- Timeline More from year 1966
More from year 1966
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
May 14, 1968 • From WNDT
NYC Press Conference Announcing Apple
May 14, 1968
Interview for The Tonight Show
May 14, 1968 • From NBC
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On this day, August 24, The Beatles were in Los Angeles for a
The Beatles gave the following press conference at the Capitol Records Tower Los Angeles on August 24th. David Crosby, who at the time was a member of The Byrds, was part of the Beatles entourage at this concert. He can occasionally be spotted in the film of the press conference. Following the press conference, the Beatles were awarded Gold records by Capitol and RIAA for their latest LP, ‘Revolver.’
Question: Would you rather play the Hollywood Bowl again instead of Dodger Stadium?
George Harrison: We really don’t mind.
Question: Maybe we can start another controversy here, an English designer has said that miniskirts aren’t popular in America because American women have ugly legs.
Ringo Starr: Well, if they don’t wear miniskirts, now how can you tell if their legs are ugly? (Laughter fills the large room.)
Question: Regarding your album jacket that was banned here (Yesterday … And Today), whose ideas was it and what was it supposed to mean?
John Lennon: Ask the photographer who took it.
Question: John, how did you decide to make How I Won The War?
John Lennon: Because he asked me and I said yes.
Question: Do you consider that now, since you’ve been in the United States for almost a week [sic], that this religious issue is answered once and for all?
John Lennon: I hope so.
Question: Would you clarify and repeat the answer you gave in Chicago?
John Lennon: I can’t repeat it because I don’t know what I said.
Question: Well, would you clarify the remarks that were attributed to you?
John Lennon: You tell me what you think, and I’ll tell you if I agree.
Question: Some of the remarks attributed to you compared the relative popularity of The Beatles with Jesus Christ and intimated that The Beatles were more popular. This created quite a furore in this country, as you are aware.
Paul McCartney: Did you know this, John? You created a furore.
Reporter: Now, would you like to clarify the remark?
John Lennon: I’ve clarified it about eight-hundred times! I could have said TV or something! And that’s just as clear as it can be! I used Beatles because I know about them a bit more than TV. I could have said any number of things, but it wouldn’t have gotten as much publicity.
Question: Do you think controversy has hurt your careers or helped?
Paul McCartney: It hasn’t helped or hindered, I don’t think. I think that most sensible people took it for what it was. It was only the bigots that thought it was on their side. They thought, ‘Ha, ha, here’s something to get them for.’ But when they read it they saw there was nothing wrong with it really. They thought by John saying we were more popular than Jesus, that he must be arrogant.
Reporter: John, what stimulates you in your work?
John Lennon: Just anything, you know.
Reporter: What’s your favourite group in the US?
John Lennon: I’ve got a few. The Byrds, The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Mamas & The Papas, I suppose.
Paul McCartney: Beach Boys.
John Lennon: The Miracles are on the other side of it.
Reporter: I was wondering if you still have an arrangement with US Internal Revenue Services to pay your taxes in England? How much money have you grossed on your current US tour?
George Harrison: Money’s got nothing to do with us.
Paul McCartney: Brian does that.
George Harrison: And we don’t particularly care about it!
John Lennon: They just tell us what we get in the end, you know.
George Harrison: We pay tax, but we don’t know how much we’ve made, because, if we worried about that, we’d be nervous wrecks by now!
Question: I’d like to direct this question to Messrs Lennon & McCartney. A recent article in Time magazine put down pop music and referred to ‘Day Tripper’ as being about a prostitute and ‘Norwegian Wood’ was about a lesbian. I want to know what your intent was when you wrote them and what your feeling is about Time’s criticism of the music that is being written today?
Paul McCartney: We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, you know.
Question: Do you have any plans to work separately in the future?
Paul McCartney: All together, probably.
Question: Mr Lennon, aren’t you doing a picture alone? John Lennon: Yeah, but that’s only in the holiday bit, in between Beatles.
