- Timeline More from year 1968
More from year 1968
Other interviews of The Beatles
October 2000 • From MOJO
October 1999 • From MOJO
“The Beatles Anthology 1” press conference
Nov 20, 1995
Calm down! 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
Interview for The Village Voice
May 16, 1968 • From The Village Voice
Interview for The Tonight Show
May 14, 1968 • From NBC
May 14, 1968 • From WNDT
May 13, 1968
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From May 11 to May 15, 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney travelled to New York, to promote their newly-formed company, Apple Corps. On May 14, they held a press conference at 1:30pm on the 14th at New York’s Americana Hotel.
Two transcripts for this Press Conference have been found – containing some similarities but also some differences. As we haven’t found a complete video of the interview, we give the two different transcripts below.
We really want to help people, but without doing it like a charity or seeming like ordinary patrons of the arts. We’re in the happy position of not really needing any more money. So for the first time, the bosses aren’t in it for profit. If you come and see me and say ‘I’ve had such and such a dream,’ I’ll say ‘Here’s so much money. Go away and do it.’ We’ve already bought all our dreams. So now we want to share that possibility with others.Paul McCartney – about Apple Corps
Q: Why are you here today?
JOHN: To do THIS. (laughter)
Q: Will they get a hearing?
Q: What is this?
JOHN: What’s it look like? (laughter)
Q: Looks like a circus.
JOHN: Well, you know, what are YOU doing here? (laughter)
Q: What is Apple, John?
JOHN: It’s a business concerning records, films, and electronics. And as a sideline, whatever it’s called… manufacturing, or whatever. But we want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about (pause) anything, don’t have to go on their knees in somebody’s office. Probably yours.
PAUL: We really want to help people, but without doing it like a charity or seeming like ordinary patrons of the arts. We’re in the happy position of not really needing any more money. So for the first time, the bosses aren’t in it for profit. If you come and see me and say ‘I’ve had such and such a dream,’ I’ll say ‘Here’s so much money. Go away and do it.’ We’ve already bought all our dreams. So now we want to share that possibility with others.
JOHN: The aim of this company isn’t really a stack of gold teeth in the bank. We’ve DONE that bit. It’s more of a trick to see if we can actually get artistic freedom within a business structure.
Q: If a youngster has a group, or their group thinks that they’ve got something going, what’s the best way you’d recommend for them to get in touch with you to let you hear their stuff?
PAUL: Just get the address and send it, you know. That’s it. Just send the stuff to Apple at Baker Street in London.
Q: Will they get a hearing?
Q: That’s great.
PAUL: They get a reply too.
Q: John, it said in the (press) release that you are planning to make a film of ‘Spaniard In The Works.
Q: I enjoy it, but I’m curious… Have you any ideas on how you plan to film it?
JOHN: Well yes, but not that I can explain, really. I’ve just gotta… make a film of the two books. (giggles) And how I do it, I don’t know. But I’ll do it. I can’t really say how I’m gonna do it. I haven’t got it on paper, you know.
Q: Are the Beatles making another movie?
JOHN: Well yes, but not that I can explain, really. I’ve just gotta… make a film of the two books. (giggles) Well it’s in… We don’t know when we’re gonna make it, but it’ll be, sort of, early next year.
Q: Would you say that Magical Mystery Tour is a better or worse album than Sgt. Peppers?
JOHN: It’s not an album, you see. It turned into an album over here, but it was just the music from the film.
Q: Has anybody bought the film here?
JOHN: I haven’t a clue, you know. We don’t care.
Q: What do you think of the critical reception of the film Magical Mystery Tour?
JOHN: Well I mean, it doesn’t matter. It does, but it doesn’t really matter, you know. It’s why it’s not on now is what matters. That’s why people aren’t seeing it.
PAUL: They were just disappointed, you know.
Q: Did they have any valid points? Were they valid?
JOHN: I didn’t see any valid points. They thought we were stepping out of our roles, you know. They like us to keep in the cardboard suits they designed for us. (laughter)
Q: What roles do they want you to stay in?
JOHN: Whatever they have. Whatever image they have for themselves, they’re disappointed if we don’t fulfill that. And we never do, so there’s always a lot of disappointment.
Q: Are there any plans for showing Magical Mystery Tour in America?
