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The Smith Tapes
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9 July 2013
Forum Posts: 4737
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31 March 2008
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There's an interesting article about a recent release, The Smith Tapes, on the Mojo site.

JOHN LENNON WAS constantly bugged by fans congratulating him for writing The Beatles' Yesterday, a song he had nothing to do with.

"Yesterday drove him crazy," veteran New York journo/broadcaster Howard Smith told MOJO. "People would say, 'Thank you for writing Yesterday, I got married to it, what a beautiful song...' He was always civil. But it drove him nuts."

Smith's intimacy with the Lennons began in 1969, when he first interviewed the couple for the ABC-syndicated radio show he hosted in New York. He was to conduct a number of major interviews between 1969 and 1972. All have been retrieved, collected and made available to buy on CD or download from iTunes and Amazon as The Smith Tapes.

"Once we were in a Mexican restaurant, in a back room," Smith recalled. "We'd just been to see the musical Lenny, about Lenny Bruce. In the main room John spotted this strolling guitar player, which used to be standard in Mexican restaurants. He turned to me and said, "Howard, in five minutes that guitar player is gonna come in, stand next to me and play Yesterday. And sure enough, it wasn't even three minutes. We had hardly settled down, and the guy came in and played Yesterday, a ridiculous over-the-top version. And I said, 'John, that really does happen to you everywhere...' And he said: 'Everywhere.'

And Smith was also in attendance when Lennon first unveiled his rejoinder to McCartney's whistle-test classic.

"John came over to my loft one day and he was all excited," Smith recalls. "He said, 'I think I finally wrote a song with as good a melody as Yesterday."

Sat at Smith's piano, Lennon revealed he had a title – Imagine – but only a smattering of lyrics. For the rest he sang 'scrambled eggs'.

"He played it through and asked me what I thought. 'It's beautiful.' 'But is it as good as Yesterday?' 'They're impossible to compare.' So he played it again. And again. And he said, 'You'll see, it's just as good as Yesterday.'"

I'd not heard of The Smith Tapes before. There's a website here, but it's not all that informative. But the interview mp3s are a bit of a bargain on Amazon (here are the direct .com and links) - lengthy interviews for $.99/89p each. (You can buy them on CD through the official site's store as well, as well as interviews with many other non-Beatles musicians.)

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

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9 July 2013
Apple rooftop
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Oh, these are the Lennon/Harrison tapes I posted about in the news thread a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for elaborating, Joe.


Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

9 July 2013
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Member Since:
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Sorry! I missed the earlier post.

I'd heard Lennon complain about being told by fans how much they loved Yesterday, but it was funny to read an account of it actually happening. In the 1980 Playboy interview he said this:

I'm always proud and pleased when people do my songs. It gives me pleasure that they even attempt them, because a lot of my songs aren't that doable. I go to restaurants and the groups always play "Yesterday." I even signed a guy's violin in Spain after he played us "Yesterday." He couldn't understand that I didn't write the song. But I guess he couldn't have gone from table to table playing "I Am The Walrus."

As for the interviews, one thing I liked was that you can buy interviews lasting over an hour for less than a $/£. They could have broken them up into multiple parts with each one sold for that price. I paid £7 for the collection, but it's even cheaper in the US ($7.92, about £5.30) for over seven hours of audio. Bargain.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

9 July 2013
Royal Command Performance
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9 July 2013
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So, did John ever realize that Imagine was at least equal to if not far superior to Yesterday? John never truly got it that he was as talented as he was.

"And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

9 July 2013
Expert Textpert
In bed.
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18 April 2013
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Thanks, Joe, I'll be buying this tonight!

"Remember, we are writing in the sky instead of on paper--that's our song. Lift your eyes and look up in the sky. There's our message. Lift your eyes again and look around you, and you will see that you are walking in the sky, which extends to the ground. We are all part of the sky, more so than of the ground. Remember, we love you." --John Lennon and Yoko Ono

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