MVD Entertainment Group has announced an April 15, 2014 release date for “I’m Not the Beatles: The John & Yoko Interviews with Howard Smith, 1969-1972.” Smith, an Oscar-winning director and contributor to such iconic magazines as Playboy and Village Voice, recently found the tapes of his sessions with former Beatle John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono in his New York City home; they had been just sitting there for 40-years. Presented on 8-CDs, “I’m Not the Beatles” has a total running time of nine hours. The material has never been released on CD before.
Two of the interviews were conducted in 1969. Smith conducted the first by phone, speaking to Lennon and Ono while they were staging their infamous “bed in” at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. The second interview from ’69 was a face-to-face affair recorded near Toronto and features a conversation about the uncertain future of the Beatles as well as commentary on the two giant music festivals of the year at Woodstock and Altamont.
Smith spoke with the couple again in 1970 right after the release of the “Plastic Ono Band” album and also asked them about art films they were making, how they handle being famous and their experience with primal therapy sessions with psychologist Arthur Janov. A 1971 interview was conducted in a New York City hotel room on the day that Lennon’s “Imagine” LP was released; also discussed in this session are Yoko’s artist retrospective and solo albums from the other three Beatles. The touchy subject of how the press was criticizing the couple’s relationship is also broached.
The final interview presented here was recorded in the pair’s West Village apartment, oddly enough while a local radio station was presenting a day-long Beatles marathon, which is audible in the background as the three talk. The break-up of the Beatles is discussed as are subjects such as Lennon’s extended bout of stage fright.
“I’m Not the Beatles: The John & Yoko Interviews with Howard Smith, 1969-1972 can be pre-ordered at the See of Sound website.