JOHN: Yeah. We’ll put it on in the streets with a screen and a projector. (laughter)
DEREK TAYLOR: Will they be doing a television special soon?
JOHN: I don’t know.
PAUL: Maybe. Quite possibly, Derek. (laughter)
JOHN: But we’re gonna do an LP, so we don’t know what happens until we’ve done that.
Q: Do you ever think you might tour, or do a movie or special here in the United States?
JOHN: It’s quite possible. Why not, except for we live there, you know.
Q: Well, you could visit.
JOHN: Yeah, sure. (giggles) But is it worth the journey, you know.
Q: Do you plan on opening an Apple clothing store in the United States as a chain?
JOHN: No plans that I know of.
Q: Do you consider yourselves as trendsetters for the younger generation in the things that you do, or do they just sort of happen?
PAUL: We follow trends ourselves. I think everyone does. I can never find out who STARTS the trends. It’s someone else altogether.
Q: You certainly have reinforced some trends that you have picked up, whether you’ve started them or not.
PAUL: Yeah. That’s what we do. That’s what happens. They get reinforced, but they’re there already.
Q: What was your basic meaning of ‘I Am The Walrus’?
JOHN: It just means I am the walrus… or I WAS when I said that, you know. (laughter)
Q: You mentioned that you are working on a new album. Do you feel that albums in general should be complete presentations all the time, or could they be groups of songs?
PAUL: They’re always just what happens at the time, you know, but they could be anything. It could just be one long song, a million little ones… you know, it’s just how it turns out. It’s normally about fourteen medium songs.
Q: Have you heard any of Jimi Hendrix’ albums?
PAUL: He’s great.
Q: Have you seen him work live?
PAUL: Yeah. He’s too much, you know.
Q: Why do the Beatles meditate?
JOHN: Because it seems to be nice, like cleaning your teeth, you know. It does have some sort of end product. I think Maharishi was a mistake, but the teachings have got some truth in them.
Q: What do you mean he was a mistake?
JOHN: We made a mistake.
Q: Do you think other people are making a mistake to go see him now?
JOHN: That’s up to them.
Q: (asks question away from microphone)
JOHN: We’re human. (laughter)
JOHN: And that’s all, you know.
PAUL: We thought there’s more to him than there was, you know, but he’s human. And for a while we thought he wasn’t. We thought he was, uhh…
Q: Do you have any other new philosophical leaders?
JOHN: (jokingly) Me.
Q: Do George and Ringo feel the same way about the Maharishi as both of you?
JOHN: Yes, yeah. We tend to go in and out together. I mean, with a few spaces. So, yeah.
Q: Are the Beatles still meditating?
PAUL & JOHN: Yeah.
JOHN: Now and then.
PAUL: (giggles) At this moment. (laughter)
Q: What are your feeling about the Maharishi?
John Lennon: I think the Maharishi was a mistake. His teachings have some truth in them, but I think that we made a mistake.
Q: Do you think that other people who see the Maharishi are making a mistake?
John Lennon: That’s up to them.
Paul McCartney: He’s human, that’s all. We thought that there was more to him than what there was, but he’s human. For a while, we thought he wasn’t, you know.
Q: Do you have any new philosophical leaders?
Paul McCartney: No.
John Lennon: Me!
Q: What was there about the screenplay for the Yellow Submarine that made you favor it over the screenplays you rejected?
John Lennon: We never saw it. But the drawings are nice.
Q: Will you be making any more public appearances?
John Lennon: I don’t know.
Paul McCartney: We may be.
Q: Why are you here today?
John Lennon: To do this.
Q: What is ‘this’?
John Lennon: What’s it look like? Well, you know, what are you doing here?
Q: What is this Apple Corps that you’ve initiated?
John Lennon: It’s a business concerning records, films, electronics, and – as a sideline – manufacturing, or whatever it’s called. We just want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about anything don’t have to go on their knees in somebody’s office – probably yours!
Q: Could you be a little more specific…
John Lennon: No.
Q: …about the profits of Apple Corps and where they will go? And where did you get the name?
John Lennon: Well, it’s just – what can you call it? – Apple. It’s to do what I said, you know, in a business-like way, but business and pleasure might be feasible.
Q: This is your first trip to New York in four years. Would you say that your popularity is waning somewhat?
