Interview for the Ivor Novello Awards • Monday, March 20, 1967

Interview of The Beatles
Interview by:
Brian Matthew
Timeline More from year 1967
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Songs mentioned in this interview

Yellow Submarine

Officially appears on Revolver (UK Mono)


Officially appears on Help! (Mono)

Other interviews of The Beatles

One More For The Road

October 2000 • From MOJO

Fantastic voyage

October 1999 • From MOJO

Calm down! It's The Beatles. Their only interview!

December 1995 • From Q Magazine

Andy Gray talks to the Beatles, 1968

Jul 13, 1968 • From New Musical Express

Interview for The Kenny Everett Show

Jun 09, 1968 • From BBC Radio 1

Interview for The Village Voice

May 16, 1968 • From The Village Voice

Interview for WNDT

May 14, 1968 • From WNDT

Interview for The Tonight Show

May 14, 1968 • From NBC

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On this day, March 20, 1967, The Beatles were at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, to record “She’s Leaving Home.” They took a break to tape a speech for the Ivor Novello Awards ceremony, scheduled on March 23, and to record an interview for BBC Radio 1’s “Top Of The Pops.”

That evening, host Brian Matthew came into the studio to interview John and Paul for the BBC program Top of the Pops. It was a welcome diversion from all the hard work we’d been doing, and I was quite surprised when I heard Lennon tell Matthew emphatically that there would be “no more “She Loves You’s” coming from the band and no more touring, ever. Paul and John also pretaped speeches for the upcoming Ivor Novello Awards show because they’d already decided that they wouldn’t be attending in person, despite the fact that, in Britain, it was almost as prestigious as the Grammies.

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

Q: “This (first award) goes to the A-side of the record issued in 1966 which acheived the highest certified British sales in the period the 1st of January to the 31st of December 1966. You may have been wondering whether the Beatles have won anything. They did get one or two awards. This is the first of them, and it goes to ‘Yellow Submarine.’ Best-selling A-side number in Britain last year, for which John and Paul you get this.”

PAUL: “We are truly grateful.”

JOHN: (excitedly) “Great, great.”

PAUL: “That is really wonderful. I see it’s inscribed on the side of it.”

JOHN: “That’s an old one from Brian’s piano.”

PAUL: (laughs) “Well, this is wonderful. And I’d like to thank everybody, on behalf of John, George, Ringo and myself.”

Q: “Yes.”

PAUL: “Thank you.”

Q: “Good. Who was principly reponsible, Paul or John?”

JOHN: “Paul.”

PAUL: “John, really.”

JOHN & PAUL: “No. No.”

Q: “I see.”

JOHN: “Ringo.”

PAUL: “No, it’s the old patty, you know. The old vaudeville. I suppose I thought of the idea and then John and I wrote it. There’s your correct answer, Brian.”

Q: “Yeah. What were you setting out to write? I mean, did you think of a song for Ringo in the first place, or what?”

PAUL: “We just sort of thought, we have to have a song. That it was. Sort of bit of fantasy in it, you know. And the only way to do that would be to have it so kids could understand it, and anyone could take it on any level. Multi-level song.”

Q: “Yeah. I heard a funny sort of story that you used to perform this to your nephews. Is that all wrong?”

PAUL: (jokingly) “That’s all wrong. That was Mozart’s Piano Concerto.”

Q: (mock-seriousness) “Oh, I see.”


Q: “John, earlier before we started recording, you said it was in effect written as two separate songs.”

JOHN: “Yeah. I seem to remember, like, the submarine… the chorus bit, you coming in with it.”

PAUL: “Yeah.”

JOHN: “And wasn’t the other bit something that I had already going, and we put them together?”

PAUL: “Well, yeah. Right. Yeah.”

JOHN: “And it made sense to make it into…”

PAUL: “Yeah, the bit… (sings melody to verse) ‘Dut-ta-da, da-dut-ta-da.'”

JOHN: “With Ringo in mind, again.”

Q: “Yes.”

JOHN: “Always thinking of him, you see, at times like this.”


JOHN: “And that’s what happened.”

Q: “And they, like, gelled.”

PAUL & JOHN: “Yeah.”

Q: “And now on to the most performed work of the year. And this, I should explain, includes live broadcast, television performances, and performances in ballrooms throughout the country. And the winner for 1966 was Michelle. Paul, do you even remember this song?”

PAUL: (sings) “‘Mee-shell, my bell.’ I know the one.”

Q: “Good!! Did you write it or did John?”

PAUL: “Well, you know…”

JOHN: “I think Paul wrote that one. I remember saying, ‘Why don’t you pinch THAT bit from so-and-so’s song’ and he said ‘Right.'”

Q: “What was it pinched FROM?”

JOHN: “Uhhhh, I’m not telling.”

PAUL: “It was pinched from something. Most of them are, Brian.”

Q: (laughs) “Are they!”

PAUL: “But you’ve got to own up eventually. (laughs) No, it’s just a slight pinch, but you never notice, you know.”

Q: “No.”

PAUL: “And, I mean, I couldn’t tell you because the P.R.S. would probably rip me.”


JOHN: “It’s a wonderful award and we’d like to say ‘Bon we.'”

Q: “Oh, because it’s a French song.”

JOHN: “Yeah.”

Q: “The last award to be presented to the Beatles… they have become runners-up to themselves. Give us the inside story on the song ‘Yesterday.'”

JOHN: “Ah well, this is John saying I don’t know anything about that one. I’ll hand you over to Paul.”

PAUL: (laughs) “This is Paul, taking up the story in a slight holiday-villa in Corsica. Stumming away on a medieval guitar, I thought (sings) ‘Scrambled Egg’. But I never could finish it, and eventually I took it back in with the ancient wisdom of the east, John came out with (sings) ‘Yesterday.'”

Q: “Apart from being the runner-up in the ‘most performed’ section, I think that must have been the most recorded number last year… must’ve been about 400 versions of it. You must have heard some of them. Is there any one that you think is a standout performance?”

JOHN: “Uhh, one by a young fellow called Paul McCartney had a sort of plaintive approach.”

PAUL: (laughs)

Q: “A naive charm.”

PAUL: “Yes, uhh… Andy Williams.”

JOHN: “The arrangement of the strings was wrong.”

PAUL: “Yeah.”

JOHN: “That was the trouble with Andy’s version.”

Q: “There was Matthew Monroe.”

JOHN & PAUL: “Yeah.”

PAUL: “That was arranged by a good friend of ours. Charlie Drake.”

Q: “Ahh.”


PAUL: “And he did a very good arrangement. I would like to thank him personally.”

Q: “Yeah, good. So, would you say that probably is your favorite version of them all?”

PAUL: “Uhh, well I think Charlie Drake.”

JOHN: “Yeah, Charlie Drake.”

PAUL: “Charlie Drake and Matt did a fine, fine record on that.”

Last updated on December 31, 2023


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