“I'm Not the Beatles: The John & Yoko Interviews With Howard Smith, 1969-1972,” an eight-CD box of interviews by Village Voice journalist Howard Smith, will be released for the first time on CD April 14, it was announced Jan. 31.
The set features John Lennon & Yoko Ono's five conversations with Village Voice journalist and radio personality Howard Smith in in-depth discussions about music, love, creativity, peace and politics. The interviews have been mastered from Smith's original audio recordings, which had been buried in the back of his West Village loft for 40 years.
The earliest interview dates from May 28-29, 1969, when Smith talked to John and Yoko during the Montreal Bed-In. In the 35-minute conversation, they discuss selling peace as a commodity, the activist movement, and Lennonʼs contention that he wasn't a leader. On Dec. 17, 1969, Smith spoke to them at Ronnie Hawkins ranch outside Ontario, where for 89 minutes they discussed recording with the Beatles, the band's uncertain future, Woodstock vs. Altamont and the youth movement.
They met at the Regency Hotel in New York City on Dec. 12, 1970 during the shooting of two art films and discussed their music, the Janov primal scream therapy, fame, and whether the Beatles would ever get back together. On Sept. 9, 1971 at the St. Regis Hotel, they talked about the newly released “Imagine” album, Yoko's art exhibit, the other Beatles' solo albums and the media's attitude toward their work.
On Jan. 23, 1972, at the Lennons' Bank Street apartment in New York City, Smith talked to the couple during a Beatles marathon on WPLJ, which was playing in the background. They discussed what it was like to be a Beatle and a Beatle wife, the group's break up, stage fright and the emotions of performing.
Howard Smith's writings have also appeared in Playboy and The New York Times. He won an Oscar as one of the directors of the 1972 documentary “Marjoe” about evangelist Marjoe Gortner.
The set can be pre-ordered at See of Sound.
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