The reporters were from publications including Melody Maker, Disc And Music Echo, Rave and The Times newspaper. The interviews took place at the Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, London.
Lennon spoke about various subjects, including his desire for privacy, although he acknowledged that he could become “a bald, shaved man in the middle of India” if he wished. He revealed that his only real friends were The Beatles, employees including Neil Aspinall, Derek Taylor and Peter Brown, and members of Ono’s art circles.
The Beatles had many hangers-on over the years, he said, although they disappear after a while. Lennon said he was “a sucker for people” and had always been susceptible to charmers.
On the subject of music, he said he had played with other musicians, but felt session players tended to not be on his wavelength. “If I wanted to make a record, I’d choose The Beatles,” he said. This was bizarre given that this was the very day he decided to leave the group.
Discussions on peace, religion and positive change followed, before talk turned to the film Self-Portrait, which had had its premiere two days earlier. The film was a 15-minute study of Lennon’s penis becoming erect.
Lennon explained his disdain for other avant-garde film makers, comparing them to jazz purists who disliked the Quarrymen in the Cavern Club era. He spoke of wanting to “let two hundred intellectuals sit there and watch a prick for three days.” He and Ono were both dismissive of Andy Warhol’s filmic efforts.
In a somewhat audacious declaration, Lennon claimed that his Smile film was “a million years ahead of” Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Talk then turned to money, with Lennon calling The Beatles’ alleged fortune “a myth”. He said Apple treated him and Ono as second class citizens, said he hadn’t had a paycheck in two to three years since all The Beatles’ joint income went into Apple.
Also on this day...
- 2017: Paul McCartney live: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
- 2013: The Beatles: On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 is announced
- 2005: UK album release: Chaos And Creation In The Backyard by Paul McCartney
- 1969: John Lennon decides to leave The Beatles
- 1968: Recording: Glass Onion
- 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1964: Live: Boston Garden, Boston
- 1963: Recording: Messages to Australia, Hold Me Tight, Don’t Bother Me, Little Child, I Wanna Be Your Man
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
- 1959: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.