Reporter Fred Paul: I’d like to ask a question you’ve never been asked before?
John Lennon: Go ahead, Fred.
Reporter: What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?
John Lennon: That’s a personal ‘in’ joke. He used to ask it at every press conference just to keep the party going.
Reporter Fred Paul: Do you think we’ll have another tour again next year?
John Lennon: Could be Fred, Brian does that.
Reporter: In Hollywood last night, you had to arrive in an armoured truck, which was swarmed by adoring fans. Do you ever have an opportunity to walk out on the streets without being recognised? Can you walk into a theater to see a movie by yourself?
John Lennon: If you go in when the lights are down.
Paul McCartney: In England we can, ‘cos we know England.
Ringo Starr: But when we’re in America, we’re on tour and everything’s advertised and that’s why everybody knows where we are.
John Lennon: Oh, is that why everybody knows where we are?
Question: Paul, many of the top artists in the pop field have said that The Beatles have been a major influence on their music. Are there any artists who have had an important influence on you?
Paul McCartney: Oh yes, nearly everyone. We pinch as much from other people as much as they pinch from us.
Question: Ringo, do you carry wallet pictures of your baby with you?
Ringo Starr: I don’t carry photos of anything.
Question: May I ask about the song ‘Eleanor Rigby’? What was your inspiration for that?
John Lennon: Two queers!
Question: John, did you meet Cass of The Mamas & The Papas?
John Lennon: Yes, she’s great. I’m seeing her some nights.
Question: Have you ever used Beatles doubles as decoys?
Paul McCartney: No, we tried to get Brian Epstein to do it, but he wouldn’t.
Question: For those of us who have followed your career from the early days of Liverpool and Hamburg and the pride in you being awarded the MBE and the dismay over the unwarranted adverse publicity of late, the question is, individually, what have been your most memorable occasions and what have been the most disappointing?
George Harrison: I think Manila was the most disappointing.
John Lennon: And the most exciting is yet to come.
Question: George, before you left England, you made a statement that you were going to America to be beaten up by Americans. Do you mean to say that you feel the American fan is more hostile than those in Britain?
George Harrison: Oh, that was after Manila, and someone said, ‘What are you going to do now?’ and I said, ‘We’re going to rest up before we go and get beaten up by the Americans.’ By beaten up, I meant …
John (interrupting) “Jostled.
George Harrison: Yeah, jostled.
Ringo Starr: It was a joke.
Question: Do you ever plan to record in the United States and why haven’t you yet?
Paul McCartney: We tried, actually, but it’s a financial matter. We had a bit of trouble over that one. We tried, but it didn’t come out.
Ringo Starr: It’s all a bit of politics and dice.
John Lennon: No comment.
Question: Mr Lennon, is it true that that you’re planning to give up music for a career in the field of comparative religion?
John Lennon: No, is that another joke going around?
Question: I’m sure you’ve heard about the many Beatle burnings and Beatle bonfires?
John Lennon: We missed ‘em!
Question: Do you think American girls are fickle?
John Lennon: The photos that we saw were of middle-aged DJ’s and twelve-year-olds burning a pile of LP covers.
Question: ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ is the last cut on the second side of your latest LP, right?
George Harrison: ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’
Question: Can you give me a vague idea of some of the tape manipulations you used when your voice drops into the track. Is that sung backwards by any chance, and then recorded forwards?
Paul McCartney: It’s recorded pretty straight. There’s tape loops on it which are a bit different and the words are from The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, so there.
“There nearly,” George says as the conference comes to a close and The Beatles, in front of a huge blown-up Revolver album cover, are presented with four RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) gold records. The reproduction had been kept hidden behind red drapes, which The Beatles had been sitting in front of throughout the conference.From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman, 2008
Q: “What will the next movie project be for the Beatles?”
GEORGE: “Well, somebody has given us an idea, and he’s working on the script. And if the script’s nice then we may do it.”
Q: “One question we’d like in Hollywood, we’d like to know how you compare movie working with to, say, the concert tour or recording sessions.”
