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Thursday, December 29, 1966

Interview for Reporting '66

Interview for Reporting '66

TV interview • Interview of The Beatles

Last updated on November 5, 2023


Details

  • Recorded: Dec 20, 1966
  • Published: Dec 29, 1966
  • Show: Reporting '66
  • Published by: ITN
  • Interview by: John Edwards

Location

  • Interview location: EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London, UK

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This interview remains the property of the respective copyright owner, and no implication of ownership by us is intended or should be inferred. Any copyright owner who wants something removed should contact us and we will do so immediately.


ITN created a documentary about the rumours of the Beatles breaking up. The documentary mainly consists of archival material and interviews with people associated with the band. Near the end of the documentary, each of the four Beatles gave brief and exclusive interviews. These interviews were recorded on December 20, 1966, as they arrived at Abbey Road Studios for a recording session.


From “That Magic Feeling: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970” by John C. Winn:

While it’s now common for top groups to go several years between new albums, in 1966 a lapse of even a few months without releasing new material was cause for concern. With no product out for Christmas, solo projects in the works, and no indication of future tours, speculation was prevalent that the Beatles might be finished.

ITV News [sic ITN] put together a remarkably incoherent package on the topic for Reporting ’66, stringing together archival footage of the group, sprinkled with comments from people such as Richard Lester, but with no narration or editorial point of view. The payoff comes at the end of the show with exclusive interviews of each Beatle, conducted by John Edwards on the front steps of EMI Abbey Road Studios as the group arrived for a 7 p.m. session.

First to arrive is John, carrying an armload of LPs. He says that while they may focus on individual efforts in 1967, they all get along fine and will continue working as a group. He reveals that he wouldn’t have accepted the role in How I Won the War had the other Beatles been unhappy about it, but that none of them are really interested in film careers. Although he thinks tours are no longer in the cards, John says he and Paul will continue writing songs “forever.”

As darkness falls, Paul shows up with Mal Evans and goes into greater detail about why concerts have become so frustrating. Not only has their live performance ability sunk to an all-time low, but they realize nobody is really listening anyway. George arrives in a fur coat and rushes up the steps, uninterested in answering any questions about a Beatles split, apart from a fleeting “no.”

Ringo is the last to arrive, accompanied by Neil Aspinall, and chats the longest. He explains that they don’t want to simply repeat past successes, and that if they can’t find a decent script for the next Beatles film, they may pursue separate projects until they have a reason to work together again. Since John and Paul write songs during their time off and George studies the sitar, Ringo contemplates making a film on his own. He denies several times that he is bored or fed up with being a Beatle, and after wishing the viewers a Merry Christmas, signs a few autographs for waiting fans before joining his mates in the studio.

From “That Magic Feeling: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970” by John C. Winn

Paul, good evening, can I just have a brief word with you?

Yeah.

If you never tour again, would it worry you?

I don’t know…. No, I don’t think so.

It wouldn’t worry you?

Because the only thing about that, you see, is that performance for us… See, it’s gone downhill, performance, because we can’t develop when no one can hear us, you know what I mean. So, for us, to perform, it gets difficult each time…

You mean they don’t listen to you and therefore you don’t want to do that?

Oh yeah we want to do it but, if we’re not listened to, and we can’t even hear ourselves, and we can’t improve in that, we can’t get any better. So we’re trying to get better with things like recording.



Going further

If we modestly consider the Paul McCartney Project to be the premier online resource for all things Paul McCartney, it is undeniable that The Beatles Bible stands as the definitive online site dedicated to the Beatles. While there is some overlap in content between the two sites, they differ significantly in their approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible

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