John Lennon: We don’t really think about it in those terms.
Q: Do you plan to come back as a group?
John Lennon: We don’t plan. We just came suddenly. We look after our own affairs and we don’t plan. Now, we haven’t a manager, and there’s no planning at all.
Paul McCartney: This is chaos.
Q: Did you find the same kind of hysteria there to greet you when you came into New York this time as was there on previous occasions?
John Lennon: Well, I saw something going on at the airport. You could see as well as me that I was being hustled along there. It feels the same whether it was five kids or five thousand. The same atmosphere is there.
Q: John, it said in the press release that you plan to make a film of A Spaniard In The Works.
John Lennon: Yeah. That’s a rough book to read at times. It depends on how you feel.
Q: How do you plan the film?
John Lennon: Yeah, well, I really can’t explain it. I’ll just have to make the film out of the two books. How I’ll do it, I don’t know, but I’ll do it. I can’t really say how I’m going to do it. I haven’t got it on paper, you know.
Q: Mr Lennon, there seems to be a ferment going on among students in Germany, France, and the United States, but not in England.
John Lennon: Yes, there’s something going on, but we’re just a bit more tweedy there.
Paul McCartney: It’s going on, but they just do it in an English way, whatever that is.
Q: Do you have any idea why that is?
John Lennon: No, but there’s some clue they’re giving us. I’m not sure. Something’s going on, but ‘I don’t know what it is, Mr Jones,’ ditto.
Q: Why haven’t the Beatles been more political?
John Lennon: Do you mean, Why haven’t we joined one of the clubs?
John Lennon: Well, a lot of this has been talked about before. If there is anything in particular, just ask.
Q: Well, what about the war in Vietnam?
John Lennon: We came out against it years ago. Where have you been?
Paul McCartney: In Vietnam?
Q: I heard that you were in New York because of a lawsuit.
John Lennon: Rubbish. We’re here to talk about apples, you know.
Q: Is it true that Ringo wants to be in a Broadway play?
John Lennon: It’s being filmed by the National Theater in England. I don’t know what’s going on here!
Q: Do you have any plans for showing Magical Mystery Tour in this country?
John Lennon: Yes. We’ll put it on in the street with a screen and a projector.
Q: According to the press release, Apple will be making animated cartoons, TV programs, and TV commercials. What sort of thing will your company do that we don’t see on TV now?
John Lennon (to Paul): We don’t know, do we?
Paul McCartney: No.
John Lennon: We haven’t started.
Paul McCartney: We only came over here to plan it so we don’t know too much about it yet. We’ll tell you about it quietly someday, you know, give you the old program.
Q: Are the Beatles still meditating?
John Lennon: Yeah.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, now and then.
John Lennon: At this moment!
Q: Do you ever want to trip out again?
John Lennon: You never know, do you? It’s hard to be very specific, because I don’t know what I’m doing, do I?
Q: What kind of electronic devices do you plan to manufacture?
Paul McCartney: Ah, the electronic things. Well, they’re not like gimmicks. They are just great inventions. Our friend Alex over there is a genius. And he’s beautiful, he’s just incredible.
John Lennon: There’s no such thing as a genius, you know. But if there are any, he’s one.
Q: Can you give us an example?
John Lennon: No! You know about those long, nasty men in brown raincoats and sunglasses that you discover in the business world. And so, you don’t say what it is until it’s out, do you?
Paul McCartney: But it’s incredible.
Q: The press release says that you have established a foundation for selected charities. Can you explain?
John Lennon: Well, it’s a fund not specifically for charities, you know. But there is some way in which you can do something where you set up a foundation to pay for people who want to make films about a glass on a table. There’s some way of doing it. So, we’ll find out and do that.
Q: Have any of Alex’s inventions been used on any of your records?
John Lennon: No. but possibly on our next record.
Q: Why did you return to an almost Mersey-like beat for ‘Lady Madonna’?
John Lennon: Because we felt like it.
Paul McCartney: There’s nothing in it, but that was it. A record like any other would smell as sweet!
Q: Speaking of politics, what do you think of the Liberian Movement for Liberation?
John Lennon: I haven’t heard about it. But good luck to ’em!
Q: What do you think about what’s been going on at Columbia University?
Paul McCartney: What’s been going on?