JOHN: “We don’t compare it much, you know.”
Q: “Would you rather play the ‘Hollywood Bowl’ again than ‘Dodger Stadium’?”
GEORGE: “We don’t really mind.”
Q: “One of your countrymen was here yesterday or the day before, and he said that he thought American women were out of style for not wearing mini-skirts, and that their legs were ugly. I’d like to ask you what you think about American women’s legs.”
RINGO: “If they don’t wear mini-skirts, how does he know their legs are ugly?”
Q: “On the album cover that was banned here, the one with the dolls and meat— Who’s idea was it?”
JOHN: “The photographer’s who took it.”
Q: “And what was it supposed to mean?”
JOHN: “We never asked him, you know.”
Q: “John, why did you decide to make (the movie), ‘How I Won The War’?”
JOHN: “Uhh, because he (Dick Lester) just asked me. And I just said, ‘Yes.’ And it was just like that.”
Q: “Do you consider that now since you’ve been here in the United States for almost a week, that this religious issue is answered once and for all? Would you clarify and repeat the answer that you gave in Chicago?”
JOHN: “I can’t repeat it again because I don’t know what I said, you know.”
Q: “Well, would you clarify the remarks that were attributed to you?”
JOHN: “You tell me what you think I meant, and I’ll tell you whether I agree or not.”
Q: “Well, some of the remarks attributed to you in some of the newspapers… the press here… concerning the remark that you made comparing the relative popularity of the Beatles with Jesus Christ… and that the Beatles were more popular. This created quite a controversy and a furor in this country, as you are obviously aware.”
PAUL: “Did you know that, John? You created a furor.”
Q: “Now, would you clarify the remark?”
JOHN: “Well, I’ve clarified it about 800 times, you know. I could have said TV or something else, you know… and that’s as clear as it can be. I just used Beatles because I know about them a bit more than TV. But I could have said any number of things. (jokingly) It wouldn’t have got as much publicity though.”
Q: “My question is directed at all of you. Do you think this controversy has hurt your careers or has helped you professionally?”
PAUL: “It hasn’t helped or hindered it, I don’t think. I think most sensible people took it for what it was… and it was only the biggots that took it up and thought it was, you know, on ‘their’ side… thinking, ‘Aha! Here’s something to get them for.’ But when they read it, they saw that there was nothing wrong with it really. It’s just that they thought that by John saying that we were more popular than Jesus– they thought, ‘Ah, he’s bound to be arrogant.’ Did you see the fella on telly last night? He said it… on the Tonight Show.”
Q: “John, who is your favorite group in the United States?”
JOHN: “I’ve got a few, you know. Byrds, (Lovin) Spoonful, Mamas and Papas… I suppose… on that side of it.”
PAUL: “Beach Boys.”
JOHN: “And Miracles, etc., on the other side of it.”
Q: “My question concerns money. I was wondering if you still have an arrangement with the US Internal Revenue Department to pay your taxes through England to them. Another part of the question is, how much have you grossed in your current US tour, and is it true that you lost…”
GEORGE: “We don’t know about that.”
PAUL: “We don’t know about all that. We don’t do the money side of it, you know.”
GEORGE: “And we don’t particularly worry about it.”
JOHN: “They just tell us what we get in the end, you know.”
Q: The tax thing…”
PAUL: “We pay tax and things but we don’t know how much, or how much we’ve made or anything, you know, because if we were gonna worry about that we’d be nervous wrecks by now.”
Q: “I’d like to direct this question to messrs. Lennon and McCartney. In a recent article, ‘Time’ magazine put down Pop music. And they referred to ‘Day Tripper’ as being about a prostitute…”
PAUL: (nodding jokingly) “Oh yeah.”
Q: “…and ‘Norwegian Wood’ as being about a lesbian.”
PAUL: (nodding) “Oh yeah.”
Q: “I just wanted to know what your intent was when you wrote it, and what your feeling is about the ‘Time’ magazine criticizm of the music that is being written today.”
