennon: A vibration is, if somebody happy, if we’re sitting in your house or something, and we’re feeling depressed, and somebody who doesn’t feel depressed can come in and cheer us up, just by his vibration – or, his attitude…

Ono: Presence!

Lennon: Whatever. His presence…

Ono: Aura!

Lennon: If you say words, something happens, it just doesn’t drop onto the floor or something, it’s like radio waves, whatever I’m saying now – goes on, ad infinitum, wherever it goes because it’s a wave form or a pattern, you know – it sets up a vibration. So everything you do or think, does this too! It doesn’t just end here, it’s like throwing a stone into water. Something happens, and every time you speak, the vibration you set up with your voice, goes on, till it wears out or whatever, and if you make a sound. If you hit a gong and listen to it, it goes [makes sound of a gong] but it doesn’t end when you can’t hear it anymore, it carries on, a vibration is something that we could have between us. There’s vibrations in here.

Frost: Can you get a vibration from these 200 people here?

Lennon: Well there is one, there is a vibration now. It’s not… you’d have to be super sensitive to read the whole thing, I suppose, but you can tell it’s not aggressive vibration, It’s not over…

Ono: …antagonistic or anything.

Lennon: …antagonistic, it’s interested but still, er, we’re still a bit freaky ’cause it’s us two on TV, so there’s that vibration, but there’s a calm vibration here, and a hot one. But, you know, it’s sort of – there is a vibration, there’s an atmosphere, and vibration is just a word that you think ‘Arghhh, hippies!’, you know, ‘That’s what they talk about’, but vibration is just vibration.

Frost: And you mean in fact, that as they’re interested and a bit puzzled, you’re saying, our 200 here, but I mean, the vibration would change as you convinced them.

Ono: Not only that, but if they participate, in other words – as long as you participate in a thing – you start to experience it for yourself.

Frost: Well let’s get them to participate because you’ve got a piece of wood here, now tell us about the piece of wood and the nails.

Lennon: Well you tell them about it and I’ll hang it up.

Ono: Well it’s a painting called Hammer A Nail In, and I just hate the idea of painters just making painting with colour balance and the right texture etcetera etcetera. But this is just a painting that people come and hammer a nail in, wherever they want to. And that makes the shape of the painting.

Frost: I see, and what do we want the people to feel as they do it?

Ono: Well, they just have to find out for themselves, as an experience, and I think basically the artists roll in society is extremely important in the sense that, well, now people are talking about revolution and things like that, basically I don’t believe in revolution, because they say, ‘Well revolution – if nothing happens, then we have to use violence too,’ and all that, and the thing is – if we just go on making all these rituals and folk art and participating in that, instead of…

Frost: Violence.

Ono: Instead of Violence, Yes.

Frost: What you mean is, let them, as it were, bang a nail in rather than blow up a city or…

Ono: Let me say that it’s so theraputical, whatever, it doesn’t matter.

Frost: John, would you like to get someone from the audience?

Lennon: Right, anybody like to come along? OK, oh hi – I know you.

Frost: And can we have someone else as well? To try this?

Lennon: The thing is, if you gave it to a child, what would he do? He’d just do it, you don’t have to go through the ritual of saying this is a painting, this is a hammer, this is a nail. Would the first contestant like to hammer a nail?

[Audience member hammers a nail into the board]

Frost: What feeling did you get as you were doing that?

Man: What feeling? A feeling of satisfaction.

Lennon: That’s it then.

Frost: You’re a successful example, right you move over there.

Lennon: Roll up, roll up, hammer a nail in, everyone a winner.

[Second man hammers nail in]

Frost: Now what feeling did you get out of that?

Man: It was unbelievable. It really was.

Frost: I think this audience has been loaded tonight. Was it?

Man: Absolutely, I can’t explain it really.

Frost: But you just hammered in a nail! That’s all you did.

Man: Well that was it. It’s just hammering a nail.

[Lennon hammers nail in]

Frost: Is it good?

Lennon: Yes it is, try it.

Frost: All right, thank you very much.

Lennon: Now from Alabama, Mr D Frost is gonna blow one.

Last updated: 23 August 2016
Recording, mixing: Back In The USSR
US single release: Hey Jude
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Leave a Reply