Two reels containing an unedited and no-holds-barred audio interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono from 1969 in which the outspoken Lennon says “It’s torture every time (the Beatles) produce anything” will be auctioned next month by RR Auctions, a representative told Beatles Examiner Aug. 27.
The interview, by Howard Smith, then a rock disc jockey and columnist for the Village Voice, was conducted in Toronto in late 1969 before the release of the “Let It Be” album.
In the interview, Lennon says the making of the album was difficult.
“We were going through hell. We often do. It’s torture every time we produce anything. The Beatles haven’t got any magic you haven’t got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything. And we got each other to contend with. Imagine working with the Beatles, it’s tough,” he said. “There’s just tension. It’s tense every time the red light goes on.”
He also talked about the “Let It Be” album itself.
“It’s a strange album. We never really finished it. We didn’t really want to do it. Paul was hustling for us to do it. It’s the Beatles with their suits off.”
Lennon says that, unlike in earlier days, there were three Beatles trying to get their songs on the album.
“We hustle for it. In the old days, Paul and I won. I don’t know personally if there will ever be another Beatle product with the four of us on again. In the old days, Paul and I wrote most of the songs because George wasn’t prolific. We encouraged him to an extent, subconsciously we would have just made sure we got the LP for ourselves. Now there’s three of us all trying to squash ourselves onto 14 tracks. Do we make a double album every time? That’s why I broke out with the Plastic Ono Band.”
He also says Beatles tours started out as fun, but ended up difficult.
"It was complete madness from morning till night, not one moment’s peace. Living with each other in a room for four years on tour, we toured for four years. Of course there were many great moments. When we talk about it there’s many laughs, but when you get down to the physical reality it was all pain because there was nothing in the music. We would get no feedback. We weren’t improving. Half the time we would just mime on the mic because your voice had gone. The kids would just be howling.”
Both 1200″ tapes are in their original boxes with one labeled in an unknown hand, “John & Yoko Toronto #1.” The interview runs slightly over one hour. Smith, in his career, conducted interviews with many famous musicians besides Lennon, among them Mick Jagger, Jim Morrison and Pete Townshend. Some of his Beatles interviews became available through iTunes in June.
The tape is one of over 100 Beatles items being sold during the Marvels of Modern Music Auction, which runs from Sept. 19 to Sept. 26. You can see more of the items here. The auction catalog is here.
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