PAUL: “We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that’s all.”
(room erupts with laughter and applause)
JOHN: “…quipped Ringo.”
PAUL: (chuckles) “Cut!!”
JOHN: “You can’t use it on the air, that.”
Q: “Will you be working seperately in the future?”
PAUL: “All together, probably.”
Q: “Yeah, but aren’t… John Lennon, aren’t you doing a picture alone?”
JOHN: “Yeah, but I mean, that’ll only be on the holiday bit– in between Beatle…”
Q: “Fred Paul from KAXK. First of all I’d like to say Hi to you all again, it’s really good to see you. I’d like to ask a question that you’ve never been asked before.”
JOHN: “Oh no.”
Q: “What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?”
JOHN: “That’s a personal in-joke. He used to ask it at every press conference we entered, to keep the party going.”
Q: “Do you think we’ll have another tour again next year?”
JOHN: “Ask Brian. Could be.”
PAUL: “Could be, Fred. Brian does all that.”
JOHN: “OK, Fred.”
Q: “Outside of Hollywood tonight you had to arrive in an armored truck, and the truck was swarmed by adoring fans. What is the situation wherever you go? Do you have an opportunity to walk out in the street without being recognized, or can you walk into a theatre to see a movie by yourselves?”
JOHN: “If you go in when the lights are down you can go in.”
PAUL: “We can do that in England. It’s easier in England than it is here. And it’s mainly because we know England better.”
RINGO: “It would also be easier to do it if we weren’t on our, you know. Because we’re on tour, people know where we are. That’s why we have a crowd.”
PAUL: (joking amazement to Ringo) “Oooo Oooo!”
RINGO: “Yes! Yes! I worked that out!”
Q: “Paul, many of the top artists and musicians in the Pop field today have said the Beatles have been a major influence in their music. Are there any other artists who have an important influence on you and the music you have created?”
PAUL: “Oh yes. Nearly everyone, you know. We pinch as much from other people as they pinch from us.”
M.C: “Is it possible to raise the level on both of the roving microphones please?”
RINGO: “The boys are a little deaf.
Q: “Ringo, do you carry wallet pictures of your baby with you?”
Q: “No? Why?”
RINGO: “I don’t carry photos of anything, you know.”
JOHN: “He can remember.”
Q: “May I ask about the song ‘Eleanor Rigby?’ What was the motivation or inspiration for that?”
JOHN: “Two queers.”
(room erupts with laughter)
JOHN: “Two barrow boys.”
PAUL: (jokingly) “Oh, it’s getting disgusting, this press conference.”
Q: “John, did you ever meet Cass of the Mamas and Papas?”
JOHN: “Yes, and she’s great, and I’m seeing her tonight.”
JOHN: “Yeah, she’s good.”
Q: “Have you ever used or trained Beatle doubles as decoys on a…”
PAUL: “We tried to get Brian Epstein to do it… he wouldn’t do it.”
Q: “Ringo, one question– How much did you contribute to ‘What Goes On’ and are you contributing to any other Lennon/McCartney compositions?”
RINGO: “Umm, about five words to ‘What Goes On.’ And I haven’t done a thing since.” (laughs)
Q: “I’d like to address this to John and Paul. You write alot of stuff that other people steal from you, and also purchase from you. And different arrangement– Ella Fitzgerald and Boston Pops, and stuff like that. When you listen to this on the radio or records and stuff, how do you feel about them using your pieces and changing them around to suit their styles?”
PAUL: “The thing is, they don’t steal it.”
Q: “No. I know that.”
PAUL: “Well, you just said they did!”
PAUL: “Really I mean, you know, it’s… Once we’ve done a song and it’s published anyone can do it. So, you know, whether we like it or not depends on whether they’ve done it to our taste.”
Q; “Well then, let’s ask it this way. Who do you think does it the best… the Beatles’ songs?”
