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John Lennon and Yoko Ono are interviewed for the BBC’s Scene And Heard

The BBC’s David Wigg interviewed each of The Beatles in 1969 for the radio series Scene And Heard, and on 21 October at the Apple Corps building it was John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s turn.

Ostensibly to promote the ‘Cold Turkey’ single and the Wedding Album, the interview covered a wide range of subjects. Key among them was Lennon and Ono’s peace campaigning. Wigg asked if he would consider standing for office, but Lennon said he was happy with the freedom being a pop star allowed him, compared to the regulations of parliament.

Asked about his recent public request for his share of Apple’s profits to go directly to him, Lennon suggested it wouldn’t lead to a split with The Beatles and claimed it was a “tax business thing”. He went on to suggest that Paul McCartney and George Harrison should record solo albums of their own rather than giving songs away to other performers.

Wigg had previously passed on requests by the organisers of the Isle of Wight festival for The Beatles to play. Lennon said he’d consider performing, but said Dylan’s recent appearance had been a letdown for many in the audience and that he knew The Beatles would be under the same pressure. “They’ll be expecting God to perform,” he said. Ever the conceptual artist, Ono suggested holding an imaginary concert to allow the audience to project their own expectations.

Asked directly about The Beatles’ future, Lennon said: “Whatever happens to The Beatles, so-called, we’ll always be sort of friends, you know. So all I want for The Beatles is their individual happiness. And whether that’s in a collective form or not remains to be seen.”

In the final part of the interview Wigg asked about The Beatles’ latterday long-haired image. Lennon explained that they had always had longer than average hair, and that what was considered exceptional in 1963 was acceptable in 1969. However, he admitted he judged conservative looking people, wondering “Would I let my daughter marry a short-haired man?”

An extract from the interview, lasting a little over five minutes, was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Sunday 26 October. The hour-long edition of Scene And Heard began at 3pm. More from the interview was later released on the LP The Beatles Tapes with David Wigg.

Last updated: 16 December 2011
Mixing: Live Peace In Toronto 1969 by Plastic Ono Band
UK single release: Cold Turkey by Plastic Ono Band
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  1. Chuck Tuesday 1 September 2015

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