John Lennon: They’ve been on strike, the same thing that’s going on elsewhere. Something’s going on!
Q: Are drugs more important to the youth of today than they were four years ago?
John Lennon: I don’t know what they’re doing. I have no idea.
Paul McCartney: It’s probably about the same. Maybe a little less.
Q: Can you give us some idea of the capitalization of Apple?
John Lennon: No. We can only use our common sense and have the right people to handle these things like capitalization.
Paul McCartney: What’s that mean? Capitalization?
Q: How much money are you putting in?
John Lennon: I don’t know – and that’s the joke!
Paul McCartney: We’ll do the details some other time, because we don’t know.
Q: We hear that you are about to make a distribution deal for films with a major US corporation. Will this influence your choice of material?
Paul McCartney: No.
John Lennon: Any deals we make will be short-term. We’ll be sure to get what we want. Otherwise, we won’t do it. So, we’ll make sure.
Q: I’d like to ask you about the Apple Foundation for the Arts.
John Lennon: It’s not for the arts! Who slipped that one on?
Paul McCartney: It’s an easy way to make a film. Say that somebody wants to make a film like Andy Warhol did on the Empire State Building. Most people wouldn’t want to finance it because it wouldn’t be commercial. Well, if you finance it through a foundation, it doesn’t have to be commercial. That’s all it is.
Q: Are you giving away some sort of Beatles scholarships?
Paul McCartney: Yeah, but don’t put it that way! It sounds terrible! We’re just giving them away.
John Lennon: We’ll see what happens.
Paul McCartney: Well, if we give one away to someone, it will be commercial in a way, too. Because, later, that someone will do another film, for us!
Q: Will Apple also be grooming new talent?
John Lennon: We hope so. Groups, actors, anything.
Q: Will you open a school in London?
Paul McCartney: Well, that’s an idea. All we’ve got to do now is to get it set up on its feet. Then, what follows will be a natural progression.
Q: Do you plan to have scouts or representatives go out and look for new groups?
John Lennon: We’ll have to find out how you do it, or how you meant to do it, and if that’s the way you should do it. Then, we’ll find out.
Paul McCartney: So, leave your tapes at the door as you go out!
Q: Is it possible that Apple can do anything about what’s happening in radio?
John Lennon: British radio, huh?
John Lennon: Radio, yes.
Paul McCartney: That’s worse!
John Lennon: Radio’s worth looking into, you know. There’s a lot of things to do.
Paul McCartney: At the moment, you know, we do the four things. It hasn’t gone into radio yet, but it might.
Q: Are your records still banned in South Africa?
John Lennon: I believe so. Well, I mean, what do you think of South Africa?
Q: John, do you plan to write any more books?
John Lennon: I’m not planning on it, but I do have bits of paper with words on them.
Q: Do the individual members of the group have specific areas of interest in Apple?
John Lennon: Well, it might develop that way. There’s nothing planned.
Q: Will it be difficult to follow up Sgt Pepper with something better?
Paul McCartney: Yes, it will be difficult all right!
John Lennon: But no more difficult than it was to do.
Paul McCartney: Oh, it’ll be all right, the next one. Don’t worry.
Q: When will the next record be?
Paul McCartney: I don’t know.
John Lennon: We start it when we get back.
Q: How would you describe your mental state right now?
John Lennon: It depends on what you’re relating it to.
Paul McCartney: Relaxed.
Q: Where are you planning to build your new recording studio?
John Lennon: It’ll be in the dungeons of our office.
Q: Who’s designing it?
John Lennon: Alex, from the electronics division.
Q: How many tracks will there be? Eight or 12?
John Lennon: Oh, millions. Millions. One track for each finger.
Q: Why did you choose the name Apple?
John Lennon: Why did you choose the names your kids have got?
Paul McCartney: It’s just a name.
John Lennon: I mean, there’s nothing to it.
Paul McCartney: A is for apple. It’s very simple, you know!
John Lennon: An apple for the teacher.
Q: Will any of the three gentlemen standing next to you control the production money?
John Lennon: They will, sort of, but the final say is with us.
Q: You’ll get the money?
Paul McCartney: Yeah. You see, we don’t know anything about business yet, so they do it, and they’re good at it. All we do is to apply common sense to it.
Q: Where are the other two Beatles?