Q: “For those of us who have followed your career from the early days of Liverpool and Hamburg, and the pride in you being awarded the MBE, and the dismay of the unwarranted adverse publicity of late– the question is– individually what has been your most memorable occasions, and what has been the most disappointing?”
JOHN: “No idea.”
RINGO: You know, there’s so many.”
GEORGE: “I think Manila has been the most disappointing.”
JOHN: “And the most exciting is yet to come.”
RINGO: “…maybe the most disappointing.”
Q: “Gentlemen, there was quite a laugh when you went on the stock market with your stock. How is your stock doing?”
JOHN: “Fine, thanks.”
RINGO: “Well, it went down, but it’s coming up again.”
GEORGE: “It’s gone down.”
RINGO: “Same as any other stock, you know, up and down.”
JOHN: “It goes down everytime the LPs drop out. They all think they’re buying bits of records.”
Q: “Leonard Bernstein likes your music. How do you like Leonard Bernstein?”
PAUL: “Very good. He’s, you know, great.”
JOHN: “One of the greats.”
Q: “I’d like to direct this question to George Harrison if I may.”
JOHN: (jokingly to George) “What’s your new address?”
Q: “George, before you left England you made a statement that you were going out to America to be beaten up by Americans. Do you mean to say in so many words that you feel the American fan is more a hostile fan than Britain…”
GEORGE: “No! Not at all.”
Q: “…or more enthusiastic?”
GEORGE: “Actually I said that when we arrived back from Manilla. They said, ‘What are you gonna do next?’ and I said, ‘We’re gonna rest up before we go and get beaten up over there. Merely… Beaten up is… Really we just got sort of shoved around.”
GEORGE: “Jostled around in cars and in planes, so you know, that’s all they did.”
Q: Well, do think think that’s more an enthusiatic fan than a hostile fan?”
GEORGE: “Uhh, there’s definitely more enthusiastic fans. We’ve, I think…”
PAUL: “But if anyone beat us up, it’s not the fans, you know.”
GEORGE: “Yeah. The fan thing… I think they proved it themselves after this. We found out that there are alot of the fans that are great. And all the ones we lost, I think, we don’t really mind anyway. Because if they can’t make up their minds… who needs ’em.”
Q: “I wanted to ask about your image. The image scrimmage. And I’ll direct this to anybody. How has your image changed since ’63? Is it a little more… uhh… Is it the same, or…?”
GEORGE: “An image is how ‘you’ see us, so you know, you can only answer that.”
JOHN: “You’re the only one that knows.”
Q: “Who’s that?”
JOHN: “It’s you.”
Q: “Oh, well. No, I want to get your opinion. Is it a little tarnished now? Is it more realistic, or what would you say it is? I know I have my opinion.”
JOHN: “We’re attacked for our opinions.”
PAUL: “We can’t tell you our image, you know. We can only… Our image is what we read in the newspapers. We know our real image, which is nothing like our…. image… (looks confused by his own words, then laughs)
PAUL: (laughing) “Forget it.”
Q: “Who is the young man with the lengthy haircut to your right rear?”
JOHN: “That’s good old Dave, isn’t it?”
PAUL: “Where is he?”
(a young David Crosby, who had been standing with Brian Epstein, suddenly disappears behind a curtain to avoid attention)
JOHN: “That’s Dave from the Byrds. A mate of ours. Ahoy maties.”
PAUL: “Shy. He’s shy.”
Q: “Do you ever plan to record in the United States?”
PAUL: “We tried actually, but it was a financial matter. Hmmm! hmmm! A bit of trouble over that one. No, we tried but uhh… it didn’t come off.”
GEORGE: “It entailed politics.”
PAUL: “Hush hush.”
JOHN: “No comment.”
Q: “Mr. Lennon, is it true that you’re planning to give up music for a career in the field of comparative religions?”
JOHN: (laughs) “No.”
JOHN: “Is that another of the jokes going ’round?”
Q: “I’m sure you’ve all heard of the many Beatle burnings and Beatle bonfires…”
JOHN: “We miss them.”
