John Lennon argues with Al Capp in Montreal

Hours before the recording of Give Peace A Chance at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada, John Lennon and Yoko Ono clashed with satirical cartoonist Al Capp.

If you watch some of the great footage in Imagine you see the cartoonist Al Capp. He comes into the bed-in and he's really bitter. He's a wicked old git, but John's brilliant with him. John really wants to deck him but you can see he controls himself. I think John behaved very well there, because the guy is actually slagging off Yoko – and that's one thing you don't do. You don't slag off someone's missus – that's tribal time, isn't it? I think John was very good. It was: 'Let's not sink to his level.'
Paul McCartney

The exchange later appeared in the documentary film Imagine. Capp introduced himself with the words "I'm a dreadful Neanderthal fascist. How do you do?", and later sarcastically congratulated Lennon and Ono on their Two Virgins album cover.

I think that everybody owes it to the world to prove they have pubic hair. You've done it, and I tell you that I applaud you for it.
Al Capp

Lennon referred to the incident in The Ballad Of John And Yoko, his account of his early years with Ono, written in 1978 and published posthumously in the Skywriting By Word Of Mouth collection.

Many big egos came to see us there: Al Crapp, Dick Gregory, Tim Leary and Rosemary, Tommy Smothers (all except Crapp sang on Give Peace A Chance).
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5 responses on “John Lennon argues with Al Capp in Montreal

  1. Joseph Brush

    I remember Al Capp.
    One day he drew the Beatles in his comic strip wearing colonial uniforms crossing the Delaware like George Washington and the Revolutionary army.
    He got into trouble with an adultery charge brought forth by a University or College student and he subsequently pleaded no contest.
    What a shame Al Capp turned into a reactionary in those last few years but there was severe public consequences to his adultery scandal.
    After enduring his sermonizing attitude the public turned against him because of the scandal and he had to fold his column.
    I was so saddened by his fall from grace as his column and wit was remarkable for years prior to his decline.

  2. Walter Esford

    There is NO bigger John Lennon fan than myself. Why were the Beatles the best band of all time. A not particularly talented guitarist,who by sheer hard work transformed himself into an excellent session man/sideman? A barely adequate drummer? A hugely talented songwriter who wrote nostly sugary ballads? All these elements were present in many of the 60’s bands. So what was the gamebreaker. Why John’s razor edged wit, personality, and groundbreaking musical output. Now, having said that, as time went on John morphed from a likable rogue into a pretentions and hypocritical asshole. It was rich when Apple was formed and he pompously informed the press that it was for people who just wanted to do something artistic, and Apple meant they “wouldn’t have to go on their knees in someones office”. Within a few years, the tune had changed somewhat, as he cried “Apple can’t go on, if it continues like this, we’ll be broke in 6 months”. A little dose of reality is a wonderful alarm clock. And respect for people…, ask Julian, Cynthia, May Pang and any number of others living and dead. His embrace of the “love mantra” seemed particulary sterile, a continuation of the Victorian charity impulse, which was a sort of disdainful, hands off approach, characterized more by a great deal of moral pronouncements and a minimum of concrete help. Capp was that stock American figure, the individual who finally made it and now wants to pull the ladder up behind him, but much as I abhor his philosophy, I can understand his contempt for what can only be called self indulgent showboating.

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