John Lennon: No idea.
Paul McCartney: In bed, probably. Oh, in England.
Q: What are your plans for opening a club in New York?
John Lennon: I don’t know. There aren’t any real plans.
Q: What about the rumors that you’re going to buy Generation?
John Lennon: What about them? I didn’t hear of it till Sunday myself!
Q: Will the four Beatles own 100% of Apple? And will you be equal partners?
John Lennon: Yes.
Q: Do you think that some of your records are influencing the minds of the younger generation?
John Lennon: Well, everybody’s records influence the mind, you know. All at once. Everything influences everything. Nilsson’s my favorite group.
Q: Would you comment on the mood of youth around the world, the protest movement, and what’s going on?
Paul McCartney: People want to know what’s going on, and no one knows at the moment.
John Lennon: Whether the movement is right or wrong, it’s better than no movement.
Q: Do you have any specific reason for going on The Tonight Show tonight?
John Lennon: I don’t know what happened.
Paul McCartney: We just seemed to be on it.
Q: I just wanted to ask you how you are!
Paul McCartney: Quite well! Hey, and how are you!?!
Paul McCartney: Six feet high and rising?
Q: Would you say that Magical Mystery Tour is a better or worse album than Sgt Pepper?
John Lennon: It’s not an album, you see. It’s turned into an album over here, but it was just music from the film. Then, it’s not an album.
Q: Has the film been bought over here?
John Lennon: I haven’t a clue and I really don’t care.
Q: Do George and Ringo feel the same way as you do about the Maharishi?
John Lennon: Yes. We tend to go in and out together, I mean, with a few spaces. So, yes.
Q: Are the Beatles going to make another movie this summer?
John Lennon: Well, we don’t know when we’re going to make it, but it will be this year or the early part of next year.
Q: What did you think of the critical reception to Magical Mystery Tour?
John Lennon: Well, I mean, it’s… it doesn’t matter. But it does. Oh, it really doesn’t matter, you know. Why it’s not on now is what matters.
Paul McCartney: They were disappointed.
Q: Were the criticisms valid?
John Lennon: Valid? I didn’t see any valid points. It was just hysteria and that bit.
Paul McCartney: You see, they expected a tinselly Christmas show, because it was shown on Christmas – and you know that it was very different from that, so we shocked them a bit.
John Lennon: They didn’t like it, you know. They thought we were stepping out of our roles. They like us to stay in the cardboard suits they designed for us.
Q: What roles do they want you to stay in?
John Lennon: Well, whatever image they have for themselves, they’re disappointed if we don’t fulfil it. We never do, so there’s always a lot of disappointment.
Q: Do you think press conferences are a drag?
John Lennon: Well, they’re not something I choose to do, but they’re fun. It’s work and business.
Q: Paul, what do you think of Jimi Hendrix?
Paul McCartney: He’s great.
Q: Why do the Beatles meditate?
Paul McCartney: Because it seems to be nice. Like cleaning your teeth, you know, it just has some kind of end product.
Q: What do you think of the Mothers of Invention?
Paul McCartney: I think they’re doing very well.
Q: What did the Beatles have to do with the creation of the marvellous fantasy characters in the Yellow Submarine?
Paul McCartney: Not much. There’s a really good artist named Heinz (Edelmann) who created them.
Q: Do you plan to sing in French or in any other language other than English?
John Lennon: No, we don’t make plans. We did ‘She Loves You’ in German, and that was about it, I think.
Paul McCartney: Then, the English version became a hit, you know.
Q: How often do you turn on?
John Lennon: It’s happening all the time, you know.
Q: Will you be doing a TV special soon?
John Lennon: I don’t know.
Paul McCartney: Maybe. Quite possibly.
John Lennon: We’ve got to do another album. We don’t know what happens until we do that.
Q: Have you ever thought of making a record, a film, or a TV special over here?
John Lennon: It’s quite possible, yes. Why not? Except that we live over there.
Q: But you could fly over again.
John Lennon: Yeah, sure. But is it worth the journey?
Q: Are there any plans for an Apple clothing store in the United States?
John Lennon: No. No plans.
Q: What is the meaning of ‘I Am The Walrus’?
John Lennon: It just means, I am the walrus. Or I was when I sat down, you know.
Last updated on May 15, 2023
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