Q: “…and I was wondering if you think American girls are fickle.”
RINGO: “All girls are fickle.”
JOHN: “Well, the photos we saw were of them were, sort of, middle-aged DJs and 12 year-olds burning a pile of LP covers.”
Q: “This question is directed to Paul and John. You have written quite a few numbers for Peter and Gordon, and I understand they don’t like it because they think that it’s you writing the song that makes it popular. Do you plan to write anymore songs for them?”
PAUL: “They, you know… if we write songs for… They ask us to write songs for them if we do it. I mean, they don’t mind it. They like it. But it’s… People come up and say, ‘Ah, we see your just getting in on the Lennon/McCartney bandwagon. That’s why they did that one with our names not on it– ‘Woman’– because everyone sort of thinks that’s the reason that they get hits. It’s not true really.”
Q: “Gentlemen, what do you think would happen to you four if you came to an appearance without the armored truck and without police?”
RINGO: “We’d get in alot easier.”
JOHN: “We couldn’t do it.”
PAUL: “It depends, you know. Sometimes we could have easily made it much better without the armored truck. But today, probably we wouldn’t have.”
Q: “Do you think you’d be physically harmed?”
PAUL: “Oh… yeah. Probably”
JOHN: “What do you think?”
Q: “Yes, I think so.”
PAUL: “Could be.”
Q: “The ‘New York Times’ magazine of Sunday July 3 carried an article by Maureen Cleave in which she quotes the Beatles, not by name, as saying: ‘Show business is an extention of the Jewish religion.'”
PAUL: “Did she say that?”
Q: “Would you mind amplifying that?”
JOHN: “Uhh, I said that to her as well. No comment.”
PAUL: “Ahhhhh… Come on, John. Tell ’em what you meant.”
JOHN: “I mean, you can read into it what you like, you know. It’s just a little ol’ statement. It’s not very serious.”
Q: “Paul, are you getting married? And if so, to who?”
PAUL: “Ummm, I’m probably getting married, yes. But I mean, I don’t know when. I’ve got no plans and things.”
M.C: “Want to make these the last three questions.”
Q: “I was wondering, under what condition did you write ‘In His Own Write.’ That, sort of, wild… those kicky words… I mean, how did you piece them together?”
JOHN: “I don’t know. I can’t answer that. You know, it’s just the way it happened. I didn’t think, ‘Now, how can I do this?'”
Q: “I mean, did you sit down as an author and uhhh…”
JOHN: “Just like an author.”
Q: “Any more books coming?”
JOHN: “I hope so, you know.”
Q: “John, I understand there’s a suit pending against the Beatles by Peter Best who claims to be a former member of the Beatles. Is that true?”
JOHN: “I think he’s had a few… but we don’t bother with those.”
Q: “Is this the last question? Are all of your news conferences like this?”
PAUL: (laughs) “That’s not the last question.”
Q: “Well, I’m talking about all of the reporters… or would-be reporters and semi-reporters that show up. Are you besieged by these kind of people throughout the tours that you travel here in the United States?”
JOHN: “You can’t always tell the would-be’s from the real thing.”
Q: “Is it this way when you travel in Europe?”
PAUL: “But what’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with the crowd?”
Q: “Nothing. I’m just wondering if you have this many reporters everywhere you go.”
RINGO: “Not always.”
GEORGE: “Some of them are just on-lookers.”
M.C: “This is the last question.”
Q: “‘Tomorrow Never COMES’ is the last song on the second side, right?”
PAUL: “‘Tomorrow Never Knows.'”
Q: “‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ Thank you. Could you give me a vague idea of some of the tape manipulation you used when your voice drops into the track, John. Is that sung backwards by any chance, and recorded forwards?”
PAUL: “No, it’s not sung backwards. It’s just, umm, recorded pretty straight. There’s tape loops on it, which are a bit different. The words are from the ‘Tibetian Book of the Dead,’ so there. Well, nearly.”
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